I receive questions on this topic quite frequently and wanted to take a moment to share a little more details for those interested.
All Charlottezweb hosting accounts include a FREE SSL certificate acquired by cPanel.
What does this mean?
When a new hosting account is created, cPanel (our hosting control panel) attempts to acquire a free SSL certificate and install it automatically. If you setup additional domain names on your hosting account for parked or addon domains, it also attempts to acquire free SSL certs for them as well.
These certificates are valid for 90 days and the system will automatically attempt to replace/renew them before expiration.
What do I need to do to use the certificate?
The short answer is that typically you will need to configure your website to use https: (secured) instead of http: (unsecured) in your code so that visitors to your site land on the SSL-protected https: version. In most modern scripts (like WordPress), it’s a simple matter of just using https: in the setup of the site. Feel free to contact us if you need assistance.
If your hosting comes with free SSL certs, why do you also sell them?
Great question. 🙂 The free certificates are perfect for a majority of customer sites but there are scenarios (mostly business-related) where a commercial (“Paid”) certificate may be a better fit. I explain some of this in a little more detail on our SSL Certificates page if you’re interested.
As always, feel free to contact us if you have questions specific to your sites.
When I go to https://www.mysite.com, I get a certificate error. It doesn’t look like I have a valid certificate.
The most common reasons I see why cPanel isn’t able to install (or renew) a free SSL certificate is due to either disk space or external hosting:
1. The way that cPanel acquires a certificate is to setup a temporary validation file on your hosting account. When it reaches out to the certificate provider, the provider then accesses that file to prove that the site is valid. If your account quota has run out of disk space, cPanel can’t create the temporary validation file so the process fails. The first place I check when a cert fails is whether the customer has free disk space available.
2. Another scenario occurs when customers use Charlottezweb hosting for email, for example, but point their domain to another service provider for the actual site itself. Examples of this are when customers use Shopify, Square, etc. for the system that runs their site but have the domain name pointed to their Charlottezweb hosting account. In this case, the other service provider is who is loading your website and they would be responsible for setting up an SSL certificate on their platform. A certificate on your Charlottezweb account isn’t being used in this case and if cPanel tries to order one, the process fails because it can’t connect to the temporary validation file since your web traffic is pointed to the other service provider.