How to use Really Simple SSL plugin in WordPress

Posted on March 1st, 2021

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. In simple words, SSL encrypts the data transfer happening between your computer and the web server. You have to secure your website with SSL certificate. It is because Google is now prioritizing the websites with SSL over the websites without SSL. It matters because the SSL certificate might determine if you will rank or not. Fortunately, You can issue SSL certificates for Free from authorities like Let’s Encrypt.

What is an SSL certificate?

An SSL certificate is a combination of three or two files depending on your web server. However, there are 3 different keys in a typical SSL certificate. One of them is the actual SSL certificate. You can identify the certificate file with “.crt” extension. Then there is a key file with “.key” extensions; it is your private key file. And the last one is called Chain file(CA Bundle) that you either have to append with the certificate or have it in a different “.crt” file.

Let’s understand the function of each file that creates the SSL certificate.

  1. Certificate File (.crt): This file contains the actual SSL certificate for your website. You can see the information of any SSL certificate in the web browser or the SSL decoder.
  2. Private Key (.key): This file should and will never leave your web server. Using this key, your server can decode the incoming encrypted data. If you lose this file, You will have to re-generate the SSL certificate with new private key.
  3. Chain File (CA Bundle): You can either append CA bundle with Certificate file or install it separately. CA bundle is kind of a proof that your website is secured by “XYZ” authority. Different authorities provide SSL certificates with different levels of security.

If you are using WordPress with InterServer web hosting, You don’t have to worry about all these files and configuration. We provide SSL certificate in-built with the web hosting plan. In this case, You just have to do one thing. It is to improve the overall security of your website at the WordPress level.

For that, WordPress repository has an awesome plugin. It is called Really simple SSL. In this guide, I will explain you how to use this plugin to secure your WordPress website.

How to install Really Simple SSL?

Step 1: Log in to your WordPress Account Dashboard with your Username and Password.

Step 2: Now, click on the Plugins tab that is available on left sidebar section. See the following image for reference.

WordPress Dashboard

Step 3: Now, click on Add New Button or sub-option to install a new plugin on your WordPress.

You can find the Add new button beside the title of the page. You can find a tab on the Sidebar as the below image.

Install a new plugin

Step 4: Now click on the search box that is available on the right side of the page. This search box will help you to search the plugin in WordPress as you can see in the below image.

Install Really Simple SSL

Step 5: Now click on the search bar and type Simple SSL in the textbox.

Step 6: After that, you will see the search result list just below of the Search box. Find the lock con with name as “Really Simple SSL” as you can see in the below image.

Protect website with SSL Certificate

Step 7: Now you can see the “Install Now” button on every plugin. Click on the Install now button that you can find on the plugin we want to install.

Install Really Simple SSL

Step 8: The process of installation will take some time. After that, the install button will change into Activate button. Click on the activate button to start using the plugin.

Activate Really simple SSL plugin

Now the Really Simple SSL plugin is ready to use. You will find “Settings -> SSL” option in the left sidebar of the admin panel. Click on that option to access your SSL settings. The dashboard of the plugin should look like the following image.

Really Simple SSL - Dashboard

So, That’s all for installation. Now, Let’s understand all the features this plugin provides us to protect our website with SSL.

How to use the Simple SSL plugin in WordPress

Step 1: Log in to your WordPress account dashboard with your Username and Password.

Step 2: Now click on the “Settings” option from the left sidebar. Or, you can directly click on “Settings -> SSL”.

How to use Really Simple SSL - Step 1 and 2

Step 3: After you click on the “Settings” tab, it will expand and show you few more sub-options. You have to click to the last option with label “SSL” as you can see in the following image.

How to use Really Simple SSL - Step 3

Step 4: the SSL’s Dashboard will open on your screen. Youll find some different sections on this page like Your Progress, Settings, Tips & Tricks and Support Forums.

Now see the first section called as your progress as you can see in the below image.

SSL protection progress bar

Step 5: Now, click on the Remaining Tasks to complete your tasks on the Simple SSL Plugin as you can see in the below image.

Remaining tasks in Really Simple SSL

Step 6: After clicking on the Remaining tasks, the task will show on Your Process Box Section. You can click on the list item to complete these tasks for the next step as you can see in the below image.

These tasks indicate the important changes you can make to improve the security of your website.

SSL process box section

Step 7: Just beside the process box section you will find the Settings section. You will see some toggle buttons with their labels, use the toggle button to ‘ON’ and ‘OFF’ the settings related to the plugin. 

Read the instructions carefully and do the changes as per your requirement. Here is some brief information some important toggle buttons.

  • Mixed Content Filter: When your website uses “http” protocol to access some resource from other server, the lock in the URL bar won’t be green. If you enable this option, your website will only use https protocol to access resource from other servers.
  • Enable WordPress 301 redirect: If you enable this option, your WordPress website will automatically redirect all URLs from http to https protocol.
  • Enable 301 .htaccess redirect: .htaccess is a an additional configuration file for Apache web server. Enabling this option will modify the .htaccess file of your website. It will add a few lines of code that is responsible for redirecting from http to https.

SSL settings in WordPress

Step 8: After changing the options according to your requirement, click on the “Save” button to save the configuration.

Save SSL settings in WordPress

So, that’s all you have to do at the WordPress level to improve the overall security of your website. Really Simple SSL is a wonderful and elegant plugin that simply works.

If you want to futher learn more about SSL and advanced settings, You can read content and documentation from the box given on the top-right side of the dashboard. See the following image for reference.

Advanced SSL settings in WordPress

You can also access the support forum and download the system status directly from the dashboard. You can use the support forum for discussions related to plugin and the SSL.

So, that’s all for Really Simple SSL plugin in WordPress. It is a really light-weight and simple plugin that helps you futher protect your website. You have to harden the use of SSL certificate with redirects at site level. And that’s what this plugin helps us do. We hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you have questions, please let us know in the comment section or contact our awesome support staff for help!

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