SSL certificates are digital certificates that are used to authenticate a website’s identity. They are part of the HTTPS protocol. Both of which are part of the cryptographic protocol used to provide communication security.
The SSL certificates should be obtained for every website. However, SSL certificates have an expiration date, and when they expire the website security is compromised. But why do SSL certificates expire?
SSL certificates expire to make sure all their information is accurate and proves your validity as the trusted owner of the domain. Every few years, the ciphers and TLS technology behind SSL certificates are upgraded and improved. Older versions then become less secure, endangering your company’s and client’s data.
What Happens If My SSL Certificate Expires?
The first thing that happens is that your data become compromised. You will no longer have the protection and encryption offered by HTTPS encryption. Without encryption, all information passes through channels in plaintext. Any malicious actors listening in or attacking your channels will easily access the data.
Such a situation will not only compromise your company but also your clients. It will also affect business because visitors will be warned about visiting your site the moment they click on its link. An expired SSL certificate effectively disables a large part of your company.
The best way to avoid this situation is to keep track of when your SSL certificate is due for renewal. Multiple browsers will no longer trust any newly issued certificates with a valid lifespan of longer than 398 days. The best time to renew the certificate is 30 days before it is due to expire. This timeframe is necessary to make sure that your site never has expired-SSL certificate issues.
Here is how to renew your SSL certificate.
Standard SSL Renewal Process
The process of renewing your SSL certificate will depend on several different factors. For example, the process varies from web host to web host. Your SSL certificate authority will also influence how the process goes. Regardless of these difficulties, the basic process is standard.
Here are the steps:
- Select an appropriate SSL certificate for your website
- Select the validity duration
- Click the “Renew Now” Button
- Submit all details requested
- Review your SSL order
- Pay for the services
- Enroll your SSL Certificate
- Deploy your renewed SSL certificate on the server
Let’s learn about how the process works in two major SSL certificate authorities:
Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated, and open certificate authority (CA), run for the public’s benefit. The LetsEncrypt SSL renewal process for LetsEncrypt users is often managed by the client Certbot, which automates both renewal and installation. However, if your certificate does not automatically renew, you can renew it manually using the following steps:
- Run the following line of code: ‘sudo certbot renew’. If you have multiple domains but only need to renew one domain, use: ‘certbot certonly –force-renew -d example.com’.
- Finally, verify that the renewal was successful by running: ‘sudo certbot renew –dry-run’. The renewal is successful if the command returns no errors.
There are not that many differences with the outline provided above. However, before finalizing the renewal process, make sure you confirm that the details on the certificate are accurate. For your convenience, set up auto-renewal as well so that you do not have to manually renew your certificate.
Renewal on ComodoSSL is made straightforward, especially if you are already a customer. Getting a new account with them is a simple process too.
To renew your SSL certificate on ComodoSSL, all you need to do is log into your control panel, select the expiring certificate and choose the ‘Renew’ option.
Purchase the Renewed Comodo SSL Certificate
If you were late in renewing your certificate, you would have received an email reminding you to do so. Click on the renew link provided in the email and then you will be taken to your cart. Purchase the renewed certificate.
Complete the CSR Generation and SSL Validation Processes
CSR generation is the next step. CSR stands for Certificate Signing Request. It is a specially formatted encrypted message sent from an (SSL) digital certificate applicant, being you, to a certificate authority, in this case, Comodo SSL.
This step is about validating your domain ownership. It offers extra security just in case someone else is trying to register under your domain name.
Install the renewed SSL Certificate
Next, you will need to install the renewed SSL certificate. The installation process will depend on your platform. Once that is done, the SSL renewal process is complete.
The SSL certificate renewal process is a simple and necessary task for businesses that value the integrity of their data and the safety of their clients. It only takes a malicious hacker a few minutes to compromise everything you have worked for. Companies can’t afford to gamble with it.
Therefore, the most professional step would be to find a way to never miss your SSL renewal date, and confirm that you renewed it afterward. Ideally, find a way to always renew your SSL certificate a month to a few days before it expires to be sure.
Adopting a Fail-Safe Plan to Automated Certificate Renewal
ElevenGuard helps you avoid affecting your site’s traffic, compromising your clients, or having your entire site stolen by simply confirming that the renewal happened. An expired SSL certification will also affect all of your site’s other KPIs. Effectively, your business could be non-existent for a couple of hours. You do not, and should not, risk everything by relying on fallible human memory.
Expired SSL certificates could also make you lose a lot of money. Clients may also choose to sue you over the exposure of their data. The situation would be worse if they incurred damages. All this in addition to all the sales you will miss out on when your site is down. Finally, you may lose your domain entirely and have to spend money getting another one.
Give ElevenGuard a try to avoid red lights in production. As we have seen, the SSL certificate renewal process is not difficult. You can protect your company from all of these losses and embarrassment by signing up for ElevenGuard. Have your SSL certificate expiry monitored to make sure that renewals are done without any delay.