How can you get a free SSL certificate?

Photo by Todd Ehlers

Communication between your browser and a webserver is insecure unless the URL uses “https://”. That indicates the data is encrypted. But, in addition, the hierarchy of trust is supposed to ensure the owner of the website is the party doing the encrypting. There was a recent news article where that trust was comprosmised. So there are no guarantees. And it doesn’t do any of us any good when the thieves are the ones encrypting the communication.

But this encryption and trust model is what secures most online banking transactions. If you have a webserver, and want to use https, you will need the SSL certificate that includes you in the hierarchy of trust. I had thought this service always cost some money. But StartSSL is offering the most basic level of verification in an automated way and providing the SSL certificate for free.

To get your free certificate:

  1. Click Sign up
  2. Fill in all fields in the sign up form and click Continue
  3. Copy the authentication code that was just emailed to you
  4. Paste it into Complete Registration form and click Continue
  5. Choose your needed level of security and click Continue
  6. Approve the pop up trying to install a security certificate in your brower
  7. Click Install
  8. If prompted, allow the outside connection through your firewall from the certificate authority
  9. Follow these instructions for backing up your security key (4. How do I backup my client certificates?)
  10. Click Finish
  11. Go to the StartSSL Control Panel
  12. Click the link to Validations Wizard
  13. Choose Domain Name Validation ( you can also do email address validation, but this tutorial doesn’t cover that.)
  14. Enter the URL of your domain name to be validated
  15. Select an email from the list to continue validation
  16. Click Continue
  17. Copy the authentication code that was just emailed to you
  18. Paste it into Complete Validation form and click Continue
  19. Click Finish
  20. Now click the Certificate Wizard tab
  21. Choose Webserver SSL/TLS Certificate
  22. Click Continue
  23. Choose and enter a password and Keysize
  24. Copy your new SSL key to a safe place as directed
  25. Click Continue
  26. Choose your domain name from the list
  27. Click Continue
  28. You must choose a subdomain. I used www. Click Continue
  29. StartSSL is ready to process the certificate. Click Continue
  30. Copy your PEM encoded certificate to a safe place as directed
  31. Follow the installation instructions for your certificate!

Facebook comments:

Leave a Reply