Installing an SSL certificate — complete guide for VPS

Installing an SSL certificate seems like a daunting task for many, but we are here to help you out. If you follow our instructions closely, you’ll have your secure site in no time.

The whole process, if done correctly and if everything goes as expected, shouldn’t take longer than 15 or 20 minutes:

Step 1: Purchasing your SSL Certificate

You can purchase SSL certificates directly from our website. You can also log into your client area and then click “Order” in the menu of the right, then click “SSL Certificates”. Make sure you know which SSL certificate you want since they are permanent.

In a nutshell:

  • RapidSSL: Entry-level. Protects a single subdomains (like example.com and www.example.com). Other subdomains are not included
  • RapidSSL Wildcard: Like RapidSSL, but for unlimited subdomains
  • QuickSSL: Like RapidSSL, but issued by GeoTrust
  • QuickSSL Premium: Works with Mobile Devices. Ideal for e-commerce
  • True BusinessID with Extended Validation (EV): Like QuickSSL Premium, plus a green bar in web browsers and complete business identity
  • True BusinessID Wildcard: Like True BusinessID with EV plus unlimited subdomains

Step 2: Configuring your SSL Certificate

After you purchase your SSL certificate, you will get an email from us with the subject line “SSL Certificate Configuration Required”, with a link to the client area. Under server information, where you’re being asked the Web Server Type, select “Apache + ModSSL“.

To fill the CSR (Certificate Signing Request), you have to generate it first. You have two ways to do this:

Generate the CSR Via the Control Panel

Login to your Control Panel then click on “My Tools” in the upper left side, then “SSL Certificates”.

Click “New” then “Generate Certificate Signing Request (CSR)”. Follow the instructions. Do not select “Yes, I want to add a CA certificate”.

After that you will see a link with the name of your site. Click it and copy the CSR, then paste it in the SSL Certificate Configuration screen.

Generate the CSR Via Command Line

Log into your server via SSH and run the following command:

`openssl req -nodes -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout domain.com.key -out domain.com.csr`

Copy and paste the output to the SSL Certificate Configuration screen.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: It is important to know that www.example.com and example.com are NOT the same. If you would like to use both www.example.com and example.com, enter www.example.com as the domain name. This is also true for other subdomains (like store.example.com)

You won’t be able to secure anything else if you don’t fill the information correctly, and you will need to purchase another SSL certificate to do so.

Step 3: Confirming your SSL Certificate

In the next screen, you will be asked for a fixed email address that will be used as a recipient for the Certificate Approver Email. It’s important to understand that you need to create this email address if it doesn’t exist, and you need to create it before clicking continue.

Once you click continue, you’ll see a “Configuration completed” message. Stand by while you get a confirmation email to the address you selected.

When you get the email, click on the link in the email, and click “I Approve”.

Step 4: Installing your SSL Certificate

After clicking “I Approve”, you should get another email, now with your certificate ready to be installed in your server.

Note: If by any chance you do get another email, but it doesn’t contain the certificate, you should contact directly the issuer, since it may be a problem with your information.

Once you have your certificate and intermediate file, you must:

  1. Login to the Control Panel
  2. Go to the “My Certificates” section, inside “My Tools”
  3. Click on the domain that’s going to use the certificate
  4. Copy the “Web Server Certificate” into the “Certificate” field
  5. Copy the “Intermediate CA” into the “Certificate Authority (CA)” field
  6. Click save

Your certificate should be activated. Now you have to enable secure hosting.

To enable secure hosting:

  1. While in the control panel, select the domain you want to enable secure (HTTPS) hosting
  2. Go to Web Hosting, then click Secure Website, and enable it
  3. Click the cog button to the right, then click settings
  4. Select your available IP address (do not choose default), your certificate, and the document root (if not using the default one)
  5. Click Submit

You should now be able to browse your site using https.

Additional notes

  • When you enable secure web hosting and a certificate, be sure to enable your other websites by assigning the proper IP address (not the “default” one) — you may not be able to access your other websites until you do so.
  • You can install your first SSL certificate in your server with no issues. Once your server has an SSL certificate installed and working, if you need another one, you must purchase an additional IP address with your certificate, since every certificate needs a dedicated IP address (click here for more information)

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How do I install an SSL certificate on a VPS via command line? How do I install an SSL certificate on a VPS using the control panel?

  • Jarrett Griggs

    So, would you say it’s best to ‘enable your other websites by assigning the proper IP address’ BEFORE installing the cert? Just so there’s no down time.