Setting up a free SSL Certificate

As the amateur and cheap developer that I am, I’ve been digging for a way to get an SSL Certificate for free because I NEEDED to see that glorious green secure padlock on my website. If you were also looking for the same, you might find this interesting. Here is a quick summary of my experience.

I’m using an Amazon EC2 server, and while I was following some of it’s documentation on security, I stumbled upon a website called StartSSL where you could get a basic SSL certificate for free. Some technical knowledge was required to install one of their certificates, or at least be proficient in the art of googling. I began following their installation process, creating an RSA key, requesting a CA-signed certificate to StartSSL, modifying necessary setting files on the server, etc. After some time, it was time to test it aaand… not working. Figures.

After some unsuccessful troubleshooting, I began looking into other free certificates. That’s when I found about the probably more obvious alternative, Let’s Encrypt, another free SSL certificator. Let me make a comparison. StartSSL is a bicycle while Let’s Encrypt is an Aston Martin One77. Just run a command line from your terminal, enter some information, and done. Most important of all. It worked. I’m sure StartSSL would have worked if I wasn’t inept, but Let’s Encrypt is much more simpler to use. Now I can boast my green padlock. Right? Please tell me it’s still there.

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