Let's Encrypt: SSL for free

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Late last year the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG) announced the public Beta of the Let's Encrypt program. The goal of the organization (a foundation) is to provide free and easy to deploy SSL for all. This of course nicely combines with Google's call for secure websites.

Update per April 12th 2015: Let's Encrypt left the Beta status, see www.letsencrypt.org/2016/04/12/leaving-beta-new-sponsors.html

As they even claimed this could be a ranking signal, it is probably time to get your sites on SSL (and if you wonder, this site soon will be too). What made things even easier is that many providers for hosting, but also for CDN's built very easy to use integrations for Let's Encrypt. 

About Let's Encrypt

You can basically find all relevant information about the project on the Let's Encrypt website at www.letsencrypt.org, but I will give you the main features here, as listed on their site:

  • Free: Anyone who owns a domain name can use Let’s Encrypt to obtain a trusted certificate at zero cost.
  • Automatic: Software running on a web server can interact with Let’s Encrypt to painlessly obtain a certificate, securely configure it for use, and automatically take care of renewal.
  • Secure: Let’s Encrypt will serve as a platform for advancing TLS security best practices, both on the CA side and by helping site operators properly secure their servers.
  • Transparent: All certificates issued or revoked will be publicly recorded and available for anyone to inspect.
  • Open: The automatic issuance and renewal protocol will be published as an open standard that others can adopt.
  • Cooperative: Much like the underlying Internet protocols themselves, Let’s Encrypt is a joint effort to benefit the community, beyond the control of any one organization.

So, basically, they aim to provide free, easy to deploy SSL without you having to bother about renewal issues. Sound's pretty good to me.

Let's Encrypt integration in Joomla

If your site is not on SSL yet, make sure you check my article about SSL in Joomla. For this blog, I will focus on how to install the SSL certificate. This depends on whether your host provides an integration. One that definitely provides this is Siteground of course. Installation could not be easier. Just sign in to your Cpanel and look for the icon, probably under the Security section:

lets encrypt icon

Then, the rest becomes really simple:

lets encrypt installation

 Simply click the Install button, wait a few seconds, and that's just really all. To test, access your site over HTTPS and check that you have a green lock in your address bar. 

Let's Encrypt with a CDN

Even if you have a CDN, installation is as easy as the integration in Siteground. Of course, your CDN needs to provide the integration then, and not all currently do. At this moment, only KeyCDN and CDN77 offer integration. Let me show you how the integration in KeyCDN works. I like this CDN, because it works very easy and it is really cheap. When creating a pull zone, you will find the following options when the Advanced Settings checkbox is ticked:

keycdn lets encrypt

And again, that's it, SSL is enabled for your CDN now.

CDN tip: KeyCDN

If you need an easy to set up CDN, try KeyCDN (free trial). It's really fast and offers free Let's Encrypt SSL integration. Also you can try it out for free with no strings attached!


So, now we have both our host and our CDN SSL enabled, and all this in just a few minutes and for free. Renewal is also taken off by both host and CDN. If you want to read more about both integrations, check these links:

About this site

Joomlaseo.com is fully built and written by Simon Kloostra, SEO Specialist and Webdesigner from the Netherlands. I have also published a book and blogs for companies like OStraining, TemplateMonster, SEMrush and others.