If your SSL certificate expires, your users will face an error with your website and you lose your business so you need to review the SSL certificate before it expires.
Website owners often fail to renew SSL certificates, leading to grave consequences such as data theft, non-compliance, loss of website traffic, and the list goes on. Sadly though, quite a few website owners assume that the SSL is a one-time affair.
This no longer comes as a surprise because most website owners are non-techies who hire freelance developers. As these website developers take care of the SSL installation for their clients, website owners fail to keep track of its expiry.
The lack of continuous communication is often the culprit, and so you need to know how to check it on your own and renew it before the expiry date.
An SSL certificate remains valid for 13 months only. Those which come bundled as freebies usually remain valid for a trial period ranging between 30 to 90 days only and then expire.
So, we decided to discuss everything you need to know to keep a tab on your SSL certificate’s validity.
What Happens if My SSL Certificate Expires?
Websites Owners who do not renew SSL certificates periodically end up exposing their website users to various forms of network-based security risks. This could be in the form of man-in-the-middle attacks, packet sniffing, financial details being stolen, or identity theft. When any of this happens, your business bears the brunt of it because no one trusts a website that fails to protect user and customer data.
Besides opening the floodgates to security risks, it lowers SEO rankings, causes loss of traffic, data theft, and online reputation loss. In 2014, Google clearly stated that the HTTPS is a ranking signal, following which there was a rush for SSL certificates.
After that, many browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Explorer started flashing security warnings to users browsing websites without a valid SSL. If you don’t want any of that, consider renewing your SSL certificate periodically.
Moreover, not renewing the SSL can put you (the website owner) in conflict with the existing laws and regulations. Data security and privacy laws worldwide expect website owners to protect the best interests of their users or customers.
This is possible with an active and valid SSL because it activates the HTTPS protocol, which ensures secure exchange of data between the server and the client. On the other hand, an invalid SSL results in the data being transmitted as plain text, which can be easily intercepted and understood.
Why do SSL Certificates expire?
Due to security concerns, SSL certificates remain valid for a maximum of 13 months. The renewal process provides Certifying Authorities (CA) an opportunity to reconfirm the website’s credibility or business on which their trust seal appears.
For example, a company that was successfully validated and granted an EV SSL may have ceased to exist or been involved in unlawful activities. Through periodical re-validation during renewals, CAs ensure that they have issued the certificate to legitimate websites and businesses.
Who Provides Cheap SSL for Renewal?
You can renew or buy cheap SSL from ClickSSL, which lists offers from some of the most reputed CAs globally, such as Comodo, RapidSSL, DigiCert and several others. Before you start looking for one, make it a point to make the decision based on your web architecture and the desired validation level. Not installing the right type can leave a part of your website vulnerable to cyberattacks.
How to Check the Validity of an SSL Certificate?
You can easily check your SSL certificate‘s validity by opening it in the browser and clicking on a secured padlock. Then click on ‘Certificate,’ and you will be able to see the period for which the SSL certificate is valid.
How to Renew SSL Certificate?
The SSL renewal process is similar to buying and installing a new SSL certificate, so don’t get thrown off by the word ‘renewal.’ Every SSL comes with an expiry date ingrained in its code, and it automatically ceases to operate at the end of that particular day.
A point to note is that you don’t have to go to the same CA and can opt for another one offering a better deal. For the sake of clarity, we decided to break down the SSL renewal process into the following three steps.
#1. Choosing the right SSL for renewal
When renewing your SSL certificate, you are not obligated to stick to the type you earlier had. Let’s assume your domain validated SSL is about to expire — the one that came free with the hosting and domain you purchased a year ago. In that case, you might be perplexed about choosing another type to accommodate your current needs. If so, you don’t have to worry because you can choose whichever kind of SSL your web architecture currently requires.
#2. Purchase and Validation of the SSL
After you have decided the type of SSL you want, it’s time to put the wheels into motion. However, remember that you must apply for the renewal before your SSL expires. This will take some time based on the type of SSL you are applying for because the CA re-validates it.
Therefore, those applying for advanced validations such as Extended Validation, Organization Validation, or Individual Validation Certificates should hurry up. You can speed this up using the same email ID you used while purchasing the SSL certificate.
#3. Activate and Install the SSL during a renewal
After your renewal application has been successfully processed, you receive a confirmation. You can then activate and install it from the service provider’s control panel. During the renewal process, you will have to generate the CSR/RSA pair and complete the installation. The process is quite similar to installing a new SSL certificate and can be done through the cPanel or any other web control panel.
We have discussed everything you need to know about tracking your SSL certificate’s validity, so make it a point to renew your SSL certificate before it expires. This simple process can keep your traffic inflow steady and save you from some serious trouble if done promptly.