SSL virtual hosting how to add HTTPS to your domain

SSL virtual hosting: how to add HTTPS to your domain

Network security is a non-negotiable element of your website. This is the only principle to ensure the data security of you and your customers. But security also makes your business look professional and trustworthy.

When users visit insecure websites, Google Chrome will make it clear to them. The address bar will display "Insecure" before the domain name, telling users that their information is easily stolen.

However, when a website values ​​its security by using HTTPS and installing an SSL certificate, Chrome will display a padlock to indicate that the website has a secure connection.

HTTPS is the backbone of a secure Internet experience. It shows your customers that you are committed to security and that you care about their data and keep it confidential.

An unsafe website looks terrible to customers, and it can hurt your search engine optimization (SEO) ranking in relevant searches.

Want to know how to add HTTPS to your domain?

The good news is:

This is a simple process.

Some hosting providers, such as Bluehost, provide free SSL certificates for dedicated IP addresses. In this way, you can easily use HTTPS to protect each custom domain and subdomain.

Once you understand how to add HTTPS to your domain, you can protect your information from hackers and increase customer trust in your business.

Read on to understand:

  • What is HTTPS and SSL
  • Why you need to use HTTPS
  • Set up HTTPS
  • Install an SSL certificate from a third party
  • Best SEO practices for HTTPS

The process of using HTTPS and SSL

Before you learn how to add HTTPS to your domain, you need to understand the basics. Simply put, HTTPS and SSL are your website’s security guarantees. They help protect your connection, so the information between your browser and the web server is safe.

The difference between HTTP and HTTPS

HTTP at the beginning of a website address (URL) is often overlooked, but it is a basic element of the World Wide Web. HTTP or Hypertext Transfer Protocol is a protocol used to load web pages using hypertext links.

If you use HTTP, your information exchange will be done in plain text. If hackers want to eavesdrop on the conversation between your browser and the server, they can easily steal sensitive information, including names, addresses, and credit card numbers.

Secure HTTP (HTTPS) adds a layer of encryption to this information. In this way, the hacker can still monitor the conversation between the browser and the server, but the information is not readable because the hacker does not have the key to understand the information.

To create this secure connection, you need to install an SSL certificate.

What is SSL and TLS

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, which is an authentication protocol that encrypts information between a client and a server.

The browser sends a request to the server and first checks the SSL certificate verification. If the certificate is valid, the browser will use the public key from the website to encrypt the data it needs to send.

When the data is returned to the server, it uses the public key and its own private key to decrypt it. After the data exchange, the two locations can communicate securely.

In 1999, TLS (Transport Layer Security) came out as a new protocol with better security for use with SSL. These two are often collectively referred to as SSL/TLS.

Although it sounds complicated, this process is essentially a secure exchange of information via the Internet.

Why you need to use HTTPS

HTTPS is essential for any e-commerce website. Customers want to know that if they check out on your website, their information will remain private.

If you run a blog or other website that doesn’t sell any products, you might think that you don’t need to learn how to add HTTPS to your domain. But every website can benefit from using HTTPS.

Websites that display "unsafe" in the address bar have attracted the attention of customers. They will not feel safe on your website, and you will look unprofessional. Even if you do not exchange any data, customers may feel insecure and avoid your website.

Not only security, the lack of HTTPS can also harm your SEO efforts. Google considers HTTPS in its ranking process. Therefore, it is in your best interest to use the HTTPS protocol to allow search engines to rank your website.

How to Add HTTPS to Your Domain

  • Log into your web hosting plan 
  • Choose your SSL certificate 
  • Activate and install your SSL certificate 
  • Redirect users to your HTTPS domain

Bluehost can easily add HTTPS to your domain name. When you log in to the Bluehost dashboard, click My Site, and then select the management site for the website where you want to install the SSL certificate.

Under the "Security" tab, you will see the option to install a free SSL certificate.

After activating it, it may take several hours for the certificate to update your site to use HTTPS.

After the update, you must redirect the old HTTP website to the new HTTPS website. You can use 301 redirects to do this, or you can add SSL to WordPress using a really simple SSL plugin that helps you convert HTTP to HTTPS and redirect all links correctly.

Bluehost uses AutoSSL as its certificate system. AutoSSL uses Let’s Encrypt to generate a new certificate for each website, and automatically generates it for each new account and account that has WordPress installed.

After you figure out how to add HTTPS to your domain, verify that your website is working and using the HTTPS protocol correctly.

You can also go to your control panel to manage your SSL/TLS status. If you encounter any problems, please contact Bluehost support to help you troubleshoot.

Use a third-party provider to install an SSL certificate

Once you understand how to add HTTPS to your website, you may realize that you need to install an SSL certificate with higher security or different specific features. In this case, you can use a third-party provider with a TLS/SSL manager to add SSL to your website.

Consider whether you need to purchase an SSL certificate from an authority that better suits your needs, such as SSL.com.

You can also upgrade your certificate through the Bluehost Marketplace.

Update your SSL certificate
Just like your domain name, you need to renew your SSL certificate. Most certificates are valid for one year.

If you have installed an SSL certificate from a third party, please update your certificate. Even losing a secure connection for a day will damage your SEO and customer trust.

With AutoSSL, Bluehost keeps your certificate up-to-date, so you don't need to manually update your certificate.

SEO best practices for using HTTPS and SSL virtual hosting

Google has been calling for the Internet to become a safer place, and one way to do this is HTTPS. Some websites saw their rankings increase exponentially after switching to it.

After setting up an HTTPS website, verify the HTTPS website in Google Search Console.

You should also update your XML sitemap so that search engines can index your site more directly and correctly.

In addition, know that when you make a major update to your website, the rankings will take time to update. Therefore, please be patient and wait for search engines to re-crawl your site.

Adding HTTPS to your website is a standard security practice. Customers want to know that when they visit your website, they can safely conduct business. Displaying "insecure" next to the site name in the address bar may damage your credibility.

With the help of HTTPS and SSL certificates, the information between the browser and the server is encrypted and protected from malicious attacks. This is the simple process of setting up an HTTPS website.

Bluehost provides a free SSL certificate and easy setup on your Bluehost dashboard. Go to your cPanel, if you want more security, you can monitor its features and upgrade to the paid SSL version.

Now that you know how to add HTTPS to your domain, you can continue to work on protecting the security of customer information and your own information.

Are you ready to create a new HTTPS domain? Check out Bluehost’s hosting packages today.