Setup A Free SSL Certificate For Your Website With Cloudflare

SSL Lock

There are numerous reasons why you should be using SSL on your website or blog. I won’t go through all them but a few reasons include:

  • Protecting user privacy
  • Improved SEO scores
  • Browsers will mark your website as secure
  • Gain customer/reader trust

These are just a few but there are several other reasons to be using encryption. Cloudflare provides a free shared SSL certificate which I just set up on all my websites and this WordPress blog you’re currently reading. I had already been using Cloudflare for caching but hadn’t turned on their Always use SSL option. I’m not sure why I wasn’t using it. I probably just overlooked it when I first set up Cloudflare.

If you don’t know about Cloudflare, here’s a quick snippet from Wikipedia.

Cloudflare, Inc. is a U.S. company that provides content delivery network services, DDoS mitigation, Internet security and distributed domain name server services, sitting between the visitor and the Cloudflare user’s hosting provider, acting as a reverse proxy for websites.

If you aren’t using Cloudflare already, I highly suggest you start. I’ve been using their free tier to speed up my websites with their global CDN. Setting it up is easy. Here’s a quick run through to get you started:

  1. Create a free Cloudfare account and add your website. You can choose a free or paid tier. Whichever suits your needs.
  2. Change your domain name servers to point to Cloudflare. Your hosting provider can help if you have trouble with this.
  3. Follow Cloudflare’s recommended settings.

Once you’re set up, login to Cloudflare and click on the Crypto link from your dashboard. Turn on Always use HTTPS and Automatic HTTPS Rewrites. Give it about 60 seconds and you’ll notice your website using SSL. That’s it! Cloudflare states it takes 10-15 minutes for your SSL to activate but that wasn’t my experience.

I had already been using Cloudflare so these changes were instant for me. If you’re just setting up Cloudflare for the first time then it might take a while for your website to propogate through their network. I’m not sure what affect this will have on your SSL. Let me know if you have a different experience then mine in the comments below.

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