In this tutorial we will make the website URL to load over HTTPS instead of simple HTTP by using a free SSl certificate. It is preferred to have an SSL certificate installed even if your website is not a company or Ecommerce site. However if it is an Ecommerce site or the one that has a lot of users signing up, than you better need a paid SSL certificate or even an EV SSL certificate depending upon your website.

How to Get Free SSL Certificate ?

The most popular free SSL certificate providers are Let’s Encrypt and Cloudflare. Installing certificate provided by Let’s Encrypt is a little bit tricky. Though some hosting providers such as SiteGround and DreamHost have included and option in their cPanel for easy installation. And for other hosting providers you can install Let’s Encrypt certificate by using cPanel and and a service called SSL For Free. The only drawback of Let’s Encrypt, besides being difficult to install, is that the certificate is short lived and expires after three months, which then requires to renew it.

On the other hand certificate provided by Cloudflare is very easy to install and use. We are going to install a SSL certificate on our free WordPress website, and since none of the free web hosting has proper cPanel, we will install Cloudflare SSL on our Freenom domain. Let’s jump right into the process:

Sign up at Cloudflare, add your website and click on ‘Scan DNS Records’ button.

Then click on ‘Continue’ button on the following two pages, select ‘Free Website’ option and again click on ‘Continue’.

Now you will be given two Nameservers to be added to your domain name.

Go to Freenom’s Nameservers section and replace first two name servers with those given by Cloudflare. And remove the last two, then click on ‘Change Nameservers’ button.

Then go back to cloudflare, click on ‘Continue’ button and wait for DNS propagation. After DNS propagation the Cloudflare status will become ‘Active’.

Then go to ‘Crypto’ tab and make sure that the certificate is active. If its showing ‘Authorizing Certificate’ message, then wait for the process to be completed. Another thing you wanna make sure is that the SSL is on ‘Flexible’ mode.

After that, go to your WordPress dashboard. And there you need to install two plugins. First install and activate the ‘Cloudflare’ plugin and then install ‘Really Simple SSL’ plugin (for now only install it and do not activate). Then go to the settings of Cloudflare plugin.

Here you need to enter your Cloudflare email address and API key.

You can get the API key by going to your Cloudflare Settings. Scroll down and click on ‘View API Key’ button next to ‘Global API Key’ option. You will see the API key on the pop up window, copy and use that to sign in to the plugin.

In the ‘Home’ tab turn On the slider for ‘Automatic Cache Management’ option.

Then go to the ‘Settings’ tab, scroll down to the bottom and turn On the slider for ‘Automatic HTTPS Rewrites’ option.

After that, activate the ‘Really Simple SSL’ plugin. And at the top you will see a link to ‘reload over https’, click on that.

And then click on the button that says ‘Go ahead, activate SSL!’.

The notification of ‘SSL activated!’ appears, and in the WordPress general settings the website URL is replaced with ‘https’.

That’s pretty much it. The free SSL Certificate is installed and running on the website.

Troubleshooting

If after clicking on ‘reload over https’ link the website does not load. Then you may need to tweak the DNS settings in Cloudflare.

Go to ‘DNS’ tab and change the last digit of ‘points to’ value of ‘A’ record from 4 to 6.

Then wait for some time and reload the URL over ‘https’, the URLwill work this time but you will see a ‘Not Found’ error.

Then change the last digit of ‘A’ record’s value back to 4.

Again wait for sometime and reload the page again. And this time the website will load properly.

We have tested this troubleshoot for X10Hosting, and it worked. You may need to search for and try different values of ‘A’ record if you are on different web-hosting.

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Tabish Ishaq

Greetings, I’m Tabish. I’m a Blogger, YouTuber and Student. I am a fan of blogging. I blog about technology, internet and web tutorials.
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