It is said that after you install an SSL certificate on your web server, you should always run an SSL check to verify that everything is set up correctly.
But what is the purpose of an SSL certificate?
SSL certificate is a digital certificate that provides authentication for a website and enables an encrypted connection. It enables websites to move from HTTP to HTTPS making your website more secure.
HTTPS is an encryption method that secures the connection between the user’s browser and your server that makes it harder for hackers to hack the website.
Every internet user shares their personal information with different websites whether doing a purchase or a simple log in. To protect the data transfer, a secure connection needs to be created.
This is when SSL / HTTPS comes into the picture. Thus, obtaining an SSL certificate is a prerequisite for the HTTPS moving process.
If you don’t have these set up properly on your website, users get a content warning in their browsers, for example, “Your connection is not private” error message which will, in turn, drive them away.
When readers and customers see this notice, it gives them a bad impression of your business.
Also, there are chances that you may or may not see this warning if your certificate is set up incorrectly. Hence, it is very important to perform an SSL check and verify the SSL certificate on your website to detect insecure content.
In this article, we will explain a simple step-by-step guide on how to verify your SSL certificate after installation.
So, let’s begin!!!
1. How to verify SSL certificate using Google Chrome Browser
Verifying your website SSL certificate in major browsers like Google Chrome is easy. If the website is marked by a Lock symbol, it means that the SSL certificate is valid.
This padlock symbol indicates that the website is secure because of SSL encryption. SSL encryption acts as a visual indicator for the client to believe in
the authenticity of the website and share their information on it. The result is increased client trust.
Research also shows that SSL-enabled websites rank slightly higher in google search results.
To check the validity of your certificate, you need to click on Certificate. A popup window will appear at the website’s address bar on the browser window which will show its validity.
2. How to verify SSL certificate using WordPress plugin
If your SSL certificate is not updated, the warning that the users receive about the site’s safety may cause you to lose the customers. For example, if someone visits an HTTP website using the incognito window, it will be marked as Not Secure.
Besides, around 50,000 sites get hacked easily every day mainly due to insecure HTTP protocol in the URL.
Renewing your SSL certificate and domain URL is easy to forget, but your valuable client can lose trust in your website and business if you let it expire. Hence, it is important to ensure that the website is safe as possible for your benefit and visitors.
There is a WordPress plugin named SSL Domain Checker that verifies the site SSL certificate and domain expiry dates and alerts the site admin via email before the SSL certificate or domain expires.
If the plugin is installed on a local host or IP address, it checks and alerts you for your domain expiry, so you will not end up with your site down or tend to lose your website URL.
SSL Domain Checker plugin is easy to install and runs automatically. It checks your SSL and domain for expiry every 24 hours and sends you alerts to keep you well informed.
3. How to verify SSL certificate using SSL check tool from Qualys SSL Labs
It is also recommended to use the free SSL check tool from Qualys SSL Labs as an additional method to verify the SSL certificate as it is very reliable and a 3rd Party Tool.
Go to the SSL Check tool, insert your domain into the Hostname field and then click on Submit.
You can also check the box Do not show the results on the boards to hide public results if you prefer. It will take a minute or two to scan your site’s SSL configuration on your web server.
Passing SSL check with an A Grade
SSL Labs will give you an SSL server rating, from anywhere between A to F. But the actual aim for passing the SSL check should be with an A Grade. It means your SSL certificate is set up correctly and your WordPress host has the rest of your web server up to current specifications.
Also, here you can check out the further explanation on warnings and errors and on how to fix them and reach out to the WordPress host for help as well.
There is one most common warning received by the user when performing an SSL check termed as “Certificate chain incomplete”. During the installation process of an SSL certificate on your website, you also need to add your certificate key, private key, and chain.
You will encounter this error when you add your primary certificate as follows: “This server’s certificate chain is incomplete. Grade capped to B”. It will report as having a chain issue.
To fix this issue, you also need to add your intermediate certificate as well. If you don’t have or know your intermediate certificate, you can use the free tool What’s My Chain Cert? by SSL Mate to generate it.
If it still appears, you can also contact your SSL certificate provider.
This site tests if your server is serving the correct certificate chain, tells you what chain you should be serving, and helps you configure your server to serve it.
If you have subdomains, you will need a wildcard certificate. You can also use a single certificate for a domain and its subdomains.
If you are using a different web hosting provider you can create a support ticket and provide them with your intermediate certificate. Then, you can clear the browser cache on your SSL Labs tool and re-run to ensure that the grade goes from B to A.
In this highly competitive market, customer data like IDs, email addresses, contact details, the password is like a diamond for the organization. Hence, an organization cannot compromise in terms of customer data security.
As of October 17, 2018, Google released Chrome 70, and with it, they have increased their security warnings for sites that are not fully HTTPS secure as search engines prefer secure websites.
Having an SSL certificate will protect customer data and also save you from harsh content warnings from google. It also helps with the SEO benefits of the website on Google and other modern browsers.
Thankfully, all of the best WordPress hosting companies are now offering free SSL certificates with their hosting plans.
As we are now aware of the benefits of SSL, let’s secure our WordPress website. It will help the owner and the business in gaining more traffic and revenue.
Related: 10 Best SSL testing methods