A digital certificate allows secure communication with your reader’s browser. The use of encryption will result in a little padlock showing in the browser, next to your blog domain name. Without the padlock, hackers can see any information you exchange, like passwords and credit card numbers.

In 2017 the Let’s Encrypt project was set up to provide the Internet community with base level digital certificates for free.

Search engine traffic is vital to your blog. So let’s create a digital certificate, in a couple of minutes, with no knowledge required on your part.

You may even already have a digital certificate if your hosting provider has generated one automatically for you.

There are several different types of certificates. Basic ones are free, more advanced you pay for, some are expensive. You should only need the basic one for your blog.

If you intend to sell things directly from your blog, you will need to research this more in the future (use these instructions for now).

NOTE: You cannot create an SSL certificate until your domain name is directing traffic to your hosting account. If your domain is not registered with your hosting provider, I provide instructions on how to do that here.

Checking digital certificate status

To check if you already have a digital certificate, within the SECURITY section in cPanel, find and select the following function:

SSL/TLS Status

If there are no digital certificates, either:

  1. You will need to create one yourself
  2. An automatic one has not been created yet
  3. Your hosting provider does not have a free option (unlikely)

Automatically generated digital certificate

If generated automatically, you will see something like the following:

SSL/TLS status screen

Manually generated digital certificate

If there are none and you follow the instruction below to create one using Let’s Encrypt, you will see the following if you come back later to check again:

Digital certificates

Create a digital certificate

In cPanel, within the SECURITY section, select the following function:

On the resulting Let’s Encrypt™ SSL screen in the bottom Issue a new certificate section, click the blue “+ Issue” link:

Selecting domain to issue a digital certificate

The resulting screen should look like the following:

Click the blue [Issue] button.

After a few moments, the top of the screen should show something like the following:

You have a digital certificate

You now have a digital certificate, it was that easy! Search engines will now not penalise your blog in rankings.

Next: We will set up an email account and use it while installing WordPress.

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