These days, there’s no excuse not to enable HTTPS for your website. You can get an SSL certificate in a matter of minutes (even for free), and it will help keep your users’ data safe. However, certificates aren’t perpetual, meaning you’ll eventually need to renew your SSL certificate and do so correctly.
Renewing a certificate is relatively simple. Many web hosts and registrars go as far as to automate the process, so you don’t have to lift a finger. However, if your host doesn’t offer automatic renewals for some reason, knowing how to renew a certificate manually can come in handy
In this article, we’ll go over the reasons why renewing your certificate is important. Then we’ll teach you how to do it in four steps. Let’s get your certificate back up and running!
Why you need to renew your SSL certificate
If you’ve ever set up an SSL certificate, you might have received an email similar to the following:
Again, many popular hosts automate renewals so that you don’t have to deal with these emails (and renewals in general). If that’s the case for your host, this post probably isn’t for you! ?
Some certificates last for a year or two, whereas others have expiry dates as low as 90 days (we’re looking at you Let’s Encrypt). For many, these expiration dates can be a hassle. However, there are two reasons why limited-length certificates are necessary:
- Renewing your certificate validates your website’s identity.
- It makes sure the encryption you use is up to date, which keeps user’s data secure during transit.
At one point, it was common for SSL certificates to last up to five years. It was a convenient approach, but not optimal from a security standpoint. Google has long argued the standard should be as short as one year.
Even so, a year seems like a long time in comparison with Let’s Encrypt’s current standards. One reason the certificate authority argues that shorter validity periods are necessary is to encourage automation.
A lot of web hosts and certificate authorities will enable you to automate the renewal process. It should arguably become the new standard, so we get to enjoy the security benefit of short certificate validity periods without having to process renewals manually.
In many cases, website owners forget about SSL renewal altogether, which can lead to warning messages:
As such, if you don’t have the option to automate
This article was written by John Hughes and originally published on ThemeIsle Blog.