How to manually Install Let’s Encrypt free SSL Certificate on any hosting

How to manually Install Let’s Encrypt free SSL Certificate on any hosting

You can install free SSL on both cPanel & Plesk control panels.

This method works on every hosting like GoDaddy, HostGator, Linux, Windows, etc.

The best part?

You will get the SSL Certificate from Let’s Encrypt free of charge at the very same instance.

A lot of people ask me – Is SSL Free?. I tell them yes it is completely free provided you generate it with Let’s Encrypt. Let’s Encrypt is a open source SSL Certificate Authority (CA) that promises to provide Free SSL certificates in a standardized, API accessible and non-commercial way.

These SSL provides the following benefits:

  • Trusted in 99.9% of all major browsers.
  • Protect user data & gain trust.
  • Improve Search Engine Ranking of your site.
  • Prevents your website from hackers.
  • 100% Free Forever.

How to Generate Let’s encrypt Free SSL Certificate

The process of generating SSL is quite easy. There is a good website called SSL For Free which interacts with Let’s Encrypt servers from APIs and create your certificate instantly.

Step 1: Head over to this website and enter your domain name in the text box and then click the Create Free SSL Certificate button.

Create SSL Certificate
Step 2: You will be asked to verify your domain, which can be done in 3 different ways like FTP, Manual and DNS verification methods. Choose the Manual Verification option and then click the button called Manually Verify Domain.
Domain-Verification
What is SSL Certificate ? This tutorial covers everything about the working of an SSL certificate, and how it protects you against data thefts and hackers.
Step 3: Next, you will now be asked to download the 2 files and upload it to your website’s root folder. See the below image where I have shown this screen and marked the files which have to be downloaded.

Download these files and save it in your PC for the time being, you will be using these files soon.

Download SSL Verification-files

So, connect with your domain using FileZilla Client FTP software. Go inside the public_html directory, and create a new directory named “.well-known”.

If you are using Windows hosting (Plesk) then you may have to add a ‘.’ at the end of the directory name in order to create a directory with a ‘.’ at the beginning.

Next, create a new directory named acme-challenge under the “.well-known” directory.

Finally upload the 2 downloaded files from your local pc to this acme-challenge directory.

Step 4: In the same page, click the Download SSL Certificate button and you will be taken to the next page where you will be provided the Let’s Encrypt Certificate files in plain text.

These files are:

  • 1. Certificate
  • 2. Private Key
  • 3. CA Bundle
Let's Encrypt Certificate Files

Congrats! You have successfully created the SSL Certificate. Now I will tell how to install it on your cPanel or Plesk panel.

You should note that these uploaded files have no file extension (like .text, .php, .html). You have to verify whether your hosting setting is enabled to display the ‘extension less’ files in plain text.

So try opening the links to these 2 uploaded files on your browser. If your browser does not display them as text then you have to do the necessary settings.

If you are using cPanel then add the following code in your .htaccess file:

<Files [^.]+>
    ForceType text/plain
</FilesMatch>

If you are using Plesk panel then add the below code to your web.config file:

<system.webServer>
    <staticContent>
      <mimeMap fileExtension="." mimeType="text/plain" />
    </staticContent>
</system.webServer>
The above code will force extension less files to be served as plain text in the browser.

Installing SSL manually in cPanel

The cPanel is provided on Linux based hostings. So if your hosting is Linux based then open your cPanel (given in your hosting account). Inside the cPanel, click the SSL/TLS icon provided under the Security area. I have explained this in the below video:
cPanel SSL
You will reach the SSL/TLS settings page. In this page, click on the option that says – Manage SSL sites.
SSL Settings cPanel

Now you will taken to the Manage SSL page. Here you have to select the domain (to which this certificate will be installed), and paste the Certificate: (CRT), Private Key (KEY) and Certificate Authority Bundle: (CABUNDLE) which already are created in the before steps.

Check the below image where I have shown this thing:

Install Certificate cPanel

Finally click the Install Certificate button.

The SSL Certificate will be installed in few seconds and you will now be able to open your website in https mode.

Redirecting all http requests to https from .htaccess

To force all web traffic to your domain to use HTTPS, you need to redirect them to https URLs of your site. You can do this by inserting the following lines of code in the .htaccess file given in your website’s root folder.
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www. [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^(?:www.)?(.+)$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^ https://%1%{REQUEST_URI} [L,NE,R=301]

Installing SSL manually in Plesk

The Plesk panel is provided on Windows based hostings. So if your hosting is windows based then open the Plesk (provided in your hosting account), then click the SSL/TLS certificates icon. See the below video:
SSL Plesk

You will reach the ‘SSL/TLS Certificates’ page. In this page click the Add SSL/TLS Certificate button.

Add SSL Plesk

You will not reach a new page where you can add your SSL Certificate.

Here, on the Certificate name field, give your certificate any name of your choice, and simply copy and paste the Certificate: (CRT), Private Key (KEY) and Certificate Authority Bundle: (CABUNDLE) which already are created in the above steps.

Finally click the ‘Upload Certificate’ button, check the below image which explain this:

Upload Certificate Plesk

Your SSL certificate will be added and you can see it as shown by the below image:

Added Certificates Plesk

Now you have to apply this SSL Certificate to your domain. Do so, by going to Plesk, and click the Hosting Settings icon.

Next, under the ‘Security’ heading, check the below 2 options:

1. SSL/TLS support

2. Permanent SEO-safe 301 redirect from HTTP to HTTPS

And also select the Certificate name.

Finally, in the end click the ‘OK’ button.

Applying SSL Plesk

The SSL Certificate will be installed and you will now be able to open your websites in ‘https’ mode.

Redirecting all requests from http to https by using web.config

Plesk panel already have this option called Permanent SEO-safe 301 redirect from HTTP to HTTPS, but you can also do it from the web.config file.

The code to add to your web.config file is:

<system.webServer>
  <rewrite>
    <rules>
      <rule name="HTTPS force" enabled="true" stopProcessing="true">
        <match url="(.*)" />
          <conditions>
            <add input="{HTTPS}" pattern="^OFF$" />
          </conditions>
          <action type="Redirect" url="https://{HTTP_HOST}{REQUEST_URI}" redirectType="Permanent" />
      </rule>
    </rules>
  </rewrite>
</system.webServer>

Conclusion
I hope you like this tutorial on manual installing of Free SSL Certificate on your domain. If your friends every ask you the same question – Is SSL Free?. Then simply point them to this tutorial.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

This article has been written by the Technical Staff of YogiHosting. Check out other articles on "ASP.NET Core, jQuery, EF Core, SEO, jQuery, HTML" and more.

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