It's easy to issue an SSL Certificate to protect you when you interact with your website, email* and domains.
* Assumes you configure your email account settings to use SSL on your devices.
The task is made easy by means of the AutoSSL module included with the popular cPanel Hosting Control Panel as configured by most hosting service providers.
If you have not already done so you may wish to first learn more about the benefits of using SSL by visiting the following link.
How to issue an SSL Certificate
Follow the steps below to issue a Let's Encrypt SSL Certificate using the AutoSSL module included with cPanel Hosting Control Panel.
Scroll down until you see the Security panel shown in the image below.
Ignore the Let's Encrypt SSL button - this module should be removed by your hosting provider following its end of life in February 2024.
Also ignore the button labelled SSL/TLS unless you are an advanced user.
Check the checkbox against each domain and sub-domain you want to issue the SSL certificate for is selected.
The first checkbox will select all listed domains and sub-domains.
Next click the Run AutoSSL button.
Note: the red circle with line across next to the domain name (in the above image) indicates that the SSL certificate has not yet been issued.
Nothing to do but wait.
When done a pop-up message will appear informing you that the screen will refresh in 5 seconds.
The image below shows the screen after it auto-refreshes.
Note: the green padlock in a green circle next to the domain name (in the above image) indicates that the SSL certificate has been issued and is protecting users who interact with your website, email and domains.
As does the message on the right which states 'AutoSSL Domain Validated'.
Green circles = job done.
Periodically check the SSL certificate is working
The SSL certificate should auto-renew at the expiry date.
Just in case auto-renew fails, periodically check the SSL certificate is still protecting traffic to your website.
Issues to consider before issuing an SSL Certificate
When an SSL Certificate is issued then your website's URL will change from HTTP to HTTPS.
You will also notice a padlock icon in the browser address bar.
The change of URL means you will need to make some changes to your website's Joomla! CMS after issuing an SSL Certificate.
And maybe some changes to the settings of 3rd party extensions used by your website.
If you are using Search Engine and Social Media Accounts in conjunction with your website, then these accounts' settings will most likely also need adjusting.
Your website's performance in search engines will otherwise be adversely impacted by changing your website's URL from HTTP to HTTPS.
Website visitors who use an old devices and/or operating system may not be able to visit your website after issuing an SSL Certificate - see Target Audience section below.
Website visitors who are using an old devices and/or operating system may not be able to visit your website after you add a Lets Encrypt SSL Certificate.
Reason: some older operating systems do not recognise the Lets Encrypt SSL Certificate.
These older operating systems include Apple devices using MacOS X Operating System v10.12.1 and earlier.
Note: v10.12.1 was replaced by v10.12.2 several years ago (2016).
If the majority of your website's users are unable to update their device and/or operating system then you may wish to defer adding a Lets Encrypt SSL Certificate to your website.
You could instead add a different SSL Certificate, one which the older devices and/or operating systems recognise.
Or recommend that website visitors replace their device and/or operating system.
Reason: it is not safe to connect to the internet using devices and operating systems which are no longer supported by developers.
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