Securing your site with SSL

An SSL certificate is a way to show users of your site that you’ve taken steps to make sure their personal information is safe. Increasingly, visitors are becoming reluctant to visit websites without them because of warnings from their browsers that a site may be unsafe.

Fortunately, setting up your Coventry Domains site with an SSL is quick, easy and completely free.

Why do you need to secure your site?

For many reasons, such as the increasing amount of data stored online and the rise of online shopping, it’s become necessary to create a more secure way to transfer sensitive information around the web, such as credit card details or identifiable personal information.

How can I tell if a site is already secure?

You may recognise web addresses that start like this:

The http part stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, and for a long time, it’s been the standard way for computers transfer information to/from a server (the physical place in the world where the website in question is hosted).

Now, many websites will use Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol, or https as in this example:

This lets you know a site has been verified by an independent authority and is who it claims to be. Even if you don’t see the https in your browser, you may see a green tick or a lock next to the URL letting you know the site you’re on is using a secure connection.

You can achieve this for your site too by installing a secure layer on your site called a Secure Sockets Layer or (SSL certificate).

What is an SSL certificate?

Essentially, an SSL is a security upgrade for your site. Once your site is verified by a “Certificate Authority” and issued with an SSL certificate, any computer around the world is able to create a secure connection with your server which no one else can intercept.

An SSL is a bit like having a “Blue Tick” on Twitter- it means your site has been verified by a third party.

There are several types of SSL certificates available, but if you don’t intend to store highly sensitive information like financial details or medical records, you can just enable the basic, free SSL certificate available with your Coventry Domains account.

How to add an SSL certificate on your site

  1. On your cPanel dashboard, click on Let’s Encrypt SSL in the Security section

    Image of Let's Encrypt Logo

  2. In the Issue a new Certificate section, locate the site you’d like to secure, and click the blue Issue + button.
  3. On the next screen, leave the default settings as they are and click Issue.

    Image for inserting SSL

The process is now complete, but it may take 30 minutes or so for the changes to take effect. After this time, visit your site in a browser and look for either the https: in the URL or a secured site symbol (such as a lock icon or a green tick) to the left of the URL.

Forcing browsers to use HTTPS

If you’re still seeing the http: protocol being used (or no secured site symbol next to the URL) when you visit your site, you may need to return to cPanel and force browsers to use your new SSL certificate.

  1. In cPanel, click on the Domains tool in the Domains section
  2. Make sure the “Force HTTPS Redirect” toggle is switched to On
HTTPs toggle