I Installed an SSL Certificate Today and Actually Got It to Work!

 I Installed an SSL Certificate Today and Actually Got It to Work!

The Problem

I have known for a few months that Google is encouraging website owners to install an SSL certificate on their sites to encourage better data protection through use of https instead of http. There are other sources and reasons for the encryption. While I take my sites seriously, I am not at the point where I collect a lot of personal information or credit card information. But I knew this was important and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money to get the certificate yet.

The Solution

I researched SSL certificates. There are multiple levels of certificates:

  • Domain Validation (DV)
  • Organization Validation (OV)
  • Extended Validation (EV)

The certificates differ by the type of validation the provider will need to do. DV only requires confirmation that the domain exists and the files needed are on the site’s server. OV and EV require paperwork to validate the existence of the organization.

These are then adjusted by the number of domains that need to be secured:

  • Single Domains
  • Wildcard Domains
  • Multi-Domain

In my case, I needed a certificate for tmichellemoore.com but there was a slight twist because I have a multisite WordPress installation that has a couple of blogs. They are all provided through sub-sites in the form of:

I purchased the cheapest certificate because I have setup my WordPress Network using the sub-directory setup and all indications were that this would work.

To find additional information on certificates and the one that I purchased, please go to Namecheap.com and click the tabs for Level of Validation and Number of Domains Secured.

The Process

Purchase  and Install the Certificate

  • I purchased the $9.00 Comodo PositiveSSL for one domain from Namecheap. If I ever need the more costly certificates, I will purchase them then.
  • On Godaddy this was almost a pretty straightforward process, except for the step that I missed. 🙂 In the GoDaddy cPanel, I opened the SSL/TLS option.

  • I Generated a Private Key (KEY) on GoDaddy.
  • I submitted it to Namecheap.com.
  • I Generated a Certificate Signing Requests (CSR) on GoDaddy.
  • I activated the certificate on Namecheap by entering the CSR.
  • I downloaded the validation file on Namecheap.
  • I added the validation file to my public_html folder from Namecheap.
  • Namecheap validated the file was on my hosting server.
  • I downloaded the certificate from Namecheap.
  • I then uploaded the Certificates (CRT) to GoDaddy.
  • I then associated the certificate to the site using the Install and Manage SSL for your site (HTTPS) selection.
  • I promptly typed https://tmichellemoore.com and got a 404 error. Apparently there were more steps. 🙂

When It All Didn’t Work

OK, so it all didn’t work and I had to backtrack. I went through all of the steps and discovered that I hadn’t finished installing the certificate through the GoDaddy cPanel. I missed the Install and Manage SSL for your site (HTTPS) step.

I searched the internet and found this site which helped me on to success:

Moving to HTTPS on WordPress

Well it was this site and the fixing the two files below.

.httaccess

I needed to add the following lines to the .httaccess file in the public_html folder:

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} 80
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://www.yoursite.com/$1 [R,L]
</IfModule>

http://www.wpbeginner.com/wp-tutorials/how-to-add-ssl-and-https-in-wordpress/

wp-config.php

To ensure the administrative panel uses https I needed to add this line: define(‘FORCE_SSL_ADMIN’, true); to the wp-config.php file in the public_html folder.

Source: https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/ssl-https-wordpress/ and https://www.godaddy.com/help/using-an-ssl-with-your-wordpress-admin-control-panel-6922

Conclusion

In the end, two of the sites just didn’t work no matter what I tried. Finally, after reading about images on CDN sites causing the https to turn grey from green, I turned on the Jetpack Photon feature. This was just plain luck that it worked. I don’t have a total explanation for this.

I have not included the multiple https/ssl plugins that I installed and promptly deleted from WordPress to try to make all of this work. They didn’t work. But it was probably because I had missed a step.

If you go to any of my sites, you will now see the green lock and https that indicates I have an SSL certificate installed.

And the Good News

For those out there that don’t want to spend any money, there are sites that offer the certificates for free. If you do decide on a free certificate, read all of the terms and conditions. They can have page limitations, 90 day terms, and other attributes that are not that appealing.

 

 

 

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