Many competent web hosting services will provide you an SSL Certificate for free with a hosting subscription. Bluehost SSL Certificates are free with a hosting subscription, plus options to upgrade.
When launching your website, acquiring an SSL Certificate is critical. Not only does it protect your site from hackers, but an SSL Certificate also makes your site more credible and search engine optimized.
In this blog, we’ll talk about how an SSL Certificate works and the process for getting your SSL setup on your Bluehost website. If you haven’t already done so, feel free to check out our full Bluehost review here.
What is an SSL Certificate?
This webpage you see in your browser is information sent from a web hosting server. Whenever a server sends out information, it is most secure when an encryption tool scrambles and then re-assembles that information on the other end.
Digital encryption is a necessary cybersecurity measure. For websites, SSL Certificates both provide that encryption and verify the domain’s identity.
All websites equipped with an SSL Certificate display “HTTPS” before the domain name. In contrast, non-SSL sites only display “HTTP” before the domain.
What is an SSL Certificate’s impact on SEO?
A critical concern for any search engine is that a user might arrive on an unverified website through a search engine recommendation. Some sites lacking an SSL Certificate are spam or otherwise questionable.
When a search engine can positively identify a website through its SSL Certificate, it will favor that website over those that do not have an SSL Certificate.
Is a free SSL Certificate enough?
For blogs and static sites, all you need is a free SSL Certificate. These are known as DV SSL Certificates. To establish your DV SSL Certificate, all you need to do is verify that you own your domain.
However, if your site is an eCommerce site or stores sensitive information for the business and customers, you will need either an OV or EV SSL Certificate. These Certificates are not free.
Most web hosting companies at least offer DV and EV SSL Certificates, and costs vary by provider.
Installing an SSL Certificate through Bluehost
If you’re a Bluehost customer, the SSL Certificate setup process depends upon whether or not you have a WordPress site.
The first step – regardless of whether or not yours is a WordPress site – is to log in to your Bluehost account and find your SSL Certificate product page. Your free SSL Certificate will display as “AutoSSL.”
Set “Install SSL on” to the domain you want to have the SSL Certificate attached. Then select “Enable AutoSSL.”
For non-WordPress customers, the SSL Certificate should be active. That said, if your site existed first as an HTTP address, you would need to set up a redirect to your HTTPS domain. You can either seek assistance from customer service or follow Bluehost’s tutorial here.
For WordPress users, after enabling your SSL, return to the “My Sites” section of your cPanel and turn on your free SSL Certificate (your SSL Certificate may already be on, but you should still check to make sure).
Bluehost SSL Certificate upgrades
If your website is more than a simple blog or static site, then you may need to upgrade to one of the following SSL Certificates available from Bluehost.
Bluehost Comodo SSL Certificate ($6.67/month)
The Comodo package is Bluehost’s base EV SSL Certificate subscription.
Bluehost Positive Wildcard SSL Certificate ($12.42/month)
If you want to provide EV SSL certification for your primary domain and your sub-domains, you should upgrade to a Bluehost Wildcard subscription.
Bluehost Comodo Wildcard SSL Certificate ($24.92/month)
In addition to offering EV SSL certifications to domains and subdomains, a Comodo Wildcard SSL subscription encrypts auxiliary subdomains like secure.domain.com and mail.domain.com.
The free Bluehost SSL Certificate is a notable bonus with the purchase of a hosting plan. That said, if your site stores sensitive information or is an online store, your site will be more secure with one of Bluehost’s EV SSL Certificates.