How to install an SSL with Let’s Encrypt on cPanel

Ensuring the security of your website is paramount.

One essential aspect of website security is using SSL certificates to encrypt the data exchanged between your website and its visitors.

Let’s Encrypt, a free and automated certificate authority, has gained immense popularity for its ease of use and cost-effectiveness.

In this tutorial, I will guide you through the process of how to install an SSL certificate with Let’s Encrypt on cPanel.

Most hosting packages come with cPanel installed, If you’re looking for a web host, I recommend Krystal Hosting.

By the end of this tutorial, you’ll have a secure and encrypted website, boosting both your credibility and your visitors’ trust.

Understanding SSL Certificates and Let’s Encrypt

Before diving into the installation process, it’s crucial to grasp the basics.

An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is a digital document that establishes a secure and encrypted connection between a user’s web browser and a web server.

It ensures that the data transmitted between the user and the server remains confidential, integral, and authenticated.

In a nutshell, an SSL certificate acts as a digital padlock, safeguarding sensitive information such as login credentials, credit card details, and personal data from being intercepted by malicious actors.

let's encrypt

Let’s Encrypt is a game-changer in the realm of SSL certificates.

Unlike traditional certificate authorities that charge for SSL certificates and require manual installation and renewal, Let’s Encrypt offers free, automated, and open SSL certificates.

The project’s mission is to make secure connections ubiquitous across the web by removing the financial and technical barriers associated with obtaining and maintaining SSL certificates.

Prerequisites

A website hosted on a cPanel-based hosting provider.

Access to your cPanel account.

A domain name that points to your website’s server.

Basic familiarity with cPanel’s interface.

Generating and Installing the Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate

Start by logging in to your cPanel account.

In the “Security” section, find and click on “SSL/TLS.”

cPanel section

Choose “Manage SSL Sites” to view the available domains.

Select the domain you want to secure with an SSL certificate from the dropdown list.

In the “Domain” field, ensure the correct domain is selected.

install SSL

Click “Autofill by Domain” and Let’s Encrypt will automatically populate the following fields “Certificate: (CRT)”, “Private Key (KEY)”, “Certificate Authority Bundle: (CABUNDLE)”.

Then click “Install Certificate.” at the bottom.

Verifying SSL Installation

After you’ve successfully installed the Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate on your website, it’s crucial to verify its proper installation.

Verification ensures that visitors are indeed connecting to your website via a secure HTTPS connection.

Here’s how you can verify the SSL installation:

The simplest way to confirm SSL installation is to visit your website using the “https://” prefix in your web browser.

When you access your site using HTTPS, your browser will display a padlock icon in the address bar.

This padlock indicates that the connection is encrypted and secure.

secure connection

Additionally, some browsers might display “Secure” or “Connection is secure” next to the padlock icon, reaffirming the security of your website.

Force HTTPS Redirection

You want to ensure all traffic is directed through HTTPS which can be done by doing the following:

In your cPanel go to the “Domains” section then click domains.

Locate your domain in the table, which should be very easy if you only have one domain.

Then in the fourth column you will see a toggle switch, by default it is set to off.

Go ahead and toggle the switch to on and this will force HTTPS redirect for all traffic.

force HTTPS Redirect

This will automatically save your changes.

Common Issues and Troubleshooting

Even though Let’s Encrypt and cPanel streamline the SSL installation process, you might encounter some common issues during or after installation.

These issues can often be resolved with a bit of troubleshooting.

The two common issues, that you may come across are:

Mixed Content

Issue: After installing the SSL certificate, some elements on your website (such as images, scripts, or stylesheets) are still being loaded over HTTP, causing mixed content warnings.

Solution: Update all resource URLs on your website to use the HTTPS protocol. This ensures that all elements are loaded securely. You might need to modify links in your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code.

Certificate Mismatch

Issue: Your website displays a security warning stating that the certificate does not match the domain name.

Solution: Double-check that the correct domain is selected during the certificate installation process. Ensure that the “Domain” field matches your website’s domain name exactly.

Conclusion

Securing your website with an SSL certificate from Let’s Encrypt is a critical step in today’s cybersecurity landscape.

By following this tutorial, you’ve successfully learned how to generate and install SSL certificates on your cPanel-based website.

Your visitors can now browse your site with confidence, knowing their data is safe and protected.

What to know how to install WordPress, check out my guide here.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for the SSL certificate to be issued?

The Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate is issued almost instantly once you complete the installation process in cPanel.

Can I install Let’s Encrypt SSL on multiple domains?

Yes, you can install Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates on multiple domains hosted within the same cPanel account.

Do I need to reinstall the certificate after renewing?

No, the renewal process is automated, and you won’t need to reinstall the certificate manually.

My padlock is green, but I see a “Not Secure” warning?

While the padlock indicates a secure connection, the “Not Secure” warning could be due to mixed content (HTTP resources loading on an HTTPS page). Ensure all resources are loaded via HTTPS.

Can I manually renew the certificate before it expires?

Yes, you can manually renew the certificate from the cPanel interface before it expires. However, the automated renewal process typically handles this for you.

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