How to renew an SSL certificate (paid SSL Cert)

Maintaining website security is important in this competitive market. Every minute a new cyber threat is popping up and to tackle this website owners have to be extra careful to protect their data and maintain their visitors’ trust. Protecting the website with SSL Certificates is the best solution any website owner can have.

It doesn’t take much time nor does it burn your pocket fully. Here’s the catch. The SSL Certificate expires within 1-2 years. If you’re facing the same thing then you’ve to renew the SSL Certificate for your website.

This article will guide you through the steps to renew an SSL Certificate for your website.

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL certificate, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer certificate, is a digital file that is critical in securing online communication. It functions like a digital passport that verifies the identity of a website and encrypts information exchanged between the website and your browser.

Steps to renew the SSL Certificate:

Renewing an SSL certificate involves a few steps to ensure a smooth transition and continued security for your website.

  1. Set Reminders: SSL certificates have expiration dates. Ideally, you should have a system in place to remind you about upcoming renewals well in advance. This helps avoid any lapses in SSL protection for your site.
  2. Generate a New CSR: A Certificate Signing Request (CSR) is required to get a new SSL certificate. This can usually be generated through your web hosting control panel or by contacting your hosting provider. It’s important to generate a new CSR specifically for the renewal process, as reusing an old one won’t work.
  3. Purchase and Activate: Depending on your chosen certificate authority and plan, you might need to purchase the renewal or activate it through your existing account.
  4. Validation: To ensure the control of the domain, the certificate authority will need to validate your ownership. This can be done through various methods like email validation, uploading a file to your server, or creating specific DNS records.
  5. Install the Certificate: You’ll receive the renewed SSL certificate once validation is done. This needs to be installed on your web server to replace the expiring one. Some hosting providers might offer automated installation, otherwise, you’ll need to do it manually.

By following these steps, you can successfully renew your SSL certificate and maintain a secure connection for your website visitors.

Read: All About Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs): Explained

What happens if you forget to renew your SSL Certificate?

A website with no SSL Certificate is prone to attacks and the information could get changed or stolen in transit. However, forgetting to renew an SSL certificate can cause a few problems for your website:

  • Security Warnings: Browsers will display a warning message to users indicating that the connection to your site is not secure. This can be a red flag for visitors, especially if they’re entering sensitive information like login details or credit card numbers.
  • Loss of Trust: Security warnings can erode user trust in your website. Visitors might be hesitant to interact with a site flagged as unsecured, leading to potential lost business or engagement.
  • Blocked Access: In some severe cases, browsers might completely block access to your website until the SSL certificate is renewed.
  • SEO Impact: Google prioritizes secure websites in search rankings. An expired SSL certificate could negatively impact your website’s search engine visibility.

While these are the downsides, there’s usually a grace period after the official expiry date. Most browsers will display warnings before completely blocking access. The key takeaway is to act quickly to renew the certificate and minimize the disruption to your website.

SSL Renewal FAQ

  • When should I renew my SSL certificate?

It’s best to renew your SSL certificate before it expires. Ideally, you should set reminders well in advance (30-90 days) to avoid any lapse in security. Certificate authorities (CAs) often offer grace periods after expiry, but it’s best not to rely on it.

  • What happens if I forget to renew my SSL certificate?

An expired SSL certificate will trigger security warnings in browsers, harming user trust and potentially impacting SEO and site access. You have to renew as soon as possible to minimize disruption.

  • Is the renewal process similar to getting a new SSL certificate?

The process is quite similar. You’ll need to generate a new CSR (Certificate Signing Request) and possibly re-validate your domain ownership with the CA.

  • Do I need to generate a new CSR for renewal?

It’s recommended to generate a new CSR for increased security. While some providers allow using the old CSR, it’s generally better to create a fresh one.

  • How do I install the renewed SSL certificate?

The installation process typically involves uploading the new certificate files to your web server and replacing the expired ones. Some hosting providers offer automated installation.

  • Can I renew my SSL certificate myself?

Yes, you can usually renew through your CA’s online portal or web hosting control panel. The specific steps might vary depending on the web hosting provider.

  • How much does SSL certificate renewal cost?

Renewal prices can vary depending on the type of certificate (Domain Validation, Organization Validation, Extended Validation) and the chosen validity period (usually 1-2 years). Some CAs offer discounts for renewals.

  • How can I manage multiple SSL certificate renewals easily?

Many CAs offer account management tools where you can track expiry dates, automate reminders, and streamline the renewal process for multiple certificates.

Read: How to Email All Users in WHM?

Points to remember:

You can consider setting up automatic renewal options offered by some CAs to avoid manual renewals altogether. If you’re unsure about any steps during renewal, consult your CA’s support resources or contact your web hosting provider for assistance.

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