View Categories

Bolster Your Site’s Security with Effective SSL Certificate Control

Icon with a lock and a certificate badge
  • May 27, 2024
  • 0
  • by Katie Schlansker

As a website owner, you’re likely well aware of the importance of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates in ensuring the safe transfer of data. Not only do they protect your users’ information, but they also build trust in online interactions by verifying your website’s legitimacy. 

But let’s face it – managing SSL certificates can be overwhelming. From keeping tabs on expiration dates to securing various subdomains, there’s a lot to consider. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to simplify the complexities of SSL certificate management. 

Whether you’re getting your first certificate or want to ensure timely renewals for your current one, we’ll walk you through every step of the SSL certificate lifecycle. We’ll also discuss how choosing the right hosting provider, such as A2 Hosting, can make SSL certificate management a breeze. Let’s get into it! 

What is SSL Certificate Management?

SSL certificate management is the process of acquiring, deploying, and maintaining SSL/Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificates, which are crucial for securing data transfer between a user’s browser and a website server. 

These digital certificates act as digital guardians, ensuring that information exchanged between users and websites remains encrypted and protected. Additionally, this process provides a digital identity card for websites, validating their legitimacy. 


example of a ssl certificate

SSL certificate example

Why is SSL Certificate Management Important?

SSL certificate management plays a crucial role on many fronts. For website owners, it’s about giving your domain the necessary credentials to encrypt and validate your website’s identity. This builds user trust and provides your visitors with immediate peace of mind when they see the reassuring padlock symbol next to the URL in their browser. This symbol is like a digital handshake that assures them that their sensitive information is safe and sound. 

Screenshot of SSL certificate

A2 Hosting SSL certificates

Since July 2018, Google Chrome has marked sites without SSL as “not secure”, which can potentially scare off visitors who are wary of sharing personal data on such sites. The good news is that almost every website has SSL certificates these days and for a valid reason.

They boost your site’s reputation and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), while also ensuring compliance with essential data protection regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS). It’s crucial to keep your SSL certificate up-to-date, as letting it expire can lead to loss of customer trust, expose you to data breaches, and even lead to penalties for regulatory non-compliance.

However, managing SSL certificates can be daunting, especially if you’re handling multiple websites. To stay on top of things, you have to navigate through a variety of challenges, such as: 

  • Expiration and Renewal Tracking: Periodically monitor the validity to ensure your website isn’t caught with an expired certificate. 
  • Certification Installation and Configuration: Ensure certificates are installed properly across platforms. 
  • Security Compliance: Follow global standards to avoid legal and financial penalties. 
  • Key Management: Safeguard the pair of public and private keys used in SSL/TLS certificates. 
  • Continuous Monitoring: Keep an eye out for any vulnerabilities in certificate behavior. 

Manual vs. Automated SSL Certificate Management

While it’s possible to manage your SSL certificates manually, this can be a time-consuming option that leaves room for oversights and errors, potentially compromising the security of your website. 

In contrast, automated SSL certificate management takes minimal effort. The system handles all the nitty-gritty details to safeguard your website against vulnerabilities, whether that means managing timely updates or sticking to top-tier security protocols. 

Here are some of the pros and cons of manual versus automated SSL certificate management: 


Manual SSL Certificate Management Automated SSL Certificate Management 
ProsProvides control over the management process.Minimal effort required; processes are streamlined.
No reliance on external systems.Automation reduces the risk of human error.
Can be suitable for smaller-scale operations.Guarantees timely renewals with system-generated prompts.
ConsSubstantial time and effort required.Dependent on external systems for automation.
Higher potential for human error.Initial setup may require technical expertise.
Renewals are reliant on manual tracking and could be prone to oversights.Less control compared to manual management for some users.

Understanding the Core Steps of the SSL Certificate Lifecycle

Each stage of the SSL certificate lifecycle plays a crucial role in ensuring secure online transactions. Let’s take a look at the core steps:  

Certificate Signing Request (CSR) Generation

The first step is to generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR), which includes basic information about your website and its security needs. This step requires prior arrangements, such as securing a valid domain and ensuring access to the server.

Certificate Enrollment

Next, the CSR is sent to a Certificate Authority (CA) for enrollment. The CA may require verification of the entity’s identity before issuing the certificate. 

Identity Verification

The CA will then verify your identity to make sure you’re the real deal. This may involve verifying your entity’s domain ownership, legal identity, or other relevant information. This step is crucial for building trust in your online presence.

Certificate Issuance

Once your identity is verified, the CA issues the SSL certificate, which is digitally signed to establish trustworthiness.  

Certificate Installation

Now, it’s time to put your SSL certificate to good use by installing it on your website’s server. This involves configuring the server to use the certificate for securing communications. 

Certificate Usage

Once active, the SSL certificate encrypts data transmitted between the server and users’ devices via HTTPS, which further strengthens your security measures. 

Certificate Renewal

SSL certificates have a limited validity period, typically capped at 13 months. However, Google recently announced its intention to reduce the validity of TLS certifications to 90 days. Although the decision isn’t confirmed yet, it highlights the need for website owners to stay on top of evolving industry standards. 

Certificate Revocation

In rare cases, such as if you have a compromised private key, you may need to revoke your SSL certificate before it expires. CAs use lists like a Certificate Revocation List (CRL) or an Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP) service to inform clients that a certificate is no longer valid.

Key Pair Updates

From time to time, you may need to update your cryptographic key pairs for security reasons. This process involves generating a new key pair, creating a new CSR, and going through the enrollment process again. 

End of Lifecycle (Expiry)

When an SSL certificate expires, it loses its validity. Clients may no longer trust the expired certificate, and you will need to replace it with a new, valid certificate as soon as possible to continue maintaining a secure online presence. 

What Types of TLS/SSL Certificates Exist?


Types of SSL options A2 Hosting Offers

A2 Hosting SSL certificates page

Depending on what your site does and the kind of information it handles, there are several different types of SSL certificates you can choose from. These include:  

Basic SSL (DV)

As the name suggests, Basic Domain Validation (DV) SSL certificates are your go-to for basic security needs. If you’re running a personal blog or a small site that doesn’t deal with much sensitive data, a DV certificate might be all you need. 

They’re affordable and can often be issued within minutes or hours. There’s only one catch: they don’t tell your visitors anything about who is behind the site. These certificates only verify the ownership of the domain, providing basic encryption and validation. 

Premium SSL (OV)

Organization Validation (OV) SSL certificates confirm that you own your domain and also verify the existence of your organization. This involves confirming the organization’s legal status and physical address. 

Justin Mazzi, A2’s Chief Technology Officer, says “While getting an OV SSL certificate might take a bit more time and effort than obtaining a DV certificate, it’s worth it for the added trust. When visitors click on the secure site indicator, they can see your company’s verified name. This level of validation works well for small-to-medium-sized businesses and eCommerce websites that want to boost their credibility and trustworthiness.”

Advanced SSL (EV)

Extended Validation (EV) SSL certificates provide the highest level of validation and trust. These certificates go through a rigorous verification process, which includes checks on your organization’s legal, physical, and operational existence. EV certificates are particularly important for large corporations and businesses handling highly sensitive information.

Enterprise SSL (EV)

Large organizations with substantial online transactions and data traffic require something even more robust. Enterprise SSL certificates are the ideal option here. They offer higher levels of validation and come with additional features and services, such as extended warranties and enhanced customer support, suitable for enterprise-level operations.

Wildcard SSL

Imagine having one key that unlocks every door in a building. That’s what wildcard SSL certificates offer organizations managing multiple subdomains under a single domain name. Just one wildcard SSL certificate can secure an unlimited number of subdomains.

Although these certificates are more expensive than a basic SSL certificate, it’s still a cost-effective option for websites with various subdomains. 

Another major advantage is that it’s easy to manage wildcard SSL certificates compared to keeping track of ten expiration dates for ten different SSL certificates. However, despite the many benefits, it’s important to remember that if the main certificate is compromised, all connected subdomains could also be at risk. 

The Role Your Web Host Plays in SSL Certificate Management

Managing SSL certificates is no easy feat, but the web host you choose can make a world of difference. An ideal web host offers several benefits, such as: 

Convenience and Ease of Use

An effective web host can take convenience to a whole new level by offering automated SSL management features. 

Picture this: you log into your hosting dashboard, and with just a few clicks, you can issue, renew, and monitor your SSL certificates. A user-friendly interface with automated features means that even if you don’t have the best technical abilities, keeping your site secure can be easy and efficient. 


The web hosting marketplace is highly competitive, so we get it if sticking to your budget is your main priority.

These days, SSL certificates are often included as part of a broader hosting package. This bundled option can save you money and allows you to manage your site’s security through one platform. 

Plus, given that SSL/TLS standards are always changing, it can be useful to have the flexibility to adjust or upgrade your bundled services without making a significant dent in your wallet. 

Customer support availability

Let’s say your SSL certificate stops working because of a configuration issue. This is a high-pressure situation that requires immediate attention. That’s why it’s essential to have round-the-clock access to customer support. 

Having someone to help, whether through live chat, phone, or email, can resolve technical issues quickly, protect your online reputation, and keep your day-to-day operations running smoothly. 

A2 Hosting: A Top Choice for SSL Certificate Management


A2 Hosting Homepage

A2 Hosting homepage

If you’re looking for a stress-free SSL certificate management experience, A2 has got your back. We offer a wide range of SSL certificate options that are affordable, quick to set up, and make HTTPS implementation easy. We’re serious about protecting your site’s security, which is why we offer several standout benefits, like: 

A Free SSL Certificate Included in Every Plan 

From the get-go, we make sure your site is as secure as it can be. With every one of our hosting plans, even our most cost-effective ones, we offer a free SSL certificate that’s automatically set up and renewed for your domain. 

This guarantees a secure, trustworthy connection from the moment your website goes live. But that’s not all. Beyond just setting up and taking care of your SSL certificate renewals, we ensure it’s effectively integrated into your overall site security strategy to protect your site and visitors from any security threats. 

Upgrade With Premium SSL Options

As your website grows, your security needs may change. Luckily, we’ve got a suite of premium SSL options to meet more demanding security requirements. 

Our premium SSL option offers enhanced security with OV certificates and dynamic site seals, whereas our advanced SSL option features enterprise-grade EV certificates with the highest warranties. With both of these options, you get reliable security at affordable prices. 

Additionally, when it’s time to renew your certificate, you can count on us to remind you well in advance. 

Various SSL Provider Options

Finding a reliable web host is the most important first step. That’s why we offer SSL certificates from trusted names like RapidSSL, GeoTrust, and DigiCert

Every provider brings something unique to the table, giving you the utmost control and flexibility to find the perfect match for your website’s needs. 

Benefit From Multi-Year Pricing

All of our SSL products come with multi-year SSL coverage plans lasting up to three years. This means extended protection, fewer worries about needing to purchase a new certificate every year, and more time to dedicate to your core business operations. Not to mention, opting for our multi-year SSL certificate pricing saves you money in the long run. 

Access to SSL Certificate Management Tools

We’ve simplified SSL certificate management down to a fine art with our cPanel interface. Here’s how you can gain control over your entire SSL lifecycle without having to juggle multiple tools or external services: 

  • Viewing Certificates: Access your SSL dashboard to check active and pending certificates. 
  • Installing Certificates: Easily add new certificates to your domain. All you need to do is log into your cPanel account, click the “Autoinstall SSL” icon, and follow the guided steps. 
  • Renewing Certificates: Keep an eye out for an expiration notice in your email, which will remind you to purchase and install a new SSL certificate before the old one expires.
  • Removing Certificates: To remove expired or unused certificates, log into your cPanel account, open the SSL/TLS tool, and under CERTIFICATES (CRT), click “delete SSL certificate.” 

Streamline Your SSL Certificate Management With A2 Hosting

Securing your website with an SSL certificate is essential for protecting your visitors and maintaining their trust. That’s where choosing the right web hosting partner, like A2 Hosting, becomes crucial. We simplify the SSL certificate management process, ensuring your website is secure, and your mind is at ease. 

Whether you’re running a small business or heading a large multinational company, we’ve got a wide variety of managed SSL service options for you. Besides, we know that security should be uncomplicated and accessible, which is why we include a free basic SSL certificate in all of our hosting plans. 

Thanks to our comprehensive cPanel licenses, managing your SSL certificates is straightforward. You have the autonomy to install, renew, and manage your certificates with just a few clicks. Plus, you can always count on us to send you timely reminders when your SSL certificate is about to expire, so you’re never caught unawares. 

At A2 Hosting, we’re all about taking the hassle out of SSL certificate management, so you can focus on what’s important: running your website and business. With our easy-to-use cPanel, automatic renewal reminders, managed SSL service, and a range of SSL certificates, we promise that securing your site will be effortless.

Choose from our SSL certificate plans today to experience the A2 difference!