Add a Free SSL Certificate to an HTML Website

Why do websites need an SSL certificate?

Because your visitors care. Most websites are secure now. Their web address starts with https://. The s stands for secure. When a secure website is displayed, a locked padlock is shown to the immediate left of the web address or URL.

SSL certificates are used to encrypt the information set between you and the website. This prevents packet sniffers from stealing your credit card information when it is being sent through the internet to the website when you purchase something.

For example, one of many reasons Amazon is trusted is because they have a secure website. Notice the locked padlock icon next to the URL If you were to copy and paste that URL into a text editor, you would see that it is

Secure website.

Here is how the web hosting service Blue Host explains it:

An SSL certificate protects your customers’ sensitive information – such as passwords, usernames, and credit card numbers – from being obtained by malicious third parties. Customers can see if your site is protected when they see the green lock icon on their browser. SSL certificates are also one of the factors search engines, such as Google, use to determine where a website appears in search results.

Blue Host

If you go to a website that is not secure, you will not see a locked padlock. Your web browser might warn you that it is not secure. It will look like this:

Notice that lack of a padlock, and the browser says it is not secure. Visitors might not want to buy something from that site because they know it is not secure.

Sometimes, a browser will warn you that a website is insecure by displaying the following:

How can we made our website secure? It is actually quite easy.

What do I need to make my website secure?

You need an SSL certificate. These used to cost hundreds of dollars a year. Installing one of those is beyond the scope of this article.

SSL certificate can also be free, thanks to an organization called Let’s Encrypt. This article is about installing the free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates.

What do I need to make my website secure for free?

You need a web host that provides a free SSL certificate. Most do. The web hosting service we recommend is NameHero. NameHero provides unlimited free SSL certificates.

How to add an SSL Certificate to an HTML Website.

The following method will work for both WordPress and non-WordPress websites. It requires some technical expertise. You need to find or create, then edit the website’s .htaccess file.

To use the Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate, your web hosting service needs to provide this.

If your website is hosted by Hostgator, simply add a few lines of code to your .htaccess file. Most hosting providers allow this.

Warning! Back up your .htaccess file before modifying it. If you mess up your .htaccess file, you can crash your website.

Add the following lines of code to the beginning of your .htaccess file in your root directory.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]

I have a WordPress website. Is there an easier way to do this?

Yes, there is a WordPress plugin that will do this easily. Go here to learn how.

Here is a blog entry that tells you how to use both methods.

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