Bluehost is one of the largest web hosting services in the world. It is the most reliable one when it comes to web hosting and currently accommodates over two million websites worldwide.
They offer monthly packages at affordable prices and also include a free SSL certificate. Before going into detail about how you can activate the SSL certificate with Bluehost, let’s first discuss more on what an SSL certificate is.
What is an SSL Certificate?
SSL certificate is a data file that attaches your website’s data to a cryptographic key. It secures the connection between your browser and the host. Once installed, it activates a padlock and ‘https’ on a web server. It is especially used to ensure the security of payment gateways and company’s login data.
A company must ensure a safe connection between its server and the browser. People tend to rely more on the websites that have an SSL certificate.
There are various types of SSL Certificates. If you have an informative blog, a free SSL certificate shall serve your purpose. However, if you are involved in e-commerce and online transactions, we recommend you to activate an Extended Validation certificate or Organisation Validation certificate.
How to check if a website has a secure connection?
Once an Extended Validation certificate gets installed on your website you will witness the following changes:
- A Padlock gets activated in the address bar of the browser.
- The HTTP protocol changes to HTTPS where ‘S’ stands for ‘Secure’.
- The address bar turns green from white, indicating the visitors that the website uses an extended version of SSL certificate.
- The website owner’s legal company name gets displayed in the address bar.
You can also view the certificate details of the SSL by clicking on the padlock followed by ‘View Certificate’.
How can you activate a free SSL certificate with Bluehost?
- Log in to your Bluehost account and click on my Sites–>Manage site.
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- Click on ‘Security’ on the next page and locate the SSL option panel. Enable ‘Free SSL Certificate’. A free SSL certificate will start downloading to your Bluehost account.
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A message will be displayed:
“We’re setting up your SSL – this may take a few hours”. In some situations, we may need you to take action. If so, you’ll receive an email with instructions. For now, feel free to start exploring WordPress or jump into building your website.”
The Bluehost team will also send you an email invoice regarding your SSL Certification Purchase. Wait for some time until the SSL certificate installation is completed successfully. You can check with SSL Shopper if your website owns the SSL certificate.
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Now you can move from HTTP to HTTPS and, if you have a website made on WordPress, there are a few steps you need to follow the below steps.
How to move your WordPress website to HTTPS from HTTP?
After the successful installation of SSL certificate, you have to force load the data on HTTPS and ensure that the process is smooth so that you do not end up losing traffic.
After the installation, your website’s address bar will show HTTPS instead of HTTP. But, people can still access your website using both the HTTP and the HTTPS connection.
Here are a few steps to install plugins that will permanently shift your website to HTTPS.
- Visit the WordPress site and download Really Simple SSL. Install the plugin.
- Once the plugin is activated, you will see a screen like this:
- Click on ‘Go Ahead, activate SSL’.
- Edit the ‘.htaccess’ in your WordPress file and add the following code at the beginning or end of the code for redirection from HTTP to HTTPS:
- The last step is to update all the HTTP URLs in the Database to HTTPS using a WordPress plugin- Better Search Replace. Install & activate the plugin. Visit Tools –> Search & Replace to start using the plugin.
Note: Don’t forget to take a backup of your WordPress database before running this plugin.
These steps shall complete your migration from HTTP to HTTPS. However, you need to complete a few other things too.
- Submit your new HTTPS site and the sitemap to Google Search Console.
- Update your profile link on Google Analytics.
- Update your website links on social media profiles & anywhere else they exist.
That brings us to the end of the guide on activating the SSL certificate with Bluehost and we hope by now you know how to make the shift! The WordPress tools inside the Bluehost cPanel make it easier for every user to use free SSL certificates. However, if you already own a website, the above steps shall solve the problem for you.
Always remember to start your website after activating the SSL certificate so that you save much of your time and energy.