So you’ve decided to get a secure certificate (SSL) for your website, for whatever reason, and you haven’t got a clue what to do next.
Well you have to jump through a few more hoops than normal to make it happen, check out my step by step process below and it’ll be smooth and painless.
I exclusively use and recommend Rapid SSL certificates for my web hosting members. And you won’t find a better service or more competitive prices in Australia for buying your SSL certificates than Trustico (aff)
So in order to make it easy for you to purchase and renew your certificates and keep your web host out of the loop as much as possible, follow this step by step guide.
Treat a renewal of your certificate as if you are buying a new one, it’s much safer that way. So with that in mind let’s go.
Step 1a. Contact your web hosting provider and ask them to create a Certificate Signing Request (don’t worry they will know what you’re talking about – and if they don’t I’d leave them and find another hosting provider pronto!) Provide your hosting provider this information
- Host to make cert for (eg websmartcentral.com)
- Country (2 letter Abbrivation) (eg AU)
- State (eg QLD)
- City (eg Tarragindi)
- Company Name (eg Web Smart Central Pty Ltd)
- Company Division (eg HQ)
- Email (eg aarond AT websmartcentral.com)
Word of caution here: some web hosting providers have an SSL icon in your control panel. DO NOT use that to generate your CSR. Why, because you don’t know what goes on behind the scenes and your web host may not be able to use what you’ve generated. Just give them your details and let them do this part.
Step 1b. Your hosting provider will enter that information into the web server where you account resides and it will generate the certificate signing request and you will be emailed the results. This garble of characters you can see in Image #1 contains your information you provided in Step 1a. The certificate company will use this information to generate a certificate that is yours and yours alone, that one else can replicate. It can only exist on the web server that it’s generated from. You must wait for this information before going onto Step 2.
Step 2. Head on over to Trustico (aff) to start the purchase (NB : their website may change between writing this article, but it will still guide you through the process). You need to choose your certificate type.
I recommend the Rapid SSL certificate, since it’s your base level model that will get you by in 90% of situations, you may require something bigger. Have a read around the Trustico website they explain a lot about the differences in certificates, and it’s outside the scope of this guide.
Step 3. Select if you are ordering a new product or renewing a product.
Step 4. Choose your plan length I recommend 12 months but you can choose a longer plan if you get insurance with it (which allows you to regenerate the certificate again should you move hosting providers) Choose your server type (in my hosting environment I use cPanel exclusively) Make sure you select insurance, it’s so cheap it’s worth getting it since it covers you as I’ve just mentioned should you change your host.
Step 5. Enter in all your details. Even if you are renewing treat it as a new purchase.
Step 6. Time to enter your CSR (Certificate Signing Request). Simply copy and paste the whole CSR section that was emailed to you. It will look like what’s in the image below, don’t forget to include the —-BEGIN and —–END text it’s important.
Step 7. Now you have to verify your details are correct.
Step 8. This step proves that you are who you say you are and that allows you to approve the certificate to be processed and generated for you. You MUST have a valid email address from any of the addresses that are listed in the image below. The automated system will look to the email that you in your domain name and offer that first, plus some others. If you don’t have any of these that are valid, then you MUST make one of the Generic Domain Emails valid, by setting up an email forwarder in your web hosting control panel (see the tutorial here for how to do that)
Step 9. Fill out your administrative contact details, which should be already filled in for you.
Step 10. Agree to the subscriber agreement
Step 11. Review your order is correct for billing
Step 12. Choose how you are going to pay
Step 13. Onve you’ve paid you will then receive an approval email which will need to be responded to.
Step 14. Then your certificate will be issued to you via email.
Step 15. Send that information in to your web hosting provider that created the orginal CSR in the first place, and they will install the certificate onto the server and assign it to your hosting account.
Step 16. Job done! You can test the certificate has been installed correctly by browsing to the https:// equivalent of your main domain (eg. https://websmartcentral.com/ ) You will then see a lock somewhere along the bottom of your browser window, which when you click on it then you be presented with your secure certificate.
That’s it, if you follow this step by step guide you will be successful in buying or renewing your SSL certificate.
It’s been a long time coming but we finally have a backup mail server in place to handle all email should a server be down at any time.
This means that should a server be down all emails that normally would have bounced back to the senders server for a retry at a later date, will now be routed to a backup mail server, where they will sit until the primary mail server comes back online. At which point the emails will then be routed back to be delivered.
This results in no loss of emails at our end what-so-ever. Very nice indeed.
In the end as all things seem once you’ve done the hard work, it was a fairly simple task, and I can honestly say every host should have this form of redundancy in place, and be proud to show it off.
I’ll be writing an article about it so that others may benefit from my hours of research looking for the best methods to automate this procedure.
Doing it for one account is fine, doing it across multiple servers is a full time job. That’s why automated software scripts are a thing of beauty.
At last after months of deliberating over whether to have reseller accounts or not, I’ve decided to include them into the Web Smart Central offering.
For those that don’t know, a Reseller has the ability to divide up their allocated space and bandwidth, and has a master control panel for their account. From there they can house other peoples websites completely separately (with their own control panel), effectively becoming a mini hosting provider. They can offer their clients the hosting space at whatever cost they desire. Being a reseller is fantastic for web designers, accountants, solicitors, and internet marketers.
If you chose your provider carefully then they deal with all the hard work, and you just get to make some profit. Some even deal with the support issues from your clients. This is still an area that I haven’t decided on what I’ll be doing. Let’s just say that I’ll find out the support ramifications as I go.
This is exactly where Web Smart Central started over a year ago, with a USA Reseller account. That was quickly outgrown, as we surpassed the hosting provider that was providing the reseller account. Plus there were clear signs that they were overloading their server so I moved away from them. Just in time as 2 months later they were no more.
If you haven’t read my report about overselling and the dangers of it, then I suggest you take a look.
The only force that drives hosters to overload the servers is monetary greed. But it’s just not worth it, it’s a business killer.
I used to hate with a passion the web hosting providers that I used and relied upon (cough, cough) before I started Web Smart Central.
Just the simple task of communicating was a foreign concept.
Other things used to bug me but you could break it down in the end to just plain bad communication.
If you have watched the Seinfeld TV show at any stage, you may have seen the episode where George Costanza being completely inept and hopeless at everything he ever did in life, simply turned himself around 180degrees to lead a charmed life, by doing the exact opposite of what he normally would do.
Well that is the exact philosophy that I chose when starting this hosting firm.
I figured if I do the exact opposite of what the bad hosting firms were doing to me, then I would have a great web hosting company.
I was right! Thank you George Costanza.
My main goal was give my clients as many avenues of communication as possible and to keep them informed when necessary.
To achieve this, I’ve setup… a Postoffice (email lists), Forums, Support System, Phone contact, Emergency Mobile Contact
Since I’m in regular contact with my clients through email, I am building up a relationship with them that other web hosting providers fail or are unwilling to do. Their loss.
As I’ve always said (assuming that your product is good) business is all about relationships.
I have been getting a fantastic newsletter from Scott Bywater from copywritingthatsells.com.au
He mentioned finding out from your existing customers their biggest fear they had before they become a customer of yours.
Simple question, but it the answers give you a direct key to knowing what you have to do to alay those fears that are present in your yet-to-be customers.
Invaluable knowledge wouldn’t you say. I asked my client list this very question.
“What was your biggest fear when deciding to sign up for our hosting service?.”
I was blown away by the response of 22% of my clients taking the time to answer my question. Not only answer my question, but give me other fantastic information as well.
It was such a good response that I’ve added some of the responses to my testimonials page and tagged a link to it from my homepage.
Go and check out what they had to say on the testimonials page.
I strongly suggest that you ask your clients what their biggest fear was, and you might be pleasantly surprised. I was.
Domain sniping (aka fleecing, aka duping) is rampant.
I own several domains, more than I can count on my 2 hands, and yet again another year rolls around and I keep getting these Domain Name Expiration Notices from a company (Domain Registry of America) that has absolutely nothing to do with the company that I get my domain names from.
It’s a very smartly marketed letter sent direct mail and to the uninitiated it looks like a bill that needs to be paid, and I bet many people just pay it like a bill, without understanding what it all means.
The worst part is that their fees are $25 US or $38 AUD for a .com for 1 year. But what is even worse than that is that I know people that have .com domains where they paid and continue to pay $90 AUD for them per year. So to them this appears as a real bargain and they of course jump at the opportunity.
With the likes of godaddy and registerfly, and many others now flogging domains for $6 US, and spending money hand over fist advertising it like crazy on all mediums, you’d wonder why anyone would pay these sly marketers.
There is a lesson here people, that it doesn’t matter what you charge, it’s how you approach the sale. These offline direct marketing techniques for online businesses should be embraced.
I disagree with this particular mail out since it takes advantage of those that don’t know any better, but there is very much a place for offline marketing in online business.
To date my marketing efforts have been exclusively online, but with my current Website Renovation Contest underway, I’m stepping up my offline marketing. Starting with the free publicity generated from the contest.