Let’s Encrypt is a trusted, open-source certificate authority that offers free SSL certificates for as many domains as you want.
Installing an SSL certificate with Let’s Encrypt is fast and automated, taking mere seconds to complete.
In this blog post, we will discuss the steps to install a Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate on your website.
Let’s Encrypt is a non-profit certificate authority (CA) that provides X.509 certificates for Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption at no charge.
Their goal is to make the entire web more secure by making it easier for everyone to enable HTTPS on their websites.
Here are some key things to know about Let’s Encrypt:
- They are a public benefit organization, which means they are not in it for the money. Their mission is to make the internet a safer place for everyone.
- They provide free TLS certificates, which are essential for enabling HTTPS on your website. HTTPS encrypts the communication between your website and your visitors, protecting their data from being intercepted by hackers.
- They are automated, which means that you can easily and quickly get a TLS certificate for your website without having to go through a lot of hassle.
- They are transparent, which means that they publish all of their certificates and logs publicly. This helps to ensure that they are operating in a trustworthy and accountable manner.
- They are open, which means that their software and protocols are open source. This allows anyone to inspect and improve their technology.
If you are looking for a way to make your website more secure,
Let’s Encrypt is a great option.
They make it easy and affordable to enable HTTPS, which can help to protect your visitors’ data.
How to Install Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate
Before you begin, ensure that you have the following:
- A domain name
- Access to your web server’s configuration files
- A Let’s Encrypt client installed on your server
Step 1: Generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR)
The first step is to generate a CSR for your domain. This will be used to request a certificate from Let’s Encrypt. You can use the Let’s Encrypt client to generate the CSR.
Step 2: Request a Certificate from Let’s Encrypt
Once you have generated the CSR, you can request a certificate from Let’s Encrypt. The Let’s Encrypt client will automatically validate your domain ownership and issue a certificate if the validation is successful.
Step 3: Install the Certificate on Your Web Server
After receiving the certificate, you need to install it on your web server. This process varies depending on the web server software you are using. For example, if you are using NGINX, you can follow the instructions provided by Let’s Encrypt.
Step 4: Configure Your Web Server
Once the certificate is installed, you need to configure your web server to use it. This involves updating the server’s configuration files to point to the new certificate. Again, the process varies depending on the web server software you are using.
Step 5: Test the Certificate
After configuring your web server, you should test the certificate to ensure that it is working correctly. You can do this by visiting your website’s secure URL (e.g.,
https://www.example.com) in a web browser. If the certificate is installed correctly, you should see a padlock icon in the address bar, indicating that the connection is secure.
Step 6: Set Up Automatic Renewal
Let’s Encrypt certificates are valid for 90 days, after which they need to be renewed. You can set up automatic renewal using the Let’s Encrypt client. This ensures that your certificate remains valid and up-to-date.
Step 7: Monitor Your Certificate
It is essential to monitor your certificate to ensure that it remains valid and up-to-date. You can do this using the Let’s Encrypt client or by setting up monitoring tools.
How to install Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate on Ubuntu
Here’s a guide on how to install a Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate on Ubuntu:
1. Update the System:
- Begin by ensuring your system is up-to-date:
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade
2. Install Certbot:
certbot, a tool to automate the certificate request and installation process:
sudo apt install certbot python3-certbot-apache
3. Allow HTTPS Through the Firewall:
- If using a firewall, allow HTTPS traffic (port 443):
sudo ufw allow https
4. Obtain the SSL Certificate:
- Request the certificate for your Apache virtual host:
sudo certbot --apache -d example.com -d www.example.com
example.comwith your actual domain name(s).
- Certbot will automatically obtain and configure the SSL certificate.
5. Verify Auto-Renewal:
- Certbot usually sets up automatic renewal. Confirm with:
sudo certbot renew --dry-run
6. Test Your SSL:
- Visit your website using HTTPS (e.g., https://example.com) to ensure it’s working correctly.
- Verify the secure connection in your browser (usually a padlock icon).
- Renew certificates every 90 days (Certbot handles this automatically).
- For other web servers like Nginx, use appropriate
- Find more guides and troubleshooting tips at https://certbot.eff.org/.
How to Install Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificate Using Cpanel
To install a Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate using cPanel, you can follow these general steps based on the search results:
- Log in to cPanel: Access your cPanel account.
- Navigate to Let’s Encrypt SSL: In the Security section of cPanel, click on Let’s Encrypt SSL.
- Issue the certificate: Select the domain for which you want to issue the SSL certificate and click on “Issue.”
- Complete the validation: Choose the validation method (e.g., http-01), and complete the issuance process.
The specific steps may vary slightly based on your cPanel provider, but the general process involves accessing the Let’s Encrypt SSL feature within cPanel and following the on-screen instructions.
If you encounter any errors during the installation, you can refer to the documentation or support resources provided by your cPanel hosting provider for troubleshooting.
For cPanel & WHM, the Let’s Encrypt plugin allows the AutoSSL feature to issue certificates from the Let’s Encrypt provider, and it is the default AutoSSL provider for new installations.
The process involves logging in to the server as the root user and running commands to install and configure the Let’s Encrypt plugin.
If you are using a different hosting provider, the specific steps may be slightly different, but the general concept of accessing the Let’s Encrypt SSL feature within cPanel should remain consistent.
How to install free SSL from Let’s Encrypt on shared hosting
Installing a free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate on shared hosting can enhance your website’s security and SEO, but the process can vary depending on your specific hosting provider and control panel.
Here’s a general guide with some common methods:
1. Check Your Hosting Provider’s Support:
- Many shared hosting providers offer built-in Let’s Encrypt integration within their control panels. Check their documentation or contact their support team to see if they offer this option.
2. Manual Installation via cPanel:
- If your host doesn’t offer built-in Let’s Encrypt, you can often install it manually through cPanel. Here’s a general outline:
- Access cPanel: Log in to your cPanel using your hosting provider’s credentials.
- Locate SSL/TLS: Look for a section called “SSL/TLS,” “Security,” or similar.
- Install Let’s Encrypt: You might find an option like “Let’s Encrypt SSL” or “Install SSL Certificate.”
- Choose Domain: Select the domain name you want to secure with the certificate.
- Validate Ownership: Choose the validation method, usually email or DNS verification. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the validation process.
- Install Certificate: Once validated, the certificate will be installed for your chosen domain.
3. Manual Installation with Certbot (Advanced):
- If you have SSH access to your shared hosting account, you can install Let’s Encrypt using the command-line tool Certbot. This method requires more technical knowledge but offers greater flexibility.
4. Alternative Tools:
- Some cPanel plugins like “CertSage” or “Install SSL for Free” can simplify the Let’s Encrypt installation process within cPanel.
- Let’s Encrypt certificates expire every 90 days, so set up automatic renewal within your control panel or Certbot.
- Ensure your website redirects all HTTP traffic to HTTPS for optimal security.
Common errors you might encounter when installing Lets Encrypt
Let’s Encrypt simplifies the process of securing your website with an SSL certificate, but even with its automation, hiccups can happen. Here are some common errors you might encounter and how to tackle them:
1. DNS Verification Errors:
- Cause: Incorrect DNS configuration or propagation delays for your domain’s CNAME or A records.
- Solution: Double-check your DNS settings and ensure they match Let’s Encrypt’s requirements. Wait for propagation, which can take up to 24 hours. Use
digor online tools to check record propagation.
2. Firewall Blocking:
- Cause: Your firewall might be blocking Let’s Encrypt’s validation requests on port 80.
- Solution: Temporarily open port 80 for the validation process or configure your firewall to allow access for Certbot (Let’s Encrypt’s client). Remember to re-secure your firewall after validation.
3. Rate Limit Reached:
- Cause: Making too many certificate requests in a short period.
- Solution: Wait for the rate limit to reset (usually 12 hours). Use the staging environment for testing to avoid hitting production limits.
4. Invalid Domain Name:
- Cause: Typo in your domain name during the certificate request process.
- Solution: Carefully re-enter your domain name and ensure it’s accurate.
5. Expired or Revoked Certificate:
- Cause: Failure to renew the certificate before it expires, or certificate revocation due to security issues.
- Solution: Renew the certificate immediately. If revoked, investigate the cause and address the security issue before obtaining a new certificate.
6. Web Server Configuration Issues:
- Cause: Incorrect configuration of your web server (Apache, Nginx, etc.) to use the Let’s Encrypt certificate.
- Solution: Consult your web server documentation or the specific Let’s Encrypt plugin instructions for proper configuration steps.
7. Mixed Content Errors:
- Cause: Some resources on your website, like images or scripts, are still using HTTP instead of HTTPS.
- Solution: Identify and update all resources to use HTTPS URLs consistently.
- Consult Let’s Encrypt’s documentation or community forums for detailed troubleshooting steps.
- Error messages often provide clues to the issue. Analyze them carefully.
- Consider seeking help from experienced users or web hosting support if needed.
I mean, if you are aware of these common errors and understand the solutions, you can navigate the Let’s Encrypt installation process smoothly and secure your website effectively.
Installing a Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate on your website is a straightforward process that can be completed in just a few steps. By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure that your website is secure and protected by a trusted SSL certificate.
Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful:
- Let’s Encrypt website: https://letsencrypt.org/
- How Let’s Encrypt works: https://letsencrypt.org/how-it-works/
- Getting started with Let’s Encrypt: https://letsencrypt.org/