Skip to main content

Playing around with SSL certs

Inspired by a blog post I was reading recently, I started having a play around with an SSL cert.

An SSL cert is what enables a website to encrypt the traffic to and from the end user. This improves security and trust, and I’ve read that it also improves your search rank in Google. The most notable difference to a web site visitor is that the URL of the site changes from http:// to https:// and a little padlock symbol is displayed next to the URL in the address bar.

Some SSL certs can be really expensive to buy. The ones from my own hosting provider range from €30 to €700 a year, depending on the type of cert you want. However by shopping around a bit on the web, I came across SSLs.com who sell certs from as low as $5 a year!

Buying the cert is the easy bit. Configuring it and installing it is a bit more tricky, and I couldn’t find any easy instructions online.

  • First of all you need to generate a CSR (Certificate Signing Request). When generated it looks like a really long string of random letters and numbers. Often you need to ask your web host to create the CSR for you, but I found this tool from SSL Store to generate mine. Make sure you keep the CSR and Private Key safe!
  • Back at SSLS.com you then need to activate your SSL cert – and you will be prompted to enter the CSR. Copy and paste the full value into the box provided. The SSL cert will then be generated and emailed to you in a ZIP file.
  • I installed the supplied SSL cert myself using my web host’s control panel. Make sure you install all the certs provided, together with the Private Key you supplied earlier. In the ZIP file you’ll find your domain cert and three CA certs. Install them all.

The cert should now work for your domain, and you should be able to view your site securely using https at the start of the domain.

For my WordPress site, I also installed the WP Force SSL plugin to automatically redirect non-secure traffic to the secure domain.

Anyway, so it all works, and my richardbloomfield.com site is now encrypted and secure!

Leave a comment

Web Hosting

I’ve spent the last week or so consolidating my web hosting accounts into one place, with my supplier of choice Hosting Ireland. As well as cutting down the administration overhead, it’s also going to save me some money.

I also didn’t realise, until I started the process, how many different domain names I own.  They were spread out over different domain registrars and hosting providers, and many of them are no longer in active use, but I like to keep hold of them – you know – just in case!  In total I have six domain names for my own personal use:

  • richardbloomfield.ie – My current blog, which has a rather snazzy Irish domain.
  • richardbloomfield.com – My so-called “professional” web site – not much on it.
  • bloomfield.me.uk – My old blog (now defunct), which forwards to my .com
  • layclerk.org – An old blog about cathedral music (now defunct), which also forwards to my .com
  • louiseandrichard.info – Our new wedding website – still under construction at the time of writing, but feel free to check it out!
  • bike.io – A new venture I’m trying out, to try and put together a cycling related information portal. Have tried writing a few articles, but the site doesn’t appear to be attracting any visitors.

Leave a comment

30 Days of Biking

I thought I would give 30 Days of Biking a go – a pledge to ride a bike every day for the 30 days of April, and share the adventures online.  This fulfils two goals I’ve had for a while now – to cycle more, because it’s so much fun – and to update this blog a little more frequently.  And so, although I may not update here every day – some updates will be on Facebook or Twitter – I’ll try to include some of my experiences on this blog.

Leave a comment