When you purchase web hosting with NameHero, you get a free SSL certificate via Let’s Encrypt. We’ve had this for quite a while – long before Google indicated that it will tie rankings to HTTPS sites. From a security and encryption point of view, these Let’s Encrypt certs are every bit as secure are any paid solution, regardless of whether they call it “industrial grade” or whatever.
But a free certificate like Let’s Encrypt only ensures that your connection is secure. It doesn’t verify your business name, doesn’t ensure that you are who you say you are, and whether or not you actually own the business your website represents. For that, you have paid services that issue certificates. These are called “Extended Validation” or EV certificates. Businesses sometimes use them to further reassure their customers that they’re legit.
In order to start the verification process, you need to generate something known as a Certificate Signing Request or CSR for short. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to generate a CSR with NameHero using cPanel, so you can send it to your certificate agency.
Step 1: Open the SSL Tab in cPanel for your Account
Go to your NameHero account and open cPanel. The key here is the ensure that you’re using the cPanel account for the domain that you want to verify as shown here:
If you have multiple domains on a single hosting plan, make sure that you’re in the right section. Otherwise the future steps won’t work when you try and type in the domain name for the CSR!
Once inside cPanel, search either using the browser, or via the search box on top for “SSL”. Then click the “SSL/TLS” icon under security as shown here:
This will bring up the set of management tools for SSL.
Fill in the Data for the CSR
In the following screen, click the option for generating the CSR:
Now you’ll be asked to fill in the relevant details. The boxes are self-explanatory. Use the drop down box to create a new 2,048 bit CSR instead of choosing an existing one. This option should be selected by default, so you don’t need to change anything.
Domain Name Includes “www” if Necessary
Because of the way security certificates work, it’s important that you include the “www” if that’s how you want visitors to access your site. For example, these two are different:
In addition, this is where you’ll see if you selected the right account in cPanel. If you went into the wrong one, you’ll get a notice saying that you don’t own this domain and you won’t be able to generate a CSR.
Fill in the rest of the fields as expected.
Choose an Easy Passphrase
At the end, you’ll be asked for a passphrase. It’s important to remember that this is not a password. It’s not supposed to be hard to remember. And more importantly, it’s going to be stored in plaintext! That means you absolutely must not use any password that you’ve generated before for any other site. The idea is to simply use it as a sort of verification tool if necessary, so that the receiving agent can confirm who you are.
Once you’re done, click the “Generate” button to create your CSR.
Using the CSR
Once you’re on the next page, you can access your CSR as shown here:
This is basically just one long key. You can either copy and paste it into an e-mail to the certificate agency, or you can paste it into Notepad and create a text file, or even a PDF. There’s no sacred format in which this needs t to be sent, so it doesn’t matter.
Keep the CSR Active
If you go back to the previous page, you’ll see that the CSR has been stored in the database like this:
It’s best to keep this as is, without deleting it. You might want to renew a certificate later on, and you can use the same CSR to send to the certification agency.
And that’s it. Generating a CSR on NameHero from within cPanel shouldn’t take you more than just a few seconds!
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!