Editor's note: This post is part of a series focusing on the main changes and improvements made at WP Engine throughout 2015.
Since Google announced in 2014 that it would use HTTPS as one of its ranking signals, securing your website with SSL has become even more important, as secure websites now have better SEO. Also, since HTTPs has become a way for visitors to check a site’s authenticity and safety, seeing the SSL certification keeps them on your website. Also, 2015 saw SSL Certificate functionality extended to their Personal Plans.
To secure your website with SSL, you have to purchase and configure an SSL certificate — a feat that is often bemoaned for being too complicated and time-consuming. WP Engine has taken this onboard and decided to make the process easier and quicker, especially for customers who have never acquired an SSL certificate before.
So, they introduced a new streamlined process of getting your website SSL certified, and it can all be done by WP Engine customers through the User Portal.
WP Engine launched many changes in June 2015, to make securing your website with SSL much easier:
SSL Dashboard Makeover
As in the image below, the WP Engine dashboard now shows users much more detail about their SSL certificates: it can show domains covered, the certificates’ status and expiration dates. The settings are newly simplified, making all the information easy to digest, and this dashboard will show you exactly what the latest is with your SSL certification, whichever type you choose to get.
The settings are newly simplified, making all the information easy to digest, and this dashboard will show you exactly what the latest is with your SSL certification, whichever type you choose to get.
We particularly like how it will configure your WordPress website to use the HTTPS URL for the login \ admin. pages, and even force users to use either HTTPS or HTTP, depending on your preference. This goes further than the installation of the certificate but helps with the WordPress configuration to use such certificate.
If you need more advanced functionality, you can use regular expressions to designate which URLS to serve over HTTPS.
1st Party SSL Certificate Purchasing Improved
The process of buying an SSL certificate through WP Engine has been made simpler by their changes to the flow that makes sure you purchase the type of SSL certificate you need. You can choose between a standard certificate or a Wildcard certificate. The latter will cover all subdomains. All SSL certificates are provided by RapidSSL, so you can be sure your website is in safe hands.
Added to this, WP Engine has listened to customer feedback and made it possible to buy SSL certificates on their Personal plans. The certificates can be purchased through the User Portal too, so the process is not complicated or time-consuming.
3rd Party SSL Configuration Tool
In the past, when you wanted to configure a 3rd party SSL certificate this required you to have opened a support ticket; WP Engine recognized that this was time-consuming, and so they introduced a new system whereby a 3rd party configuration tool can be used in the User Portal.
This means generating a CSR (certificate signing request) becomes much easier, and also guides you through uploading your certification files to WP Engine, where they can be installed by someone from the WP Engine Support Team. The new dashboard now also means you can track this process easily, and look at where you’ve got up to. This tool is available for those on Professional plans or plans which are higher than the Professional.
SSL Security Extended to Cover WP Engine Personal Plans
On the 2nd April 2015, WP Engine introduced the ability to install SSL certificates on their Personal Plans. Previously, this was only available on their Business Plan. WP Engine introduced this change based on feedback from its customers:
One thing you’ve frequently asked us for is the ability to add SSL certificates on Personal plans. So starting today, customers with a WP Engine Personal plan can purchase an SSL certificate to secure your website visitors’ personal data.
This is an excellent move on their part.
How do You Order and Install the WP Engine SSL?
Standard SSL certificates from WP Engine cost $49 per year, and a Wildcard SSL certificate costs $199 per year. We think these prices are very reasonable, and more than competitive with other hosting providers. However, if you want to make savings, then you may wish to consider purchasing your own 3rd Party Certificate directly.
Full instructions on how to order an SSL, install a WP Engine purchased SSL or a third party SSL certificate on WP Engine can be found here.
Taken all together, these changes mean that it is easier for WP Engine customers, no matter their technical expertise or experience, can install an SSL Certificate, easily and simply, without all the hassle that often comes with it.
Of the many changes WP Engine introduced to the WordPress experience they provided in 2015, these changes are some of the most useful: their customers can now secure their websites with SSL knowing the process won’t cost too much time and will be guided by understandable information.