Configure SSL Certificate on your WordPress Website

It is recommended that every website uses an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate encrypts data transmitted between the users computer and the website that has the certificate installed. Google will penalise you in search results for not having an SSL certificate, and popular browsers are now presenting users with increasingly stark security warnings when visiting a website that doesn’t use SSL.

Is an SSL Certificate already installed?

Have a look in your browser address bar. If the web address begins with https:// rather than http://, you already have a certificate installed. You may additionally see a message from the browser showing the site is secure:

How to get an SSL certificate

Speak to your webhost who will provide and install the SSL certificate for you. The price will vary, depending on the host and the certificate but for an average site expect to pay between £0 - £100 per annum. Once you have acquired an SSL certificate and it has been installed on your web server, you will need to configure WordPress to use your SSL certificate by following the steps below.

Update the Site URL and Home URL

Navigate to General > Settings and change your website web address from http:// to https://

This will automatically configure WordPress to use the SSL certificate.

Update internal site references manually

If you use images on pages or posts (rather than featured images), you will need to update the links within the image tags to use https:// too. Doing this manually can be a laborious process so we recommend the Better Search Replace WordPress plugin for this.

  • Backup your database! If you make a mistake, you WILL break your website and recovery may be difficult without a backup.
  • Install better Search Replace from the WordPress Repository
  • Navigate to Tools > Better Search Replace
  • Search for your existing web address and replace with the new https:// version. We recommend you search in the tables wp_options, wp_posts and wp_postmeta.
  • Turn off the 'Dry Run' option
  • Run Search / Replace

The process is similar to the process when updating your website URL and is described in more detail in the guide below

Update internal site references with a plugin

You can update your internal references automatically with a plugin. We prefer Really Simple SSL for this.
Article published 05th November 2020
Last modified 21st November 2023