If you are searching for how to get an SSL certificate for free, then it is probable that you already know what SSL is and what it does.
In case if you still do not have an idea, it is the same thing that makes you feel safe while browsing on the internet.
The SSL certificate helps to establish a secure connection between the origin server, content delivery network, and the browser and helps to prevent data breaches.
When you open most of the sites, you probably have noticed a padlock sign on the top left corner along with the address bar of most of the web browsers.
The padlock sign gives assurance to users that the site currently they are opening in the browser is safe to use and to enter information and details in it.
We are here to know how to get an SSL certificate for free not to know what is ssl and how does it make the connection secure.
But, if your site is self-hosted and using a content management system such as WordPress, Joomla, etc. then you will need to install an SSL certificate on your server.
Nowadays, most of the hosting service providers provide an SSL certificate for free.
Though they provide free SSL, sometimes you might need to setup/ install it manually. If you want to know how to install the SSL certificate in the cPanel provided by the hosting service provider, you can read this article.
How to Get an SSL Certificate for Free
Now this is the most awaited part of this blog for those who are not getting an SSL certificate for free from the hosting service providers.
The reason for this can be because you are getting the hosting service at a very cheap rate or free of cost.
Free hosting providers like infinity-free and low-price hosting providers generally do not provide you an SSL certificate for free.
If you are one of those who is not having an SSL certificate, here is a quick guide on how to get an SSL certificate for free.
You can install the certificate on your site from your cPanel, vPanel, or any similar control panel that offers the installation of an SSL certificate on your server.
The SSL certificate I am going to explain here is free of cost. That means you will have to pay nothing and also it does not require payment details.
You can use one certificate for one year. However, you will need to renew the certificate every 90 days, which will also be free of cost.
Zerossl.com is the certificate authority which will provide the SSL certificate for free. Zero SSL is used by more than 500,000 customers worldwide and trusted by most of the browsers as a trusted certificate authority.
So here is the complete step by step guide on how you can get an SSL certificate for free from Zero SSL certificate signing authority.
Go to zerossl.com
You can perform these steps while reading. Therefore, if you are ready to get an SSL certificate for free, open a new tab on the same device or on another device. If you want to open the site on the same browser, you can click here. It will automatically open the desired link on another tab.
Once the site is loaded, a text input area will appear, which will ask you to enter your Domain. In my case, I will go for a demo domain I registered for free on freenom.com.
While entering the Domain, you should provide only the domain name, as I did in the following picture.
Entering the Domain will cover your www version of the Domain too.
After successfully giving the Domain name, click on the ‘Next Step’ button.
Please note that this free certificate will not cover any other subdomains. So if you are planning to use a secure protocol on a subdomain using free SSL, it is not possible with the Zerossl certificate.
Sign Up to Zerossl
Once you click on the next step button as mentioned in the first step, it will direct you to sign up page. You can sign up simply by providing your email address and the desired password. Then click on the Next Button.
Additional Action to Get an SSL Certificate for Free
Just because the name is Zerossl, it does not only provide a free SSL certificate but also paid certificates. Therefore, you have to select appropriate options to get SSL for free.
In this step, you will see the “I need a wildcard certificate” option, which is for the paid plan that covers all the subdomains.
Keep that option to be turned off. You are here for a free SSL certificate, so spending money is up to you. You can buy a more secure SSL certificate for a longer period that covers all subdomains by spending money if you have.
If you want to get a certificate for another domain or the domain name entered in the first step found to be wrong, you can also correct it in this step.
Click on the Next Step button, click on the validity, and check if it is in 90 days or not. To get an SSL certificate for free, you must be selecting 90 days option.
Set up CSR and Contact
After completion of step 3, click on the Next Step button. Under the CSR & Contact option, you will see the Auto-Generate CSR option is enabled.
Disable the Auto-Generate CSR option. After disabling this option, a form will appear which you will need to fill.
Provide your valid email address, city, state, and country. In the organization section, write the name of the organization and the department you work for. But, if you are an individual, you can write your first or full name and click on the Next Step button.
Select Free Plan
If you are following me, in the SSL plan selection section, you will see that the plan option will automatically be over the free plan and unchangeable to another. If this does not happen, recheck all the steps and correct the mistake.
Verify Domain to Get an SSL Certificate for Free
To get a free SSL from Zerossl, you must verify that the Domain for which you are getting an SSL certificate for free belongs to you.
There are three options you can verify your Domain.
– Email Verification Method
You can choose the email verification method if you have set up your custom email address with your domain name using cPanel or GSuit.
If you haven’t set up any of the following emails, first set up one of these email.
Select an email address from the drop-down and click on the Next Step button. Zerossl will send an email to the selected email address with the domain verification code as well as a link to a separate domain verification page.
To finalize the verification of your Domain, grab your domain verification key, click the “Go To Verification Page” button to get to the verification page, and submit your domain verification key.
Only the following email address is accepted for verification:
– DNS (CNAME) Record Verification Method
If your Domain has a dedicated control panel to manage DNS records, you can set a CNAME record as provided by Zerossl.
Setting a DNS record is the easiest method.
Therefore, if you have the DNS management panel, you can quickly verify your Domain.
Even if your Domain name provider does not provide a dedicated DNS management panel, you can manage DNS using Cloudflare.
– Http File Upload Method
In this method, you have to download the file provided by Zerossl and upload it to your hosting account under yourdomain.com/.well-known/pki-validation/
This method is not suitable when you already have an option to add a CNAME record.
Confirmation of Domain Verification
After using any of the methods mentioned above, click on the Next Step button, which will direct you to the Finalize section. Click on the Verify Domain button. It will shortly verify your Domain within a few seconds. If verification fails, wait sometimes and try again.
Once the Domain is verified, it will take a maximum of 1-2 minutes to make the certificate available for download. Download the Zip file from the server.
You Successfully got an SSL certificate for free. This is not the final step. You just got a certificate which you will need to install on your server using cPanel or vPanel SSL management section.
Now you can install the SSL certificate on your site from cPanel.
The following image shows that, the site is secured. The domain grisma.ga is the same for which I applied to get an SSL certificate for free.
Note: As of now, I am using Cloudflare’s proxy enabled connection. Therefore, if you check the certificate on this site, the common name you find will be sni.cloudflaressl.com. However the origin server contains Zerossl issued free certificate.
Read this to know How to add custom domain on blogger using cloudflare
Getting an SSL certificate is not hard for general usage such as for Blogging site, News portal and simple static website.
But these free SSL certificate may not fully secure your users if the site is eCommerce or receiving any kind of payment through online payment gateways.
But, if you cannot afford paid SSL certificate, I recommend you to install free SSL on origin server and use Cloudflare strict SSL mode.