SiteGround is now auto-issuing Let’s Encrypt certificates for every domain hosted on its shared servers. The company has also begun issuing and installing certificates on new accounts automatically after customers register domains or direct new domains to SiteGround’s servers. This also includes add-on domains added in cPanel. The certificates are also auto-renewed as long as the domains are pointed to the host’s servers.
“Since the launch of Let’s Encrypt our customers have installed nearly 40,000 such certificates,” said Hristo Pandjarov, WordPress specialist at SiteGround. “This is less than 10% of the 500,000 domains we host. Together with the paid certificates we may say that 15% of the domains we host were using the HTTPS protocol before we started the auto-issuing procedure.”
SiteGround is a sponsor of Let’s Encrypt and one of the first to auto-issue certificates to self-hosted WordPress customers. Let’s Encrypt passed 20 million active certificates in 2016 and the pressure is on for more sites to adopt SSL in 2017 with Google marking insecure sites in Chrome and using HTTPS as a ranking signal.
“What prompted this decision is that we truly believe HTTPS is the future standard for web protocol and we also believe it is the better protocol,” Pandjarov said. “This is a good enough motivation for us to take the step of installing it automatically. We have decided to automate the SSL issuance and setup almost right after the appearance of the Let’s Encrypt initiative. Matt Mullenweg’s statement at WordCamp US that issuing SSL certificates will be a very important factor in evaluating a web host, was one more validation that this planned automation was a decision in the right direction.”
According to Pandjarov, the vast majority of SiteGround’s customers are running WordPress. Respondents to the company’s 2016 client survey indicated that more than two thirds of them use WordPress, which Pandjarov said is a 10% increase in the popularity of WordPress among SiteGround users.
Next Step for SiteGround: Pre-Configuring WordPress Installs to Use SSL with One Click
Auto-issuing certificates does not guarantee that SiteGround customers will jump through the hoops to configure their sites to use the certificates. Installing a certificate on an existing WordPress site is not as straightforward as a simple click in most cases. SiteGround is working on fully automating this process for its WordPress customers.
“If we really want to get closer to 100% HTTPS usage, we need to do more than just automatically issue the certificate,” Pandjarov said. “Our next step is to provide a way to pre-configure an active WordPress site, hosted on our servers, to work with the already issued SSL with one click. Additionally, our auto-installer is being updated to install all new WordPress sites as https-ready.”
SiteGround doesn’t yet have an ETA for one-click SSL configuration but Pandjarov said the announcement will be coming soon.