Here are some basic fundamentals that every freelance web developer should know about installing an SSL.
What is an SSL (“Secure Sockets Layer”)
It’s what you need to have in order to have the “s” in the
https:// when you view a website in your browser. That “s” standards for “Secure”, so whenever somebody is on your site and they enter their password, their credit card details or express their personal fantasies, all of that stuff is safe from whatever hacker or malicious code that tries to intercept it.
Remember that whenever you are on a website your computer and the website are exchanging messages, from downloading the images and text so you can see a website, to entering your contact details when you submit a form. With an SSL all of that communication exchanged is safe, because it’s encrypted.
Do I need one?
If you’ve got a very simple website with just picture and text, you’ll probably think you won’t need one. However SSL certificates have now become a standard for every website. Says who? Says Google, that’s right Google now gives websites with SSL more credit, in fact it’s more or less a requirement, so get one!
Is it easy to get one for my website
Yes, these days web hosting providers have made it easy for us (regular people as well as web developers) to get an SSL, in fact the web hosting providers offer SSL as part of their package, so you probably don’t need to worry about it as long as you get your web hosting from a credible, reliable web hosting provider. There are however some providers that require a web developer to install the SSL manually, and if that’s the case keep reading!
How to get one
The procedure in getting and installing one varies with different companies and servers, and usually those companies and servers will guide your through. But here is a general guide of how it all works…
1. Create the CSR (certificate signing request)
Create it from the place where you’re gonna host the website.
- Usually you would go into the cPanel or developer admin, fill out your name, address, email and then click “Request”.
- You’ll then generate an certificate signing request
.csrfile and a private key
.csr to the company where you’ll purchase your SSL.
2. The SSL company generates the SSL
The company uses that
.csr to generate a certificate.
You’ll get send a Certificate
.crt and probably some Certificate Authority bundles
(Note: depending on the company, you could make the purchase before or after you create the
3. Install the Certificate
Upload the files (or copy/paste the code from the files). These are the private key
.crt and CA certificate
.ca.crt (or CA bundle) to complete the installation.
When I get an SSL, which one do I want?
Different SSL come with a level of verification…
Domain Validation (DV) – “I verify that this guy is the true owner of this domain”
Organization Validation (OV) – “I verify that this guy’s name and contact details are correct”
Extended Validation (EV) – “I 200% verify that this guy’s name, company and contact details are correct”
Single Domain – “.example.com is verified, but thats it (No wwww.example.com)”.
Wildcard – Used for a domain and any of its subdomains. For example, a wildcard certificate for *.example.com can also be used for www.example.com and store.example.com
Multiple Domain – Known as a SAN or UC certificate, these can be used with multiple domains and subdomains that are added to the Subject Alternative Name field. For example, a single multi-domain certificate could be used with example.com, www.example.com, and example.net
Last modified: January 10, 2022