How To Get A Free SSL Certificate For Your Website: While surfing the internet, we often stumble upon certain pages which come with a warning message that it is not secure.

How To Get A Free SSL Certificate For Your Website

When clicked on “Not Secure”, it displays a message saying that the connection is secure and that you shouldn’t share any sensitive information on this website.

Now, why does it happen?

A closer look at the URL of the page will reveal that it starts with ‘http‘ and not ‘https’. So what?

What happens when you are surfing is basically transmission of data between the browser and web servers (where the web pages are stored). Now, the data that is transferred needs to be encrypted, especially, when there is sensitive information that is being transferred.

For example, when you are purchasing something online and making the payment with your debit card, you are sharing your card number, CVV, etc. over the Internet. Now, if the connection with the website from where you are purchasing something is not secure and the data is not encrypted, others with malicious tendencies can steal this information. You don’t want that, right?

Connection with HTTP web pages is not secure. Data shared through such connection are not encrypted. So, if your site is not secure, you need to deploy HTTPS, i.e. HTTP over Secure Socket Layer on your site. This is where SSL Certificate comes to the picture. In this article, I will tell you how to get a free SSL Certificate for your website.

How To Get A Free SSL Certificate For Your Website?

Let us first understand what is an SSL Certificate.

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It is a standard security protocol that ensures encrypted transmission of information between web server and web browser. Deploying this technology on your site will add HTTPS to the site, thus, ensuring secure connection, and your users won’t see the warning message. For this, you need an SSL Certificate.

What Is The Importance Of SSL Certificate For A Website?

The benefits of using SSL Certificates are as under:

  • SSL encrypts sensitive information, like passwords, credit/debit card details, etc. preventing it from getting stolen.
  • Websites with SSL Certificates are more trusted by the visitors. They are likely to stay on the website for a longer period of time.
  • Having an SSL Certificate has a positive impact on Search Engine Optimization.

So, now you know why it is necessary for your website to have an SSL Certificate. But SSL is a paid service. In order to provide the necessary security, SSL providers need a variety of resources and infrastructure. So. there is a cost involved.

Fortunately, some companies provide free SSL Certificates. Cloudflare is one of them. In the next section, I will explain how to get a free SSL Certificate for your website using Cloudflare.

How To Get A Free SSL Certificate For Your Website Using Cloudflare?

In order to get a free SSL for your website, follow the steps as under:

First Step: Visit the Cloudflare website: www.cloudflare.com/en-in.

Second Step: Click on “Sign Up”.

Third Step: Enter your email ID and set up a password. Then click on “Create Account”. (Make sure to verify your email after that. An email with a verification link will be sent to the registered email ID. Click on it to verify your email ID)

Fourth Step: After the account is created, a new page will open where you will have to add your website for which you need the SSL Certificate. Enter your domain and click on “Add Site”.

Adding Site To Cloudflare

Fifth Step: Cloudflare will then check your site’s DNS records. Click on “Next”.

Querying DNS Records

Sixth Step: Next, you will have to select a plan. Select “Free” and then click on “Confirm Plan”.

Select Cloudflare Plan

Seventh Step: Click on “Confirm”.

Confirm Cloudflare Plan

Eighth Step: The DNS Records of your website will appear on the screen. Enable Cloudflare for whichever records you want by clicking on the cloud next to each of the records. Orange Cloud means enable and Grey Cloud means disable. Then click on “Continue”.

Add DNS Records To Cloudflare

Ninth Step: A new page will open and you will see the Cloudflare nameservers to which your domain should be pointed.

Point Domain To Cloudflare Nameservers

This step might vary slightly depending on the domain registrar. Copy the Cloudflare nameservers, log in to your cPanel and change the domain nameservers to the Cloudflare nameservers. For Hostinger, it looks like this:

Update DNS Nameservers

Click on “Update”.

Tenth Step: Go back to Cloudflare and click on “Continue”.

Note that it may take up to 24 hours for the changes to happen. Once activated, you will receive an email. You can also log in to your Cloudflare account and check the status.

Hey, Wait!

Now you have to set a redirect from the http version of your site to the https version. For that, do the following:

  • Log in to your Cloudflare account and go to your dashboard.
  • Click on “Page Rules”.
  • Click on “Create Page Rule”.
  • Enter the http version of your domain in the field.
Create Rule
  • Now, click on “Add a Setting” and pick “Always Use HTTPS” from the drop-down menu.
  • Click on “Save and Deploy”.

You are done. Remember, it may take up to 24 hours for the SSL Certificate to be activated.

It is also important to remember that the free SSL Certificate (also called Flexible SSL) as provided by Cloudflare does not encrypt the traffic between Cloudflare and the original server where your site is hosted. Hence, it is not fully safe for transmission of sensitive information. Only the connection between the users and Cloudflare is encrypted. However, it is still better than not having an SSL Certificate at all.

Cloudflare also provides two other varieties of SSL Certificates:

  • Full SSL, which requires SSL on your host, and it provides a secure but not authenticated between your web server and Cloudflare,
  • Full SSL (Strict), which requires a valid SSL certificate. It provides a secure and authenticated connection between your server and Cloudflare.

I hope I have been able to explain how to get a free SSL Certificate for your website. If you have any query regarding how to get a free SSL Certificate for your website, feel free to ask me in the comment section below and I will get back to you at the earliest.

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