Security should be a major priority and concern for all hosting resellers. Keeping your client information safe is paramount to your success as a reseller. An SSL Certificate is an easy way to increase security while also proving to website visitors that you are a reliable, reputable web host that is worthy of their business. In this post, we will outline how to obtain and install an SSL Certificate using cPanel.
What are SSL Certificates?
SSL, or Secure Socket Layer, Certificates are a way to encrypt data as it passes between your server and your client’s screen. SSL Certificates encrypt data so that others can’t easily spy on the data being served. You will notice SSL Certificate present on websites that display a green padlock in the address bar, as well as in URLs that begin with https://.
Why are SSL Certificates important?
As your data travels between two connections, it is easily viewable by anyone who wishes to eavesdrop on your connection. SSL Certificates encrypt data so that your connections are completely private and almost impossible to interpret. Encryption is vitally important when considering that you handle and process sensitive information like payment and identification details.
SSL encryption uses algorithmic hashes between a host’s private identity (or private key) and a corresponding identity presented publicly to connecting users (or the certificate). You will need to follow the steps below to create processes to encrypt your data.
Step 1. Create a private key.
Step 2. Create the Certificate Signing Request (CSR) from the private key.
Step 3. Send the CSR to a reputable certificate authority.
Step 4. Install and configure the certificate proved from the authority.
For the purposes of this article, we will display steps for accounts that are managed within cPanel. If you use a control panel other than cPanel, please see our knowledgebase for articles designed for your control panel.
Locating your SSL Certificate
Once you have purchased your SSL Certificate, your first step towards installation is to log into your control panel with your username and password. Once you are in your control panel dashboard, navigate to the Order Information view.
In the search bar, enter the domain you would like to add an SSL Certificate to, select Order from the dropdown menu and click Search.
From the Order Information view, click View certificate details. You should be taken to a screen that displays your SSL Certificate information. Next, you will head to cPanel to install your SSL Certificate. Note that you will need the SSL Certificate bundle to complete your next task. If you do not have a bundle, we will cover generating a private key and CSR in the sections below.
Generating a private key
Log into your cPanel account with your username and password. Click the icon titled SSL/TLS Manager.
You can generate a private key by clicking the link Generate, view, upload, or delete your private keys. If you have existing keys in your cPanel account you will see them listed under Keys on Server. If you do not have a pre-existing key, select Key Size (up to 2048 bits) and click Generate. You will need to save the Key in a safe place. Note that Private Keys cannot be retrieved if lost. Click on the Return to SSL Manager link at the bottom of your screen to return to the previous page.
Generate a CSR
Once you have generated a key, you will need to generate CSR by clicking the link Generate, view, upload, or delete SSL certificate signing requests. Note that if you can see existing CSRs for the domain, you will need to delete them.
You will then need to complete the form under Generate a New Certificate Signing Request (CSR). Under Key, select the private key that you created in the previous step and click Generate. You should now see a long string of code. This box is called the Encoded Certificate Signing Request. Copy the entire contents of the box and save them in a document.
Click the Generate, view, upload or delete SSL certificates from within your cPanel dashboard to install your SSL Certificate. Click Upload a New Certificate and select Choose File to locate the file on your computer. You may need to repeat this step if you have multiple certificates to install.
You will then select the document you created when you saved your CSR. Click Upload Certificate. Wait a moment for the certificate to upload, then click Return to SSL Manager to activate your certificate.
Activate SSL Certificate
Your last step is to activate your SSL Certificate. Click Setup an SSL certificate to work with your site and select the certificate you would like to install from the Domain dropdown menu. Click the option called Autofill by Domain to retrieve the necessary information. Finally, click Install Certificate. You have now successfully added your SSL Certificate to your domain.
Note that if you would like additional assistance in this task, you can also see these steps from within the cPanel knowledgebase.