We’ve all heard that making your website use HTTPS will help it rank better in Google’s search engine results, but is it true and how do you get it for free? The main reason HTTPS helps a website with SEO is that it represents a positive signal within the overall ranking algorithm. To Google, HTTPS means safer sites, which in turn means better quality content and relevancy for the user.
More Benefit Than SEO: Chrome Will Show Non-HTTPS As “Not Secure”
Although I have been converting clients to HTTPS since the beginning of the year, I’ve been lazy to make the switch myself. But recently, Google warned that Chrome will mark non-HTTPS pages with forms as not secure and that got my attention. So I finally decided to try to get HTTPS for my site, but on the cheap. The following method is how I got an SSL certificate on my website for free.
Installing a Free SSL Certificate on My Website to Make It HTTPS
I use Bluehost and found out that they have recently started providing free SSL certificates for WordPress sites that are hosted with them. If you host with Bluehost too, this is where you can go to have the SSL certificate installed for free in a matter of minutes:
In your control panel, go to WordPress Tools>Security.
Next, flip the Free SSL Certificate switch to ON. It will take a few minutes, but once it is done, the button will say ON and will be green.
After confirming on Bluehost that SSL is on for my WordPress site, I could check by simply typing in my domain. But I decided to get it checked out thoroughly using a free online tool that performs a deep analysis of the configuration of the SSL web server. I used Qualys SSL Server Test, but there are many out there if you do a simple search online. My results say I have an A, so it looks like it works and I’m happy.
That’s it. It was really easy to get the SSL certificate onto my site without paying. Luckily, I was already using Bluehost. The free SSL certificate is valid for 3 months and I will need to renew it. I hope the renewal will be free too. I will be updating the status here when it comes.