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Having a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate on your website is becoming a necessity. They not only ensure the data is encrypted, but indicate to users that your website is secure. In fact, Google will issue an update to its Chrome web browser (update 62), which will warn users when entering data into HTTP websites – this will also affect search results as it prioritises secure websites.

If your website doesn’t already have one, you’re going to need an SSL certificate, even if it just a blog or news site.

More and more hosting companies are implementing SSL and HTTPS at a basic level for packages. While the checkout page of your ecommerce store isn’t automatically secure because of this, your cPanel and Webmail logins will be. This offers basic protection to both you and your webhosting company, regardless of which package you have with them.

Many website hosting companies sell SSL certificates, and if you are hosting with them, they will be able to install it for you as well. It’s a far easier method than installing one yourself. For everyone else, you may need to install the certificate on your server.

Which SSL certificate do you need?

SSL binds a cryptographic key to a website organisation’s details. The website will have a private and a public key, which are comprised of long strings of text and numbers. The web browser will send data using the public key, but only the server’s private key can decrypt it. This changes the site from using HTTP to HTTPS, which signifies that it is secure.

You will also require a static IP, which can be purchased from your webhost.

An SSL certificate isn’t a standard piece of software and there are a few different versions, though some website hosts may put their own spin on exactly what features are offered. The most common offerings are:

  • Domain validation: This is the standard certificate, the most basic offerings. It is only able to secure a single domain (with no subdomains included in the security) with 128/256-bit encryption.
  • Wildcard: This is able to secure a single domain as well as an unlimited number of subdomains as well, such as https://subdomain.yourwebsite.com, with 128/256-bit encryption.
  • Multi-domain: This is similar to wildcard, but secures more than one domain – some offer up to 100 domains – with 128/256-bit encryption.
  • Extended: The final type of SSL certificate goes by a number of names. It offers the same functionality as domain validation, but allows the address bar of a website to display the name of the site or company as well.

Installing an SSL certificate through cPanel

Depending on how your website host has set up cPanel, you may be able to purchase a certificate through the system, which will install it as well. In order to do so, head to Security and then SSL/TLS Wizard. Follow the steps in the window to purchase a certificate.

Once purchased from a number of websites, you will need to install the SSL certificate on your web server. Download and extract the certificate and its details from the email you received from the company you purchased it from.

Click on Manage SSL Sites in the Security panel.
Copy the certificate code into the block provided.
Next, click on the Autofill by Certificate button if it hasn’t generated the content.
Copy the chain of intermediate certificates into the box under Certificate Authority Bundle if it didn’t auto fill..
Finally, click on Install Certificate.

You can test the certificate by accessing your website through https://yoursite.com.

Free SSL on Hostafrica.co.za

All Webhosting customers can access a free SSL from their Cpanel Account. Also customers with own WHM/Cpanel license can use WHM’s AUTOINSTALL functionality to access their free SSL.

Additional SSL offers can be found on our webpage.

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