How to Add an SSL/TLS Certificate to Your DreamHost Site
In this article, we’ll cover the basics of secure certificates. We’ll also walk you through the steps to follow if you want to add a free Let’s Encrypt certificate to your DreamHost website. Let’s jump right in!
What You Should Know About Secure Certificates
Website security is an essential aspect of conducting any kind of business or data exchange online. If you want to tighten up your site’s security, the first step is to make sure its information is transmitted over the secure HTTPS protocol, rather than the older HTTP protocol.
This can be accomplished by adding an SSL/TLS certificate to your website. That way, your visitors can be assured that any information they submit through your site is protected. Plus, Google prioritizes sites that use HTTPS, and even warns users that they might not be safe.
If you’re planning on accepting payments through your website, you’ll want to investigate all of your SSL/TLS options. Fortunately, here at DreamHost, we provide easy ways to safeguard your site, including a free certificate from Let’s Encrypt.
How to Add a Let’s Encrypt SSL/TLS Certificate to Your DreamHost Domain (In 4 Steps)
If you already have a website hosted on DreamHost, setting up a secure certificate is simple. Let’s walk through the process in just four steps.
Step 1: Check Your DNS Settings
The first thing to do is to check your Domain Name Server (DNS) settings. You can do this by visiting your DreamHost Panel. Navigate to Manage Domains, and locate the domain you are interested in securing.
Then, click on DNS below the domain name.
You’ll want to inspect the “non-editable DreamHost DNS records,” and make sure that your nameservers are pointed to DreamHost. If they aren’t, you’ll find that the Let’s Encrypt option is unavailable.
In this case, you’ll need to make some adjustments. If your nameservers are not pointing to DreamHost, you’ll need to either point them or change your domain’s “A” records to point to your domain’s IP address. This allows us to perform the domain validation process on your behalf, signaling to Let's Encrypt that you are, in fact, the person in control of the domain.
Step 2: Navigate to the SSL/TLS Settings in Your Hosting Panel
Once you’ve made sure that your nameservers are correctly coordinated, you can move on to the SSL/TLS settings in your user panel. You’ll find this by navigating to Domains > SSL/TLS Certificates in your user panel.
Here you will see a list of all the domains you have hosted with DreamHost.
Step 3: Add a Certificate to the Domain of Your Choice
To add a certificate to the domain of your choice, select Add next to the domain’s name.
Now you’ll have the option to add the free Let’s Encrypt certificate or the paid-for Sectigo DV Certificate for business sites. For now, choose Select this Certificate for the Let’s Encrypt option. If all goes well, you’ll receive a “success” message, and will be able to view the certificate in your user panel.
Note: If you run into any issues while your certificate is being set up, you can try renaming your .htaccess file to temporarily disable it, as this file can cause issues during installation. Once your certificate is installed, you can rename the file back to .htaccess. Find more details in our knowledge base.
Step 4: Test Your SSL/TLS Certificate
Testing your freshly-installed secure certificate is easy. Just visit your website’s main URL in a browser and look for the “lock” icon and “https” in the address.
If your certificate doesn’t appear to be working, you can revisit your user panel for more information, or contact DreamHost support for assistance.
Building trust with your website’s users is pretty crucial, especially if you offer eCommerce options. Making sure you have a secure certificate registered on your domain is one significant way you can ensure that data is transferred securely between browsers and your website.
To install a free Let’s Encrypt certificate on your domain, just remember these four steps:
- Check your DNS settings.
- Navigate to the SSL/TLS settings in your hosting panel.
- Add a certificate to your domain.
- Test your SSL/TLS certificate.
Here at DreamHost, we want you and your website’s users to feel confident about data and financial transactions. We also want you to be able to focus on building a customer base or website following. That’s why we offer secure certificates free with all of our hosting plans!