How to Install Free SSL From Let’s Encrypt on Shared Hosting
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How to Install Free SSL From Let’s Encrypt on Shared Hosting

If you own a website, you need an SSL certificate. Fortunately, you can get one for free. Here, we will uncover how to install Let’s Encrypt on shared hosting to improve your site’s security and credibility.

Update: 

Tutorial Status: Deprecated

Hostinger offers free SSL with Business plan. It’s worth to check this offer if you are serious about the protection of your website and don’t want to deal with tricky SSL installation, setup and renewal.

Table of Contents:

Reasons to Install SSL Certificate

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a web protocol for securing data transfer and communication. The protocol encrypts all information requested from the server and vice-versa, thus preventing third-parties from accessing it.

Here are the main benefits of enabling SSL protocol on your website:

  • Improves website security — SSL encrypts sensitive information. It ensures secure data transfer and connection.
  • Increases credibility — enabling SSL protocol shows your commitment to protecting visitor data, securing online payments, and complying with GDPR.
  • Improves SEO ranking — popular search engines like Google prioritize HTTPS-enabled sites in their Search Engine Result Pages (SERP).

To enable SSL on your website, you need to obtain an SSL certificate from a certificate authority (CA) first. Most hosting providers like Hostinger offer great SSL deals that are not only affordable but also easy to install.

Not to worry — if you’re on a tight budget, there are several non-profit certificate authorities like Let’s Encrypt that distribute SSL certificates for free.

However, please note that free SSL certificates generated by Let’s Encrypt are only valid for 90 days. Therefore, you need to renew it periodically to maintain their benefits.

How to Install Let’s Encrypt on Shared Hosting Using SSL For Free

In this tutorial, we will show you how to install a free SSL certificate on a shared Hostinger account using hPanel. If you’re running on cPanel, you can refer to this article instead.

Here are the steps to install Let’s Encrypt on shared hosting using SSL For Free:

  1. On SSL For Free homepage, enter your website’s URL and click Create Free SSL Certificate.
    This image shows you how SSL For Free banner and a call to action button to create a free SSL certificate.
  2. Select Manual Verification, then press on the Manually Verify Domain button that appears at the bottom.
  3. Scroll down and find the Upload Verification Files. Download the verification files, File #1 and File #2, listed on number one to your local storage. Do not close the page.
    This image shows you how to obtain the verification files from SSL For Free. This step is part of the tutorial on how to install Let's Encrypt on shared hosting.
  4. Access File Manager from your hPanel dashboard, then go to your root directory. In most cases, it’s public_html.
  5. Create a new folder named .well-known, and another one called acme-challenge inside the newly created folder. Upload both verification files to the acme-challenge folder.
    This image shows you where to upload the verification files in your root directory.
  6. Navigate back to the SSL For Free Upload Verification Files page and click on both verification links listed on number five. If the verification process is successful, random alphanumeric characters should appear on your screen both times. If not, recheck the files’ paths to ensure you have placed them in the correct location.
  7. Click Download SSL Certificate to generate three sets of keys — certificate, private key, and CA bundle. Write them down as you will need them in the next step.
  8. Moving back to your hosting account, access the SSL menu under the Advanced section. Paste the keys you have obtained to the appointed boxes, then click Install.
  9. If the installation process is successful, the SSL details should appear in the List of Installed SSL section.
    This image shows you the list of SSL certificates you have successfully installed on your hosting account.

Conclusion

The SSL protocol has gradually become a mandatory security protocol for all websites. If you don’t have a budget to purchase an SSL certificate, not to worry. You can install Let’s Encrypt free SSL certificate and still get all the SSL’s benefits.

Do you find this article useful? Drop us a comment below!

The Author

Author

Domantas G. / @domantas

Domantas leads the content and SEO teams forward with fresh ideas and out of the box approaches. Armed with extensive SEO and marketing knowledge, he aims to spread the word of Hostinger to every corner of the world. During his free time, Domantas likes to hone his web development skills and travel to exotic places.

Related tutorials

Author

Eyzi Reply

April 13, 2017

Thank you for this awesome guide. It was very helpful. I was just wondering if there’s a way to create a certificate for subdomains of my website as well, or do I have to create a separate certificate for each?

    Author

    domantas

    Replied on April 13, 2017

    I am glad this tutorial helped you. If you want to use let’s encrypt on subdomains, you will have to install a different certificate for each subdomain. This means that you will have to repeat installation process for each subdomain.

      Author

      froberto

      Replied on September 13, 2017

      Can you help me? What is the command to use with subdomain? Thank you

        Author

        Andre

        Replied on March 28, 2019

        I guess it will be the same, just change the 'domain.com' to 'sub.domain.com'

Author

Emily Reply

April 13, 2017

Thanks for free ssl!

    Author

    malik

    Replied on April 13, 2017

    bonjour tout le monde! quelqu’un peut-il m’aider pour installé SSL Gratuitement

Author

hackerrahul Reply

April 13, 2017

I have installed ssl on my primary domain which is hackerrahul.com but when i installed it on my subdomain blog.hackerrahul.com , the tiny lock in the url bar is not coming and when i click over there it is saying that connection is not private. please tell me whats is that. thanks

    Author

    domantas

    Replied on April 13, 2017

    Have you tried to clear you browser cache? I just checked and blog.hackerrahul.com displays a green pad lock for me which means connection is encrypted on your blog subdomain.

Author

Will Procter Reply

April 13, 2017

Brilliant Guide! Thank you so much for this, it took a couple of goes, and it may need updating as I got a couple of errors, but it worked fine overall. Any ideas on creating an automated version, maybe with a cron trigger? I say this as letsencrypt only lasts 90 days, and they advise to configure scripting to do this for you?

    Author

    domantas

    Replied on April 13, 2017

    We are glad it helped. You can use cron job to renew Let’s Encrypt SSL every 90 days. For example: php acme-client/bin/acme issue --domains yourdomain.com:www.yourdomain.com --path /home/x123011738/public_html:/home/x123011738/public_html --server letsencrypt would renew the certificate automatically.

      Author

      Hampus Härling

      Replied on June 07, 2017

      When i run php acme-client/bin/acme issue –domains yourdomain.com:www.yourdomain.com –path /home/x123011738/public_html:/home/x123011738/public_html –server letsencrypt It says Could not open input file: acme-client/bin/acme

        Author

        Linas Jusys

        Replied on August 01, 2017

        Probably try giving absolute path to acme-client, or launch it from its bin directory. Then as well have you changed yourdomain.com:www.yourdomain.com to you personal domain accordingly? As well is this: /home/x123011738/public_html your website path? Use pwd command to check your absolute path.

Author

Audun Hilden Reply

April 13, 2017

Hey, this thing: Connect to your hosting account using SSH information from Step 1.3. In our example, it would be: ssh x123011738@31.170.164.22 -p 65002. I connect to that, just chaning my IP.: ssh x123011738@MYIP -p 65002. And it gives a password, but it says its wrong even though its not?

    Author

    domantas

    Replied on April 13, 2017

    Have you changed your username as well? First part (bolded) should be changed as well x123011738@31.170.164.22

      Author

      Mikhail Thomson

      Replied on April 26, 2017

      What should I specify in place of x123011738!?

        Author

        Linas Jusys

        Replied on August 01, 2017

        This should be your hostinger account user id. Use comment named: pwd to check your absolute path on linux.

Author

Zigurd Reply

April 13, 2017

Great topic! I have a question - is it possible to use free SSL for subdomains if I use CLOUDFLARE, my subdomain is added via A record? ssh shows me php issue 203 and notice: couldn’t resolve the following domains to an IPv4 nor IPv6 record…. anybody now how to fix it?

    Author

    domantas

    Replied on April 13, 2017

    Hey, It’s not possible to use Let’s Encrypt with CloudFlare because of server configuration. You get 203 and notice: couldn’t resolve the following domains to an IPv4 nor IPv6 record because domain name is not pointing directly to Hostinger’s IP address. Solution would be to turn off CloudFlare and point it directly, or use free SSL from CloudFlare: https://www.cloudflare.com/ssl/

Author

Nicolas Reply

April 13, 2017

Thank you for this useful guide. Works like a charm for me. Just a question, after renewing Let’s Encrypt SSL, is there a way to automate the installation of the new certificate on the web server? Thanks.

    Author

    domantas

    Replied on April 13, 2017

    Hey Nicolas, Unfortunately, it’s not yet possible to automate the installation process. However, in a few months Hostinger will completely automate free Let’s Encrypt SSL installation and renewal process :)

      Author

      raz

      Replied on June 28, 2019

      Hello the guide says it's now deprecated, is it true? no more let's encrypt certs?

        Author

        Domantas G.

        Replied on September 24, 2019

        Hey Raz, Yes, that's correct.

Author

1000io Reply

April 13, 2017

I have this problem (3) in the process of generating SSL certificate: Providing payload at http://www.xxxx.com/.well-known/acme-challenge/REfBSEEgrAEV8Tz3StJ44GU15UsrhCbAGsT6u9YvC9U Providing payload at http://xxxx.com/.well-known/acme-challenge/FiX5I3YY_p_wcKDyXyjI3dJRcV-AuFtEPSMBLn6z2Ok selfVerify failed, please check http://www.xxxx.com/.well-known/acme-challenge/REfBSEEgrAEV8Tz3StJ44GU15UsrhCbAGsT6u9YvC9U. selfVerify failed, please check http://xxxx.com/.well-known/acme-challenge/FiX5I3YY_p_wcKDyXyjI3dJRcV-AuFtEPSMBLn6z2Ok. Kelunik\Acme\AcmeException: Issuance failed, not all challenges could be solved. in /home/uxxx/acme-client/src/Commands/Issue.php:104 ¿Can anyone help me?

    Author

    Rabins Sharma Lamichhane

    Replied on April 13, 2017

    Seems like you already installed SSL certificate. Sometimes when you have installed for the main domain but not installed for sub-domains and now you like to install on other domains or the main domain again. In this case while verifying the payload it forces via https but it should be load via http to be verified. But when you try opening http it forces to http and it becomes impossible to verify. Solution: Delete the Certificate via Hostinger members area and try running the command again. And now after verification install the certificates via same member area.

Author

Sekander Badsha Reply

April 13, 2017

Thank you. I have just installed SSL on my personal blog. My blog has a shared hosting from Name Cheap

Author

Gabriel Reply

April 13, 2017

Thank you very much, it helped me a lot, now my domain is https://myweb.com . The problem now is when I try to test my web throug gtmetrix, it gives me this error: “Analysis Error The SSL certificate for this site is not trusted in all web browsers You may have an incorrectly installed SSL certificate. Check your SSL certificate at SSLShopper” Following the link it says: “The certificate is not trusted in all web browsers. You may need to install an Intermediate/chain certificate to link it to a trusted root certificate. “ How could we solve this problem? Thank you very much!

    Author

    Albert

    Replied on April 13, 2017

    Same problem here! did you find out what to do?

      Author

      Lucas Bustamante

      Replied on November 13, 2017

      Same here!

        Author

        Lucas

        Replied on September 16, 2019

        Same problem. Any solution ?

Author

Gerardo Castro Reply

April 13, 2017

Great tutorial, everything work fine! Thanks!

Author

msd Reply

April 13, 2017

Very Good! Thanks.

Author

Max Reply

April 13, 2017

Thank you for this really good guide.

Author

Jimmy Ahyari Reply

April 13, 2017

Thanks for awesome detail tutorial to install lets encrypt on shared hosting. Suppperrrb (y)

Author

Muhamad Reply

April 25, 2017

hy, thanks for the good post, i followed the step but i'm failed in step 3, in the comand php bin/acme issue..., please advice how i fix that, thanks before

    Author

    Domantas G.

    Replied on April 26, 2017

    Hey, Do you get any errors? If so, please provide exact error message here.

Author

Cameron Reply

May 08, 2017

I made a script that will automate this for you, mostly . . . Still trying to figure out the automation of the cpanel parts with their API https://gist.github.com/abstracted/58e80ba8633a72d5abe03147717879a6

Author

Tony Cervantes Reply

May 14, 2017

Hello! I have an issue with SSL, I've programmed a CronJob in my hostinger panel, but the certificate didn't renew automatically, so now my site is an insecure site. I've tried as well to delete the certs but I couldn't. I don't know what to do now because I can't install a new certificate in my site. I need your help or if hostinger have spanish support to install SSL and renew them or delete. I hope I've been explained. Greetings!

Author

Jack Reply

June 16, 2017

Hi After completion of the SSL following your instructions here, all seemed fine. However, once I viewed my site via the secured https protocol, all contents were blocked. Kindly advise what needs to be done. Do I need to remove the site and re-FTP the entire site? Thanks.

    Author

    Domantas G.

    Replied on June 16, 2017

    Hey, Most likely assets (images, css, etc) are still loaded via http instead of https on your site. If you are on WordPress, see this tutorial on how to properly move from http to https.

      Author

      Juan Reyes

      Replied on June 19, 2017

      Hi, it's a great tutotrial. But does it work for a free account? Can a free account user change from http to https?

        Author

        Domantas G.

        Replied on June 20, 2017

        Hello, Unfortunately, it will not work on a free account. However, we offer free SSL with out of the box install for our paid clients. Find out more https://www.hostinger.com/free-ssl-certificate

Author

Luis Reply

June 29, 2017

Dear, I am Hostinger Brazil client, I are I followed every step. However, my fullchain.pem is always generating two certificates. And the key.pem file is only generating a private key. I try to put one of the two certificates with the unique private key, in the install part of the SSL certificate panel. But it is always generating error in any of the generated keys. My domain ends in xyz.

Author

ron michel Reply

July 08, 2017

does one turn off ssh after? also has anyone done this soley on an android. i shall attempt it, but think it is not able to be completed on android. alas monday will come tjen i can do it on windows. ps great guide, it has an easy to follow flow.

Author

Riyad Reply

July 12, 2017

What will happen if make a symlink?? ln -s /home/x123011738/acme-client/data/certs/acme-v01.api.letsencrypt.org.directory/yourdomain.com/cert.pem /home/x123011738/ssl/certs/ssl.crt remove the original file and make a symlink with letsencrypt. will it work??

    Author

    Domantas G.

    Replied on July 16, 2017

    Hey, You cannot create symlinks on shared hosting, unfortunately.

    Author

    Linas Jusys

    Replied on August 01, 2017

    Use cronjob to `cp -rf` updated certificate each time you renew it. Using acme-client.

Author

Fabiano Sarmento Reply

July 21, 2017

I installed the SLL certificate on my site and everything went well however when I access the link using HTTPS all web browsers issue an alert that the site is not secure. What can be done about it?

    Author

    Domantas G.

    Replied on July 28, 2017

    Hello, Most likely some of your resources are still loaded via http, you need to update all image, css, js links to https

Author

Paul Reply

August 03, 2017

I looked at some Youtube videos for other hosts. They had Let's Encrypt as a simple click option. Hostinger has many strengths - but I think you are behind on this one given SSL is so important you should make it easier to install.

    Author

    Domantas G.

    Replied on August 05, 2017

    Hey, As per tutorial "Hostinger, now offers cheap SSL certificates for a lifetime. It's worth to check this offer, if you are serious about the protection of your website and don't want to deal with tricky SSL installation and setup. "

Author

Abhinav das Reply

October 11, 2017

This works fine on other providers also. Thanx for your guide

Author

Leo Reply

October 17, 2017

Thank you sir, this is very easy steps

Author

Zee Reply

November 02, 2017

Nice article, I followed this tuts. But the green padlock doesn't appeared

    Author

    Domantas G.

    Replied on November 10, 2017

    Hey Zee, Make sure ALL resources are loaded via https. You will not get green padlock if images and scripts are loaded via http instead of https.

Author

Stefan Reply

November 07, 2017

I purchased premium pack shared hosting + SSL lifetime, but my website does not show HTTPS. What can I do for activate it ?

Author

Javier Reply

January 07, 2018

THANK YOU! Works like a charm!

Author

Hennadii Reply

February 02, 2018

Tell me please what the minimum PHP version should be installed in order to use this code?

Author

hkc Reply

February 13, 2018

I try to renewd the certificate using this, "php acme-client/bin/acme issue --domains yourdomain.com:www.yourdomain.com --path /home/x123011738/public_html:/home/x123011738/public_html --server letsencrypt", it shows the new expiry date, but in browser the date is not changed. Do I need to copy the Private Key and CRT everytime after renewal?

Author

manish Reply

February 14, 2018

"The certificate is not trusted in all web browsers." how to fix this ?

    Author

    Gediminas B.

    Replied on February 15, 2018

    Do you still encounter this issue? I have visited your website and it loads properly via HTTPS using 3 different browsers (Safari, Chrome, Firefox). In case it happens on a different domain, I would recommend trying a different SSL installation method. You can do it using this free tool. Last but not least, you could try to purchase our lifetime SSL certificate. You can set it up in just a few clicks and it will be automatically renewed for as long as you use our hosting services! ;)

Author

Max Reply

February 20, 2018

CRON keept returning these: Next Kelunik\Acme\AcmeException: POST request to https://acme-v01.api.letsencrypt.org/acme/new-authz failed: Allowed transfer timeout exceeded: 15000 ms in /home/u436168250/acme-client/vendor/kelunik/acme/lib/AcmeClient.php:290 Any ideas how I could fix this?

    Author

    Domantas G.

    Replied on February 27, 2018

    Hey Max, Unfortunately, this tutorial is deprecated and we no longer support this method of installing let's encrypt.

Author

adamu musa Reply

April 17, 2018

This guide was little confusing but after reading and doing three times I succeeded in installing my SSL thanks

Author

Shahbaz Anshari Reply

November 19, 2018

Thanks for this great tutorial. I am searching for this for a long time, finally able to install the SSL on my website

Author

Federico Reply

December 17, 2018

Thank you very much! It's perfect

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