How To Add SSL To WordPress For Free Using CPanel AutoSSL

Adding SSL to your WordPress site improves security and SEO. Learn how to add SSL to WordPress for FREE using cPanel AutoSSL in this step-by-step tutorial …

How To Add SSL To WordPress For Free Using CPanel AutoSSLKeeping your website or blog secure and protecting your data from hackers against digital theft, digital surveillance, and identity hijacking is important, especially if you plan to set up an e-commerce store or collect information from users or site visitors.

While security is one of the main reasons to migrate your WordPress site from http to https (we’ll explain what this means in a moment), you may also want to do this for SEO reasons.

In August 2014, Google announced that, as part of its bid to further protect users from cyber attacks, it would start treating HTTPS as a ranking signal and prioritizing secure HTTPS URLs over regular HTTP URLs.

In fact, studies conducted by leading search engine analysis companies like found that over 30% of all first-page Google results use HTTPS and predicted that this number will continue to grow as part of Google’s “HTTPS everywhere” initiative.

If you own a WordPress site and your website’s address starts with ‘http’ (e.g. ‘‘), then, it’s a good idea to consider switching your site’s URL from ‘http’ to ‘https’ sooner rather than later.

In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to do this.

How To Add SSL To WordPress For Free Using CPanel AutoSSL


As we provide tutorials for beginners and non-coders, this is not a technical tutorial. The section below provides a brief description of what is involved in changing your WordPress site from http to https and an easy step-by-step tutorial on how to configure your site for https using a free feature of cPanel hosting called AutoSSL.

For detailed technical information, please refer to the sources listed at the end of this tutorial, or contact a professional web service provider.

SSL – Basic Overview

What Is SSL?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology protocol for transmitting private documents via the internet. SSL establishes an encrypted link between a web server and a browser and this link then ensures that all data passed between the web server and web browsers remain private, secure and unmodified.

SSL is the backbone of our secure Internet and it protects your sensitive information as it travels across the world’s computer networks. SSL is essential for protecting your website, even if it doesn’t handle sensitive information like credit cards. It provides privacy, critical security and data integrity for both your websites and your users’ personal information.



The benefits of using SSL include:

  • SSL encrypts sensitive information – If sensitive information like credit card numbers, usernames and passwords is not encrypted using an SSL certificate, any computer that gets between the server sending the information and its intended recipient can see the information. SSL makes sensitive information becomes unreadable to hackers and identity thieves.
  • SSL provides authentication – An SSL certificate from a trusted SSL provider protects users from being ‘tricked’ by ensuring that they send personal information to the right server, not to computers pretending to be other websites. HTTPS also protects against phishing attacks.
  • SSL provides trust – Seeing the HTTPS icon (green padlock) helps to increase trust on your website and gives visitors confidence to buy or do business with you online.

The advantages of using SSL (protecting your business and your customers’ information, increasing trust, improve SEO ranking etc.) far outweigh any disadvantages like cost (see below to learn how get SSL for FREE) and performance (generally only noticeable on highly trafficked web sites which your webhost can help improve).

Once an SSL certificate has been correctly installed and configured on your server for your domain, the URL of your site displayed in visitors’ web browsers will switch from ‘’ to ‘’ with a green padlock icon next to it …

'https' sites display a green padlock next to the web address

(‘https’ sites display a green padlock next to the web address)

Note: Depending on the page content, sometimes you may see a padlock with a warning sign. Click on the padlock icon for more information on the site’s security status …

Click on the padlock symbol for site security information

(Click on the padlock symbol for site security information)

Adding SSL To WordPress

We recommend using a reliable web hosting provider and hosting your website(s) on servers with cPanel installed. If you are hosting on cPanel ask your webhost about AutoSSL.

cPanel AutoSSL

(cPanel AutoSSL)

What Is AutoSSL?

AutoSSL is the solution to one of the biggest pain points that exists for every cPanel & WHM user: SSL installation and renewal. With AutoSSL there are no more forms to fill out, and no more certificates to manually copy into place. Once you enable AutoSSL your websites are automatically secured with a Domain Validated SSL certificate. Perhaps more exciting is the fact that your coverage will never lapse, because at expiration time a new SSL is requested and automatically installed.


You can learn more about AutoSSL here or search online for “cpanel autossl”.

Important Info

Ask your host if your server supports cPanel AutoSSL and if so, confirm that you can have it enabled for your website for free. Depending on your hosting setup, you may need to purchase an SSL certificate.

Regardless of the SSL option you choose (i.e. cPanel AutoSSL or purchasing an SSL certificate), we recommend asking your hosting provider to install, set up and configure SSL on your server for your domain. Once this has been done, follow the steps below to make sure that everything works correctly on your WordPress site.


We strongly recommend performing a complete backup of your WordPress site (files and data) before modifying any files on your server.

You can learn more about a WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to automate WordPress file and database backups here:

Backup, Copy & Protect Your WordPress Web Site With Backup Creator Plugin For WordPress

After your hosting provider notifies you that SSL has been installed and configured on your domain, do the following:

Check that SSL is installed. You can do this by going here, then entering your domain name and clicking the ‘Check SSL’ button …

SSL Shopper - Check SSL Tool

(SSL Shopper – Check SSL Tool)

If SSL has been installed correctly on your domain, you will see confirmation indicators like the ones shown in the screenshot below …

SSL Installed

(SSL Installed)

You can also check if SSL is installed on your domain and perform a deep analysis of your SSL configuration by going to Qualy’s SSL Labs

Qualy's SSL Labs

(Qualy’s SSL Labs)

This provides you with an in-depth SSL report …

SSL Report

(SSL Report)

Once you have confirmed that SSL has been installed correctly on your server, log into your WordPress admin and go to General Settings.

In the ‘General Settings’ screen …

Replace the ‘http’ in your WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) fields …

Replace 'http' ...

(Replace ‘http’ …)

With ‘https’ and save to update your settings …

With 'https'

(With ‘https’)

This will log you out of your WordPress site. Log back into your admin area.

The next step is to install an SSL plugin that will scan and fix all code in your WordPress installation to make sure it is compatible with SSL and will not get blocked over SSL.

This includes code in your:

  • Theme files
  • Plugin files
  • WordPress database
  • Stylesheets, javascript libraries with http:// links, or resources (like images on http domains).

WordPress SSL Plugins

There are a number of free plugins you can use to make your newly upgraded ‘https’ site compatible with SSL. Here are just a couple (note: you only need to install one of the plugins shown below):

Really Simple SSL

Really Simple SSL WordPress Plugin

(Really Simple SSL WordPress Plugin)

Really Simple SSL automatically detects your settings and configures your website to run over https. With just one click, your entire site will move to SSL.

To install this plugin, go to Plugins > Add New

Plugins > Add New

(Plugins > Add New)

Search for ‘SSL’ in the Keyword field to bring up the plugin in the search results and click on Install Now

Really Simple SSL - Install Now

(Really Simple SSL – Install Now)

Click on Activate

Activate Really Simple SSL Plugin

(Activate Really Simple SSL Plugin)

You are almost done. To migrate your site to SSL, just click on the activation button …

Activate SSL

(Activate SSL)

After activating SSL, you may get logged out of your site and need to log in again.

The plugin works out of the box, so there is nothing to configure. The process of migrating your site over to SSL (https) is now complete.

Note: If you are running an e-commerce store, we recommend upgrading to the premium version of this plugin, for comprehensive SSL features. You can learn more about the plugin features here: Really Simple SSL

Below is another WordPress SSL plugin you can use …

SSL Insecure Content Fixer

SSL Insecure Content Fixer WordPress Plugin

(SSL Insecure Content Fixer WordPress Plugin)

SSL Insecure Content Fixer cleans up your WordPress website’s HTTPS insecure content and mixed content warnings.

To install this plugin, go to Plugins > Add New

Plugins > Add New

(Plugins > Add New)

Search for ‘SSL Insecure’ in the Keyword field to bring up the plugin in the search results and click on Install Now

SSL Insecure Content Fixer - Install Now

(SSL Insecure Content Fixer – Install Now)

Click on Activate

Activate SSL Insecure Content Fixer Plugin

(Activate SSL Insecure Content Fixer Plugin)

This plugin works out of the box. However, if you need to change the settings, go to Settings > SSL Insecure Content, or click on the Settings link in the ‘Plugins’ screen …

SSL Insecure Content - Plugin Settings

(SSL Insecure Content – Plugin Settings)

This brings you to the ‘SSL Insecure Content Fixer settings’ screen. Remember to save your settings if you make any changes …

SSL Insecure Content Fixer settings screen

(SSL Insecure Content Fixer settings screen)

For more details about this plugin, go here: SSL Insecure Content Fixer

Moving To HTTPS: Next Steps …

If you are moving a site with existing content to HTTPS, some of your content may be linking to the ‘http’ version of your domain. In this case, you can do a global search and replace to replace all instances of ‘’ with ‘’ …

Perform a global search and replace to change 'http' links to 'https'

(Perform a global search and replace to change ‘http’ links to ‘https’)

You should also change the default URL settings for your domain in your Google Analytics accounts …

Update your Google Analytics account

(Update your Google Analytics account)

Remember to also add an HTTPS property to your Google Webmaster account …

Update your properties in Google Search Console

(Update your properties in Google Search Console)

After completing the above, check your site to make sure that everything is working correctly. If you experience any problems, contact your webhosting provider for help.

Congratulations! Now you know how to add SSL to WordPress.

How To Add SSL To WordPress



"This is AMAZING! I had learnt about how to use WordPress previously, but this covers absolutely everything and more!! Incredible value! Thank you!" - Monique, Warrior Forum

Using cPanel To Manage Your WordPress Hosting

This tutorial provides an overview of the benefits of using cPanel to manage your WordPress web hosting.

Get Thrive Leads for WordPress

Overview Of cPanel For WordPress UsersThis tutorial is part of our WordPress installation and WordPress configuration tutorial series, where we show you how to install and configure a WordPress site or blog on your own domain with no coding skills required.

Whether you choose to host your website using a shared hosting account or to host on a dedicated server, you need some way to configure emails for your domain name, manage your server applications, and monitor your server’s resources. This is especially important if you lack the technical skills of a webmaster or IT manager.

This is where a web hosting application like cPanel can play a central role in helping you manage your web presence.

cPanel Overview For WordPress Users

cPanel is a powerful and simple-to-use web hosting management software application that gives website owners the ability to quickly and easily manage their servers and websites using a simple and intuitive dashboard.


Having access to a hosting environment that offers cPanel will make managing your WordPress site a whole lot easier. cPanel lets you easily take care of certain things yourself without hiring technical experts (like setting up emails for your business). If you host with a good company, you can also ask for support and assistance with most things.


cPanel typically comes with built-in get started help wizards and basic video tutorials on using cPanel that can be accessed directly from your web hosting account’s control area …


(cPanel Video Tutorials)

Providing comprehensive training on using all the features of cPanel to easily manage your WordPress site’s web hosting is beyond the scope of our tutorials. For comprehensive step-by-step training on using cPanel, we recommend downloading these how to use cPanel video tutorials.


Once you are logged into your cPanel area, you can access help documentation by clicking on the ‘Help’ icon …

cPanel Help

(cPanel Help)

Additional cPanel Help & Support

For additional support and tutorials on using cPanel and managing your server, contact your web hosting company’s technical support department. To access the official cPanel documentation for website owners, visit the site below:

Important Info

Note: Newer versions of cPanel may look different than the version shown in these tutorials.

Choosing A Web Hosting Company That Offers cPanel

Choosing a reliable web hosting company that offers the cPanel application will help you manage your WordPress site more easily …

Using cPanel To Manage Your WordPress Site

(cPanel login)

For companies that provide reliable web hosting with cPanel access and great technical support, see the tutorial below:

cPanel Feature Glossary

Refer to the list below if you need help understanding some of the more commonly used features of cPanel:

Change cPanel Style

This feature lets you change the overall look and feel of cPanel to suit your personal taste. cPanel typically comes with several pre-installed styles you can choose from …


(cPanel – Change Styles)

Email Accounts

This area lets you manage the email accounts associated with your domain(s) …


(cPanel Email Accounts)

To learn more about the ‘Email Accounts’ section, watch the video below and see this tutorial:


Webmail lets you check your email using a web browser (instead of a desktop mail application such as Outlook Express). This means that you can access your email online from any location using a web browser …

cPanel - Webmail

(cPanel webmail)

Note: If using webmail, make sure to log out after accessing your email on public computers to prevent other people reading your email.


SpamAssassin is an automated email filtering system that attempts to identify spam messages based on the content of the email’s headers and body …

cPanel - Spam Assassin

(cPanel Mail – SpamAssassin)

Email Forwarders

Forwarders let you to send a copy of all mail from one email address to another …

cPanel - Forwarders

(cPanel Mail Forwarding)

For example, if you have two different email accounts and, you can set up email forwarding so that all mail sent to is automatically forwarded to, saving you the time and hassle of having to check both accounts.

Alternatively, you can use email forwarding for different departments of your company. For example, you can set up email forwarding so that all mail sent to goes to the personal email address of a staff member or outsourced customer support person. This way, if the person leaves, you can easily change the destination forwarding email without making changes to your website.

Email Auto Responders

Autoresponders can be used to automatically send a message or reply back to anyone who emails a certain account. This feature is useful if you are on vacation or unavailable, if you have a generic message that you would like to send out to anyone who emails your support email address, or even for sending out download or access links to PDF reports, bonuses, videos, price lists, etc.

cPanel - Autoresponders

(cPanel Autoresponders)

To learn how to use autoresponders for email marketing, newsletters, and list-building, see the tutorial below:

MX Entry Maintenance

An MX (mail exchanger) entry tells a client which server receives mail sent to a domain name. You can use the MX Entry Maintenance function to change where a domain’s email is delivered to. This lets you have email from one domain delivered to another domain.

cPanel - MX Entry

(cPanel MXEntry)

Note: Changing your MX entry changes your site’s DNS record for MX.


Backups allow you to download (to your computer) a zipped copy of either your entire site (including your home directory, databases, email forwarders configuration, and email filters configuration) or one of the previously mentioned parts of your site …

cPanel - Backups

(cPanel Backups)

Note: These are not automatically scheduled backups. Automatically scheduled backups need to be enabled by the server owner/administrator.

To learn more about performing WordPress backups using cPanel, see the tutorial section below:

Disk Usage Viewer

The cPanel Disk Usage Viewer provides an overview of the disk space that your account is using. You can use the viewer to view all of the files in your site and find out how much space each file takes up. It shows disk usage totals for your account’s directories and all of its databases rather than for individual files or databases.

cPanel - Disk Space Usage

(cPanel Files – Disk Space Usage)

Note: Use the File Manager feature to see disk usage data for individual files, and the MySQL main page to see data for individual databases.

FTP Management

The FTP features of cPanel allow you to manage access to your web site’s files using FTP (File Transfer Protocol) …

cPanel - FTP Management

(cPanel FTP Management)

Note: You will need a third party FTP program to access your files.

To learn more about using FTP to transfer files to and from your computer and server, see the tutorial below:

Password Protect Directories

This option will allow you to require a username and password to access a folder or folders from the web. This can be very useful when you need to limit access to a certain part of your site …

cPanel - Password Protect Directories

(cPanel Security – Password Protect Directories)

To learn about protecting content inside posts and pages in WordPress, see the tutorial below:

IP Deny Manager

This feature will allow you to block a range of IP addresses to prevent them from accessing your site. You can also enter a fully qualified domain name, and the IP Deny Manager will attempt to resolve it to an IP address for you …

cPanel - IP Deny Manager

(cPanel Security – IP Deny Manager)

HotLink Protection

Hotlink protection prevents other websites from directly linking to files on your website. Other sites will still be able to link to any file type that you don’t specify (ie. HTML files) …

cPanel HotLink Protection

(cPanel Security – HotLink Protection)

An example of hotlinking would be using a <img> tag to display an image from your site from somewhere else on the net. The end result is that the other site is stealing your bandwidth.

Note: The system attempts to add all sites it knows you own to the list; however, you may need to add others.

Leech Protection

Leech Protect allows you to prevent your users from giving out or publicly posting their passwords to a restricted area of your site. This feature will redirect accounts which have been compromised to a URL of your choice (and suspend them, if you choose) …

cPanel - Leech Protect

(cPanel Security – Leech Protect)

To learn more about server security, see the tutorial below:

PHP Extensions and Applications Package Installer

PEAR packages are collections of functions that allow you to perform tasks in PHP …

cPanel - PHP PEAR Packages

(cPanel PHP PEAR Packages)

Note: You will need to install a PEAR package before you can use it inside a PHP program.

MySQL Management

MySQL manager allows you to create / drop databases, add / remove users …

cPanel - Databases

(cPanel Databases)

To learn more about MYSQL database management for WordPress, see the tutorial section below:


phpMyAdmin is a popular open-source program used to manage MySQL databases …

cPanel - phpMyAdmin

(cPanel Databases – phpMyAdmin)

To learn more about using phpMyAdmin with WordPress, see the tutorial below:

Image Manager

The Image Manager allows you to view and modify images in your account. You can change the size of your images, convert their file types, or just view them …

cPanel - Image Manager

(cPanel Image Manager)

Index Manager

The Index Manager allows you to customize the way a directory will be viewed on the web. You can select between a default style, no indexes, or two types of indexing …

cPanel - Index Manager

(cPanel Index Manager)

Note: If you do not want people to be able to see the files in your directory, choose “No Indexing” when using this feature.

Cron Jobs

Cron jobs allow you to automate certain commands or scripts on your site. You can set a command or script to run at a specific time every day, week, etc. For example, you could set a cron job to delete temporary files every week so that your disk space is not being used up by those files …

cPanel - CronJobs

(cPanel Cron jobs)

Network Tools

Network Tools allow a user to find out information about any domain, or to trace the route from the server your site is on to the computer you are accessing cPanel from.

  • The Domain Lookup tool allows you to find out the IP address of any domain, as well as DNS information about that domain. This can be a very useful tool right after your site is set up or after DNS changes have been made to make sure your DNS is setup properly.
  • Trace Route allows you to trace the route from the computer you are accessing cPanel from to the server your site is on (i.e. the number of servers and what servers your data must pass through to get to your site) …

cPanel - Network Tools

(cPanel Network Tools)

Hopefully, the above information has given you enough of an overview of cPanel. For detailed video tutorials on using cPanel features, go here.

Using cPanel To Manage Your WordPress Hosting

(Easily manage your WordPress hosting with cPanel)


"I am beyond impressed with what you have put together. I can tell that you put a ton of hard work into building what you have. You have the absolute best content on WordPress I have ever seen!" - Robert T. Jillie


How To Update WordPress Manually Using cPanel

Learn how to update your WordPress installation manually using cPanel.

How To Update Your WordPress Installation In The WordPress DashboardThis tutorial is part of our WordPress Management tutorial series. In this tutorial, you will learn how to update your WordPress installation manually using cPanel.


How To Update WordPress Manually Using cPanel

Some web hosting environments or configuration settings can create problems for the WordPress auto-update feature.

If you cannot use the WordPress Automatic Update feature, you can upgrade WordPress manually using cPanel.

How To Update WordPress Using cPanel – Step-By-Step Tutorial

WordPress automatically notifies you inside your dashboard when there is a new update available …

WordPress Update Available

(WordPress Update Available)

You can also check which version of WordPress you are currently using and what the latest version of WordPress is from your WordPress dashboard …

WordPress Update Required

(WordPress Update Required)

Downloading The Latest WordPress Version

Download the latest WordPress installation upgrade files. This can be done either by visiting and clicking on the “Download” tab …

Download The Latest WordPress Version From

(Download The Latest WordPress Version From

… or from within your WordPress administration dashboard by clicking on the ‘Update to X.X‘ button …

Auto upgrade button

… and choosing the download option …

Download WordPress Files

(Download WordPress Files For Manual Installation)


Always backup your WordPress site, including your database and files before updating WordPress. This way you will be able to restore your site if anything goes wrong!

Learn about a great WordPress backup plugin that we recommend using to automate backups here:

Useful Tip

Organization Tip: We recommend creating a folder for your WordPress downloads (e.g. wp updates), and a new folder inside that one for each new version you download (e.g. “WP 4.5.3”). This will help you stay organized in case you ever need to revert to a previous version of WordPress.

To learn more about creating an organized system for performing WordPress maintenance, see the tutorial below:

Save your downloaded WordPress zip file to your hard drive:

Updating WordPress

After the zip file containing the updated WordPress files has finished downloading, extract (unzip) the file …

Updating WordPress

Open the unzipped folder and delete the ‘wp-content’ folder inside …

Updating WordPress

Useful Info

Deleting the ‘wp-content’ folder ensures that your plugin or theme settings won’t be overwritten during the update process.

After deleting the “wp-content” folder from the file, compress (zip) the folder again …

Updating WordPress

The latest version of WordPress is now ready to be uploaded to your site.

Updating WordPress

Notes: In the above screenshot, you can see that there are two files called “wordpress” inside the latest version folder – one “zipped” file (i.e. compressed) and one “unzipped” file (uncompressed):

  1. Use the uncompressed file if uploading the contents of the folder using FTP
  2. Use the compressed (zipped) file if uploading the contents of the folder using cPanel

Uploading WordPress Files Manually Using cPanel

Note: If you don’t have access to cPanel, you will need to perform the upgrade installation using FTP. This process is explained in this tutorial.

After downloading and preparing your files for the upgrade installation, log into your cPanel administration area …

Updating WordPress

Select Files > File Manager

cPanel FileManager

Inside the ‘File Manager’ section, locate the directory in your server containing your existing WordPress installation and click on the ‘Upload’ link …

Updating WordPress

The ‘Upload files’ screen opens in a new window. Click on the Browse button (1), and locate the folder where you have downloaded and modified the WordPress upgrade file. Select the compressed upgrade installation file (2) and click Open to begin uploading the file (3) …

Updating WordPress

Your zip file will begin uploading into your server directory …

Updating WordPress

Once the file has been uploaded, close the ‘Upload files’ tab, then navigate to the ‘File Manager’ window …

Updating WordPress

Click on Reload to refresh the screen and display your newly uploaded upgrade installation file …

Updating WordPress

Locate and select the uploaded zip file (called “” in the example below), then click on the Extract menu button …

Updating WordPress

A pop-up box appears in your window. Leave the settings as they appear and click the Extract File(s) button to begin decompressing all of the contents in your zipped file …

Updating WordPress

Once your file contents have been fully extracted, close the Extraction Results pop-up window …

Updating WordPress

Locate the folder containing all of the extracted files (it will have the same name as the zipped file) and double click on the folder to open it …

Updating WordPress

Click on Select all to select all of the files inside the extracted folder …

Updating WordPress

Click on the Move File button …

Updating WordPress

The Move box displays on your screen. At the bottom of the window, you will see the current path where your extracted WordPress upgrade files are located …

Updating WordPress

If you have been following the instructions in this tutorial correctly, your files only need to be moved one level up from the folder into which they have been extracted.

To move all of your selected files one level up …

(1) delete the last folder name from the path string (in this example the folder is called “wordpress”) – if you delete this folder from the path, your files will be moved into the directory above – in this case, the root directory (i.e. “public_html”),

(2) Click on Move File(s)

Updating WordPress

After all the WordPress upgrade files have been moved one level up, your current folder is going to be empty. Click on Up One Level to return to the directory containing all of your WordPress installation files …

Updating WordPress

Moving the new version files into your WordPress installation directory will automatically replace the existing files in the old version.

To check that your upgrade has been successful, log into your WordPress admin area …

WordPress Login Screen


You may be greeted by a message informing you that a Database update is required. If this message pops up on your screen, click on the Update WordPress Database button to update your WordPress database …

Updating WordPress

You will be notified if the update is successful with another message window. Click on ‘Continue’ to proceed …

Updating WordPress

You will be taken to your WordPress dashboard …

Your Site's Current WordPress Version

(Your Site’s Current WordPress Version)

Your WordPress upgrade installation has been successfully completed.

Congratulations! Now you know how to update your WordPress installation manually using cPanel.

See Also …

Next Step:

Now that you know how to update and maintain your WordPress installation software, the next step is to learn how to update and manage your WordPress plugins.

To learn more about updating and managing your WordPress plugins, see the tutorial below:

How To Update Your WordPress Installation In The WordPress Dashboard

(Source: Shutterstock)


"I am beyond impressed with what you have put together. I can tell that you put a ton of hard work into building what you have. You have the absolute best content on WordPress I have ever seen!" - Robert T. Jillie