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How to Set up Free SSL on a WooCommerce Store

WooCommerce is a popular eCommerce platform used by thousands of online stores due to its customization and a wide range of extensions. Just like any other online store, security is the first priority of WooCommerce site owners. Although there are tons of effective ways of securing the WooCommerce store today I will be covering SSL and how can we integrate it into a WooCommerce based store.

What is Secure Socket Layer (SSL)?

Conventionally data shared over the internet is done via TCP/IP (HTTP) which is not encrypted and could pose a potential security threat. Secure Socket Layer or short for SSL is a secured cryptographic protocol (HTTPs) which encrypts the data being shared between the client and server.

This encrypted data is useless for any hacker as it is nearly impossible to decrypt the data without its decoding key. This key is only generated by the server.

Why SSL Is Important for WooCommerce Store?

Adding SSL to a WooCommerce store does not only enhance the security of your online store but it also has the following benefits.

1. Customer’s Trust

Paying customers looks for some kind of security while sharing their personal information such as credit card details and billing address. SSL secured websites ensure them that their data is shared through a secured channel and no third party can access to it without their consent.

2. Needed by Payment Gateways

Almost all payment gateways such as PayPal, Stripe, and 2Checkout require SSL before their allow your WooCommerce store to take online payments. This measure helps them to secure the information collected from the customers and shared with their platform.

3. Improved SEO

SSL may not be directly involved with better SERP ranking of your WooCommerce store but it definitely adds to the overall SEO factor through which Google ranks the websites. HTTPS-enabled websites are considered more reliable and secured which is a ranking factor of Google search engine.

4. Improved Brand Image

By adding SSL to your WooCommerce store you are indirectly conveying the message that your business is concerned about the security of its customer’s data and in order to protect it you take all the necessary steps. This does not only show good business ethics but also improves the brand image of your business.

How Does SSL Certificate Work?

Client pings the server to initiate the SSL connection and it only sends the encrypted data when it is provided the right key by the pinged server. The server then detects the key sent by the client and start decoding the information. This process is also known as SSL Handshake.

Integrating SSL to a WooCommerce Store

In this tutorial, I will be using Free SSL via Let’s Encrypt which is an open certificate authority developed to promote security over the internet.  

Some hosting providers like Cloudways which is a managed cloud WooCommerce WordPress hosting provider offer Free SSL via Let’s Encrypt inside their platform to their customers. Other providers let their customers add the SSL from the cPanel.

For the sake of simplicity, I will be using Cloudways platform to show you the integration of SSL with a WooCommerce Store.

Creating an account on Cloudways is very easy. Simply go to their sign up page and create a free trial account.

After creating the account, log into their platform to launch the server and the WooCommerce store.

Application and server details

I already have launched the server and set up a WooCommerce store for this tutorial.

In order to integrate the SSL, I first need to map my primary domain to my WooCommerce store. For that, I navigate to Domain Management tab present inside my Application Management dashboard. Make sure, you have done the settings on DNS registrar as mentioned in this guide.

After mapping the domain, I head over to SSL Certificate tab and added my email address and the domain name I just added inside the Domain Management tab.

After adding the information, click on ‘INSTALL CERTIFICATE’ button to initiate the integration process. That’s it! I have technically integrated the SSL certificate to my WooCommerce store. You can also enable the WildCard SSL certificate feature if using the multiple sub-domains.

Changing URLs From HTTP to HTTPS

After integrating the SSL Certificate head over to the WordPress admin dashboard to change all the internal links from HTTP to HTTPs. Go to Setting → General and change both the WordPress address and Site Address URLs to HTTPS.

Note: To be on a safe side, make sure to backup your store before going forward.

Mix Content Warning and How to Fix it?

Sometimes changing the URLs from WordPress admin is not enough and upon testing the store you might come across a few pages where you could see the info icon in the address bar highlighting that some of the pages or assets are still using non-SSL links.

You may also use SSL Check tool which is an online tool by Jitbit to filter these non-SSL links.

In order to fix these links install Velvet Blues plugin in your WordPress.

Activate the plugin and navigate to ToolsUpdate URLs. And enter the old and new site URL in the fields provided.

Click on ‘Update URLS NOW’ button to start the process. Once the process is completed test your WooCommerce store again using the online tool.

Final Thoughts

In this article, we learned what is SSL, its importance and how it works to protect the information shared between you and the customers. We saw how easy is it to integrate it into a WooCommerce store using the Cloudways platform. If you use any other hosting provider, ask them how to set up the SSL certificate to your store.

When it comes to security, WooCommerce store owners should take all the necessary steps to provide security to their customers. There are tons of ways to secure a WooCommerce store and one should not only rely on one technique.

Author Bio

Aaheel Abdul Aziz is the SEO & Digital Marketing Expert. He loves to share the knowledge he has, and always eager to learn from other industry experts. In his free time, he likes to play table tennis and research new trends in SEO & Digital Marketing.

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