How do I purchase a professionally-signed SSL certificate?

When you add Secure Hosting, a free self-signed certificate is added to your domain. However, this certificate throws browser warnings which may discourage visits to your site.

DreamHost recommends instead that you purchase a professionally-signed SSL certificate which secures your site and eliminates these warnings. You can add a professionally-signed SSL certificate using four different methods:

  • Add a free 'Let's Encrypt' certificate in the panel.
  • Purchase a certificate within your DreamHost panel.
  • Purchase a certificate at a Certificate Authority.
  • Install a previously purchased certificate in the panel.

This article only explains how to purchase an SSL certificate in your DreamHost panel.

Before you begin

Before you begin the process to purchase an SSL certificate, make sure you have already created a confirmation email address on your domain. This email may be necessary to finalize the purchase.

This email must be an address on your domain. For example, if your website is 'example.com', make sure you have already created one of the following addresses:

  • admin@example.com
  • administrator@example.com
  • hostmaster@example.com
  • postmaster@example.com
  • webmaster@example.com

View the following article for instructions on how to create an email address:

Purchasing a Signed Certificate in the DreamHost panel

  1. Navigate to the Secure Hosting page. The top section titled 'Active SSL certificates' lists any active SSL certificates for your domains.
    The next section titled 'Add a new SSL certificate' lists three options to add an SSL to your domain:
    SSL panel 01.png
  2. Choose the option to add a $15 Comodo certificate and click 'Save changes now!'.
    The 'Secure Hosting' page appears:
    Comodo SSL panel
  3. Type in your domain and click the Continue button.
    Comodo_SSL_panel_03.png
  4. Fill in the fields as necessary.
    • You must fill in ALL of the fields (including the 'Organization name') in order to successfully proceed to the next step. If you don't have an organization name, then enter your first and last name. 'Street 2' and 'Street 3' are optional fields—you can leave those blank if your address does not include any of this info (such as an apt. #).
    • This information is used to generate the Certificate Signing Request (CSR) that is used to generate your new professionally-signed SSL certificate.
    • The current private key installed in the control panel is used to generate the Certificate Signing Request.

    Confirmation address

    This must be an email on your domain. In the example above, the website 'example.com' is purchasing an SSL and using the address 'admin@example.com' to receive the email.

    Make sure one of the emails listed in that dropdown has been created on your domain and you are able to receive mail with it. If it does not exist, create this email first before continuing.

    Please note that the process to verify your domain using email is a last resort. This means you may never receive a confirmation email and the SSL will process correctly. However, it's possible you will receive an email if other DCV steps fail to verify. So it's still important to configure this email address. View the following article for further details:

  5. Click the blue Order now once all the fields are filled in.
    A confirmation page appears:
    08 Secure Hosting Purchase Confirmation.fw.png
    Within a few minutes, you'll receive an email from noreply_support@comodo.com at the Domain Control Validation (DCV) address you selected for this order. Below is an example of the email you’ll receive:
    09 Secure Hosting Comodo Confirmation Email.fw.png
  6. Click the link in the email.
    You’ll be taken to Comodo’s website:
    10 Secure Hosting Comodo Confirm Box.fw.png
  7. To confirm the order, copy/paste the validation code in to the box, and then click the Next button.
    • A confirmation email is sent to the primary email address on your DreamHost account.
    • This email is NOT sent to the approval email address used to approve the ‘Domain Control Validation’ step above.
    • The email is sent FROM "DreamHost SSL Order Fulfillment" <support@dreamhost.com>, so that it appears in your support history which you can view in the panel.
    • This email confirms that the order has been successfully approved.

    Most orders are completed and installed within 2 hrs of them being approved, however it could take up to 24 hrs to fully process.

Installing the Comodo certificate on your website

At this point you have only purchased the Comodo certificate. It is NOT installed yet. To complete the process and install the certificate on your website, follow the steps below.

  1. Navigate to the Secure Hosting page. The top section titled 'Active SSL certificates' lists any active SSL certificates for your domains.
    The next section titled 'Add a new SSL certificate' lists three options to add an SSL to your domain:
    SSL panel 01.png
  2. Click the option to add a 'Self-signed SSL'.
    SSL panel 04.png
  3. From the dropdown, choose your domain and if you wish to purchase a Unique IP address.

    In order for a domain/subdomain to show in the dropdown menu, it must be set as 'Fully Hosted', 'Redirect', 'Mirrored', or 'Parked'.

  4. Click the 'Add now!' button.
    A self-signed certificate is added to your domain which adds the 'Secure Hosting' service to the domain.
  5. To the right of the domain, click the 'Change' link.
    Install_Comodo_Cert_04.png
  6. Choose the 'Comodo verified SSL' option. It will say 'Already Purchased'.
  7. Click the Save changes now! button.
    Install_Comodo_Cert_05.png
  8. Review the information on the next page. When ready, click the Continue button.
  9. Review your personal details on the final page. When confirmed, click the Order now button to complete the installation.
    A Success messages displays:
    Install_Comodo_Cert_07.png

Test if the SSL certificate is working

The certificate is now installed on your domain. Visit the secure URL of your website at:

    • https://example.com
Install_Comodo_Cert_08.png

You can see the browser bar shows a lock icon confirming the connection is secure.

If you just installed the certificate, you may need to wait a few hours for it to update online.

Forcing your site to load HTTPS be default

Even after you have added the SSL certificate to your site, visitors will not be able to use it unless they manually type in 'https' before your domain name. This defeats the purpose of adding it in the first place since the certificate is meant to protect all of your website traffic.

There are several ways to fix this. View the following article for instructions on how to create a configuration file to redirect all visitor traffic to the secure version of your URL (https).

See also

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Article last updated PST.