By the end of this guide, you’ll be able to install a new ssl on your site without having to buy one. It’s free.
Namecheap is giving your site a free ssl for the first whole year when you start with them.
But after that, you’ll need to spend some money to renew it.
Nothing wrong with that, but if you’re looking for a free alternative, you might want to use Let’s Encrypt – a free, automated and open certificate authority (CA) that just as secure as any paid CA.
Most of the cases, installing a free Let’s Encrypt certificate should be easy.
But since Namecheap has a contract with another certificate authority, they can’t provide a convenient way to use it.
But it still can be done – manually.
In this guide, we will guide you on how to install a free ssl from Let’s Encrypt on Namecheap with the help of acme.sh.
Step-by-step how to install Free SSL on Namcheap
We try to include as much detail as possible. If something is not right on your side, leave some comment and we’ll try to address it.
1 Login into your Namecheap account & into your cPanel
cPanel can be accessed in different way, but the most convenient one is through your Namecheap account.
Login into your Namecheap account and click on the ‘Hosting list‘ menu.
A list of your hosted site will appear.
Find the one you want to install the free ssl to. At the end of that particular site, you should see a ‘GO TO CPANEL‘ button. Click on that to access your cPanel.
If your ‘GO TO CPANEL‘ not appear, try clicking on the dropdown icon to reveal it.
A new tab will open and redirect you to your site cPanel.
2 Enable SSH Access
By default, the SSH Access is not enabled. We need to enable it in order to access the terminal and allow us to run a very simple command to allow us to install free SSL on Namecheap.
Find the ‘Exclusive for Namecheap Customer’ section inside the cPanel.
It supposed to be located at the very top of the cPanel display.
Inside that section, find and click on the ‘Manage Shell’.
To enable the SSH Access, we just need to toggle the toggle switch, which is located at the top right, from disabled to enable.
The toggle switch will change color from grey to green.
After a few second, an access detail will appear under it.
Thats it to enable the SSH Access. No more action needed.
Go back to cPanel dashboard by clicking the home icon or the cPanel logo located at the very top left of your current cPanel display.
3 Remove any Existing SSL
Any existing or expired SSL should be removed so that we can get the fresh install of our new free SSL.
To do that, scroll down and find the ‘SECURITY’ section.
Under the ‘SECURITY’ section, click on the ‘SSL/TLS’
In the ‘SSL/TLS’ display, click on the ‘Manage SSL sites’ option.
Inside the ‘Manage SSL sites’ display, scroll down a bit until you found the ‘Manage Installed SSL Websites‘ section.
An example of ‘Manage Installed SSL Websites’ will look like this:
To uninstall the existing SSL, just click on the ‘Uninstall’.
If you use more than one domain in the same server, it will all appear here and will be grouped in a different row.
So make sure you choose the right one.
When you click on the Uninstall, a notification will appear, click on the ‘Proceed’ to confirm.
The uninstall process will take a few seconds. When done, the SSL list will disappear.
Now that the process is done, we can proceed to install free ssl on Namcheap from Let’s Encrypt.
4 Install the ACME Script
We need the help from ACME script to install the free Let’s Encrypt certificate.
For that, we need to get it installed first.
Go back to the main display / dashboard / home screen of cPanel by clicking on the dashboard icon or the cPanel logo.
Once on the cPanel dashboard, scroll down to the ‘ADVANCED’ section, right-click on the ‘TERMINAL’ and open in a new tab.
Let the existing tab stay on the cpanel dashboard so that we can use it in the next step. More convenient.
On the ‘Terminal’, you will get a warning notification. Just click on the ‘I understand and want to proceed’.
It will open up a terminal that look like this:
Once its ready, copy or type in following command inside the terminal:
curl https://get.acme.sh | sh -s email@example.com
Note: We cant use the short-cut key (Cntrl + V) on the terminal. To paste it, we have to do right-click and select ‘paste’
Replace the firstname.lastname@example.org with your own email (the one that being used when you bought the domain and also the hosting).
Press enter to run the command.
Let it run for a while until you see the ‘Install success’ on the terminal.
(Just ignore the red warning)
Before proceed to the next step, we need to restart the terminal for the acme to work properly.
Just close the terminal window and open it again to restart it.
Next use the following command to change the default CA from zerossl to letsencrypt.
acme.sh --set-default-ca --server letsencrypt
By default, acme is using zerossl to create a certificate. We want to change it back to letsencrypt.
5 Create the SSL for our Website
On the terminal type in below command and enter:
This command will give you the current working directory that will be used in the next command.
For example inside below picture, the pwd command will tell me that the current working directory is ‘home/unikkzzxw’.
Use next command to create the ssl certificate:
acme.sh --force --issue -d mysite.com -d www.mysite.com -w /home/username/public_html
Above command need to be modify a bit according to your website detail.
Change ‘mysite.com’ to your domain name.
Change ‘username’ to your cpanel username that being displayed when you use the ‘pwd’ earlier.
For example, like this:
acme.sh --force --issue -d uniklist.com -d www.uniklist.com -w /home/unikzzxw/public_html
After done with modification, run it by pressing enter.
It will take a few second for it to complete.
Next, we need to make sure the certificate being created just now exist in our server.
To do that, go back to your cpanel dashboard, find the ‘FILES’ section and click on the ‘File Manager‘ under that section.
Inside the File Manager, try to find the .acme.sh folder.
By default, if you never touch any setting here, any dot folder will not be seen.
If you cant find the .acme.sh folder, change the preferences to show the hidden dot file.
You can do that by clicking the setting icon located at the top right of the File manager display.
Tick on the ‘Show Hidden Files (dotfile)’ to show any hidden dotfiles.
The acme.sh folder should show up at the very top list of the file manager view.
Click on the acme.sh folder, then a folder named after your domain name. The certificate being created just now can be found here.
Make sure this 2 files exist:
- yoursite.com.cer (certificate)
- yoursite.com.key (key)
Leave this open. This 2 file will be used in the next step.
6 Installing the Free SSL
Go to cPanel dashboard find the ‘SSL/TLS’ under the security section and click on it.
Proceed to click on the ‘Manage SSL sites’
Scroll down a bit to the ‘Install an SSL Website’.
To install our free ssl, there only 3 thing we need to fill up here:
- Certificate: (CRT)
- Private Key (KEY)
For the domain, from the select domain dropdown option, select your domain.
If you have more than one domain installed in the same server, more than one domain will appear here. Select the one you need to install the free ssl for.
For the Certificate (CRT), go back to the file manager we open up earlier, right click on the yoursite.com.cer file and select ‘view’.
Copy everything start from the ‘Begin certificate’ to the ‘End certificate’.
(Everything means everything, including the words begin certificate and end certificate).
The paste it inside the Certificate: (CRT) section.
Do the same for the Private Key (KEY) using the content from yoursite.com.key file.
Ignore the ‘Certificate Authority Bundle: (CABUNDLE)’ section. Just leave it empty.
When you’re finish, click on the ‘Install certificate’ button.
The installation process will take a while. When finished, a notification window as below will appear.
And with this, the free ssl from Lets Encrypt is fully installed on your Namecheap hosted site.
It might take a while for the ssl to be fully functional on your site.
You can confirm it by visiting your site. If the risk warning not appear on you browser, thats mean your ssl is working perfectly.
Hopefully by the end of this guide you manage to succeed to install free ssl on Namecheap.
Your free ssl certificate from Let’s Encrypt supposed to be automatically renewed whenever expired. If not, just visit this post again.
If this guide help, help us by sharing it.