Over the last year, one of our big “selling points” at Name Hero has been our free and automatic SSL certificates powered by Let’s Encrypt.
Since having an SSL certificate (https) on a website is pretty much standard in 2018, customers like the fact that they don’t have to pay, or do anything complicated to get it active on their website.
At the same time, we also enjoy the feature as it allows us to create an even safer network infrastructure for our customers and their visitors, making the Internet safer overall.
However, looking back at our ticket que over the last 60 days, one of the most asked questions has to deal with these free and automatic SSL certificates.
Since these still are rather “new” there is some confusion I wanted to help clear up in this guide:
Requirements For Free SSL Certificates
There are two main requirements for a domain or subdomain to obtain a free and automatic SSL certificate:
- DNS Must Resolve – Check your website with our DNSHero tool to make sure there isn’t any red. The domain must be resolving to our name servers or your Reseller name servers for the module to work. If you’ve recently changed your name servers you should give it a full 24 hours to propagate to the entire Internet.
- .htaccess File Must Be Writeable – In order for Let’s Encrypt to validate your website it must be able to write to your .htaccess file in your /public_html/ directory. If you have customized one, you may need to temporarily re-name it to .htaccess1 until the certificate has generated.
If these above two conditions have been met, the free and automatic SSL certificate will generate within 24 hours, most of the time within an hour or two.
How To Verify Your Free SSL Certificate
There are two way to check and see if your website has a free SSL certificate:
Check inside of cPanel:
One of the easiest ways is to login to the website’s cPanel click on SSL/TLS -> Generate, view, upload, or delete SSL certificates.
If the Issuer doesn’t say Let’s Encrypt, then that means the website isn’t using an auto-ssl generated certificate. If it says self signed you may wish to click the Delete link so the auto-installer will replace it.
If the above two conditions have been met, Let’s Encrypt should generate.
Check inside of Web Host Manager:
If you have a Reseller Hosting or VPS Hosting package with us, you can easily check the certificates in Web Host Manager -> Manage SSL Hosts:
As with the option in cPanel, you want to make sure the Issuer says Let’s Encrypt. If it says “Self Signed” or is expired, you may wish to click the Delete link so it’ll be replaced.
How To Force Run The Auto Installer (New For 2018)
Since some people immediately need an SSL certificate before the auto-installer runs, cPanel has been nice enough to add the feature where you can manually run it from inside of cPanel:
As stated in the video, you simply login to cPanel -> SSL/TLS Status -> Select domain (s) -> Click Run Auto SSL
This may take a few minutes to run, but you can always use another browser window and follow the above steps to make sure it has generated.
We’re proud to be part of creating a safer Internet for everyone here at Name Hero and are super excited about offering these to all our customers including our Resellers. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to let us know!
Ryan Gray is the founder and CEO of NameHero, one of the fastest growing independent web hosts in the United States. Ryan has been working online since 1998 and has over two-decades experience in Internet Entrepreneurship.