SSL Certificate – New or Renewal

Periodically we have to update or add a SSL certificate for customers. Depending upon your hosting plan you may be responsible for the installation and/or key generation.

We will concentrate on single domain certificates in this post but there are wildcard certificates available for companies that use lots of sub-domains.

It’s easier if your email is on the Admin Email contact  of the domain. My recommendation is to get this done 1st or you will be waiting on emails to someone else at various stages of the process. Here’s GoDaddy’s guide for updating domain contact information.

Buying SSL Certificate or Renewal

If you need a new SSL you can find them on the Internet for as little as $5/year.  Be sure to check with your host to ensure the cheap SSLs can be installed on your host.

If your SSL is up for renewal you need to renew the SSL or go through the entire procedure for new SSL. It’s easier to renew.

Certificate Signing Request (CSR)

Once you have purchased a SSL or renewal you will need to generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) from your server or utilize an existing one if the server has not changed. Here’s a link to GoDaddy’s CSR generation & SSL Installation page. This request has to be approved by the domain Admin Email contact so this goes much faster if that’s you.

Download & Install the SSL Certificate

Once your CSR is approved you will be able to download the SSL certificate. If you have access to the server you may install yourself. Otherwise you will need to send the certificate to the host & let them install.

Here’s GoDaddy’s SSL installation procedure for Plesk as an example. Your installation procedure will depend on the server and your access. Likewise the hosting plan (managed or unmanaged) will determine the amount of assistance you will receive.

Managed Hosting

In managed hosting you get a lot of help in these matters. They may do the installation for you or  guide you through the process.

Unmanaged Hosting

Unmanaged hosting is the cheapest but it typically means you are on your own when installing certificates or troubleshooting. If you have a virtual private server (VPS) or physical server then you have the ability to install certificates via a control panel or SSH. For this sort of hosting you can purchase certificates wherever you like and install yourself. Most of these hosts offer little support but you may find videos that apply to your specific needs.  There will be instructions that come with the certificate but you will need to know what sort of control panel you use and/or your web server software.

If you don’t have access to the server certificates then it’s up to your host to install them and they may require you to buy directly from them.  This may seem expensive but you won’t have to do much of the work.

Control Panels

Two common control panels are cPanel & Parallels Plesk Panel.

Web Servers

Most web servers run use a version  of Linux and use apache as the web server. These servers support PHP, Perl, Python,  CGI scripting and  MySQL database.  Typically these hosts use a cPanel control panel.

Windows Servers  use  Windows Server Operating systems and IIS. Windows Web Servers support  ASP &  ASP.NET. typically the servers run Plesk control panels.

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