If you are looking to make your website connection secure using https, then you will need SSL Certificate. SSL (Secure Socket Layer) Certificate can be obtained by two ways one by Self Signed SSL Certificate and second buying SSL Certificate from trusted SSL certificate provider also called Certificate Authority (CA).
Buying SSL Certificate can cost you from $8 per year and goes up to $2000 or more per year depending upon provide to provider and authentication method. On the other hand, self signed SSL certificate is free you don’t need to pay anything but self signed SSL certificate don’t contain any trust seal and visitors to you site may get warning my Web browser that SSL certificate don’t contain any trust seal.
What is SSL?
Before going further, here is a small description of SSL or Secure Socket Layer. SSL is a protocol which is used to send information over the internet by encrypting them so if someone stole information in the middle then this information is of no use because it will take years to decrypt that information. If SSL is enabled on the website then information send from user’s web browser or information received from website server travels thru encrypted format. SSL enabled site can be accessed by typing URL with https rather than http and padlock icon is showed in the web browser address bar. In https, “s” represent secure. Website with advance certification will show a green bar with a padlock icon on the browser address bar.
When you need SSL Certificate
If you are running a website which needs sensitive information, like credit card or bank details etc then you don’t want someone stole that information in the middle of the connection. SSL encrypts that information and create a secure connection between user’s browser and website server. SSL enabled website give confidence to visitors of your website that information they are giving on your website will reach securely. Buyer or visitors trust is most important for any website.
Signed Certificate vs. Self Signed SSL Certificate
Whatever form of certificate you use self signed or buying a certificate from trusted provider, (Certificate Authority) your SSL connection is secure in both options. Your site connection will be secured, and data will be encrypted whatever certificate you use.
The problem with self signed SSL certificate is that most of the web browsers will warn visitors that this SSL connection is Untrusted, and visitor may go away from your website. If visitors bypass that warning, and goes to that website they will find a red padlock icon and a crossed line on https. (Like in Google Chrome and other browsers)
All web browsers checks for SSL certificate, and if it is by trusted provider then it will open website without any warning and put a green padlock icon on the address bar. A green padlock icon makes user feel more secure for sending information to that website.
When you need Self Signed SSL Certificate
If you are running a shopping site, or site which accepts sensitive information then never use self signed SSL certificate. If you want to use SSL for personal testing purpose or person access then, you can use self signed SSL certificate.
You can change self signed SSL certificate to signed certificate (Certificate Authority) in the future if you plan to run your site for commercial purpose.
How to install SSL?
SSL Certificate contains two keys, public and private key. To implement SSL both these key works together to create encrypted connection. The public key is used for encryption data and with private key data is decrypted.
To install SSL, you need to generate SSL certificate, which can be created by buying certificate or by generating self signed SSL certificate. SSL can be implemented on a domain with dedicate IP only.
The SSL certificate contains information of Website, Address of the website owner etc.
After generating SSL certificate, you need to install it on your server or on your domain. Here, I will tell you how to create a self signed SSL certificate and install the certificate on your domain using WHM and cPanel.
How to create Self Signed SSL Certificate in WHM/cPanel
1. Login to WHM Panel
2. Go to SSL / TLS Section and click Generate a SSL Certificate & Signing Request
3. Fill the form with required information like domain name, email address etc.
4. After filling form click Create button
5. After clicking create button it will generate Certificate Request and Key, if you have chosen to send this key by email, you will receive this keys by email too.
6. Login to domains cPanel
7. Under Security section in cPanel open SSL/TLS Manager
8. Under Activate SSL on Your Web Site (HTTPS) click Setup a SSL certificate to work with your site.
9. Choose your domain name and it will automatically fetch all keys and click Install Certificate at the end.
10. Now your domain is ready to work with SSL or https.
Please note you need dedicated IP for the domain on which you want to implement SSL.
I found this is one of the easy methods of installing self signed SSL certificate on website. Please share your experience and knowledge on implementing SSL.