THE SHORT ANSWER
These instructions assume you want SSL for a basic WordPress website hosted by GoDaddy. To setup SSL with GoDaddy follow these steps:
- Login to GoDaddy and go to their SSL products page.
- Purchase the basic SSL at $59.99 for the first year then pay $74.99 annually after that. You may be given an offer to have two years for about $120.
- Once the purchase is complete, you’ll then see SSL has been added to the My Products page.
- Click on Manage and assign it to the domain for your website.
- There is a verification process that involves having a message sent to the email address on file. There will likely be a link you need to click on.
- You’ll need to wait about 24 hours before the SSL is active.
- After about 48 hours, you can login to your WordPress Dashboard and add the Really Simple SSL plugin by going to Plugins > Add New, and searching for Really Simple SSL. Install and activate the plugin. You will likely need to login to the site again because the Really Simple SSL will have configured your site to redirect to the https:// address for the site.
The above steps should work 99% of the time and they are fairly easy to follow for a beginning user or with some assistance from a web savvy friend. I’ve personally followed the above steps for numerous websites with different hosting companies.
What is SSL and why do I need it? For those unfamiliar with SSL, it is the technology that allows your website to have an https:// address rather than just http:// and it allows your website to have a private, secure, and encrypted connection with your site visitor. Sites with SSL are more trusted and given higher rankings in search results.
THE LONG ANSWER
If you talk to a sales person at GoDaddy, you’ll likely be told that the only way to get an SSL certificate is to pay a $200 annual fee for installation and maintenance. That’s what happened to me two days ago.
I asked the sales person why the stated price on the GoDaddy website says $59.99 and there’s no mention of any $200 SSL plan. The sales person explained that those SSL plans don’t include SSL installation on the server, website configuration, or any support, so they won’t work.
Most hosting companies offer SSL for free or maybe as much as $50 per year with automatic setup, so the GoDaddy pricing seemed excessive with pricing from $75 to $350 per year for the SSL and then $200 more per year for their SSL support plan. That’s way more than the cost of hosting and something people can get elsewhere for free.
It seemed that GoDaddy was engaged in misleading advertising by not disclosing that there would be a required $200 per year fee for SSL.
However, after getting a second opinion from another GoDaddy customer service representative, I learned that the previous sales person was apparently trying to meet some quota for adding unnecessary services. The information on the SSL products page is correct. It is possible to purchase the $59.99 package and install it fairly easily using the steps I shared at the top of this page.
I’ve personally followed the above steps for numerous websites with different hosting companies and never had a problem. That’s why I was so perplexed when the GoDaddy sales person was saying there would be a $200 fee for setup. It turns out that they are charging $200 for something that takes probably 6 minutes. So they are basically charging $2,000 per hour for something they have probably automated at their end.
It’s a sad situation that has lead to people around the world writing articles like “SSL sadness with GoDaddy” by Gabor Javorszky (4 Jun 2018).
GoDaddy has had a lot of success and grown over the years because of their faithful and trusting customers. They have an obligation to be fair, honest, transparent, and economical. If they don’t step up and do what’s right, their customers will go elsewhere.