Install SSL in WordPress on Google Cloud apache2

install ssl in wordpress on google cloud VM

If you want to improve your search results in google then SSL is very important. SSL is also becoming important when you care about of the security of the data transmission between your server and user’s browser. In this tutorial, I will explain how we can install SSL in WordPress on Google Cloud. As of now, Google Cloud VM Uses apache2 server on budget-friendly instances.

This is also applicable if you are running your WordPress on other then Google Cloud. This tutorial is for how to install SSL in wordpress with apache2 server.

Generate and install SSL with SSLGen Plugin

If you are already generated a certificate and just want to install then you can skip this step and jump to Install SSL in the apche2 server section.
To begin first install and activate the SSLGen plugin. This plugin is very useful to generate a free Let’s encrypt’s SSL certificate from within your website.

After installing the plugin go to SSLGen link from your wp-admin area. It will show you SSL generation wizard.

Domain details will be filled automatically. Just check the contact details field and fill with your email address. Don’t forget to check “include www prefixed version too

install ssl in wordpress on google cloud

Click Next

Now select the HTTP method for domain verification. You can choose DNS also but it will be difficult to verify with the DNS method. Here I am using the HTTP method. See the picture below.

sslgen domain verification

After that download File1 and File2 by clicking on them.

After that create the following directories at the root of your WordPress installation.

.well-known/acme-challange

Upload these two files in .well-known/acme-challange folder. You can use the WP Filemanager plugin for doing that. See the picture below.

upload verification files

At this point please make sure your website is accessible at both www and non-www URLs because the verification will be done at both domains by accessing uploaded files.

Click on Verify. If everything goes well you will get a message that “Successfully verified”. See the picture below

domain verification successful

After that click Next.

On the next screen it will provide you 3 certificate files. You can download them to keep in case you lost the keys from WordPress.

ssl generated successfully

Don’t Click Next. First, follow the below process to install the certificate in apache2 of the VM.

Install SSL in apche2 Server

To install SSL in apache2 first we need to activate the SSL module of apache2 and setup the certificate paths in the config files. Let’s start. It is not too dificult to install SSL in wordpress on Google cloud or on apache2 server.

First get SSH access of the server using putty or any other SSH client.

Then navigate to /etc/apache2/sites-available using cd command.

Now edit the file default-ssl.conf using sudo nano default-ssl.conf

See below the example for setting the following 4 variables in that file. If these are commented then uncomment and also notice there is not duplicates of these variables.

SSLEngine on
SSLCertificateFile /var/www/html/wp-content/plugins/ssl-zen/ssl_zen/keys/certificate.crt
SSLCertificateKeyFile /var/www/html/wp-content/plugins/ssl-zen/ssl_zen/keys/privatekey.pem
SSLCACertificateFile /var/www/html/wp-content/plugins/ssl-zen/ssl_zen/keys/cabundle.crt

The complete file after setup will look like the following.

<IfModule mod_ssl.c>
        <VirtualHost _default_:443>
                ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost

                DocumentRoot /var/www/html

                # Available loglevels: trace8, ..., trace1, debug, info, notice, warn,
                # error, crit, alert, emerg.
                # It is also possible to configure the loglevel for particular
                # modules, e.g.
                #LogLevel info ssl:warn

                ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
                CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined

                # For most configuration files from conf-available/, which are
                # enabled or disabled at a global level, it is possible to
                # include a line for only one particular virtual host. For example the
                # following line enables the CGI configuration for this host only
                # after it has been globally disabled with "a2disconf".
                #Include conf-available/serve-cgi-bin.conf

                #   SSL Engine Switch:
                #   Enable/Disable SSL for this virtual host.
                SSLEngine on

                #   A self-signed (snakeoil) certificate can be created by installing
                #   the ssl-cert package. See
                #   /usr/share/doc/apache2/README.Debian.gz for more info.
                #   If both key and certificate are stored in the same file, only the
                #   SSLCertificateFile directive is needed.
                SSLCertificateFile      /var/www/html/wp-content/plugins/ssl-zen/ssl_zen/keys/certificate.crt
                SSLCertificateKeyFile /var/www/html/wp-content/plugins/ssl-zen/ssl_zen/keys/privatekey.pem

                #   Server Certificate Chain:
                #   Point SSLCertificateChainFile at a file containing the
                #   concatenation of PEM encoded CA certificates which form the
                #   certificate chain for the server certificate. Alternatively
                #   the referenced file can be the same as SSLCertificateFile
                #   when the CA certificates are directly appended to the server
                #   certificate for convinience.
                #SSLCertificateChainFile /etc/apache2/ssl.crt/server-ca.crt

                #   Certificate Authority (CA):
                #   Set the CA certificate verification path where to find CA
                #   certificates for client authentication or alternatively one
                #   huge file containing all of them (file must be PEM encoded)
                #   Note: Inside SSLCACertificatePath you need hash symlinks
                #                to point to the certificate files. Use the provided
                #                Makefile to update the hash symlinks after changes.
                #SSLCACertificatePath /etc/ssl/certs/
                #SSLCACertificateFile /etc/apache2/ssl.crt/ca-bundle.crt

                #   Certificate Revocation Lists (CRL):
                #   Set the CA revocation path where to find CA CRLs for client
                #   authentication or alternatively one huge file containing all
                #   of them (file must be PEM encoded)
                #   Note: Inside SSLCARevocationPath you need hash symlinks
                #                to point to the certificate files. Use the provided
                #                Makefile to update the hash symlinks after changes.
                #SSLCARevocationPath /etc/apache2/ssl.crl/
                #SSLCARevocationFile /etc/apache2/ssl.crl/ca-bundle.crl

                SSLCACertificateFile /var/www/html/wp-content/plugins/ssl-zen/ssl_zen/keys/cabundle.crt

                #   Client Authentication (Type):
                #   Client certificate verification type and depth.  Types are
                #   none, optional, require and optional_no_ca.  Depth is a
                #   number which specifies how deeply to verify the certificate
                #   issuer chain before deciding the certificate is not valid.
                #SSLVerifyClient require
                #SSLVerifyDepth  10

                #   SSL Engine Options:
                #   Set various options for the SSL engine.
                #   o FakeBasicAuth:
                #        Translate the client X.509 into a Basic Authorisation.  This means that
                #        the standard Auth/DBMAuth methods can be used for access control.  The
                #        user name is the `one line' version of the client's X.509 certificate.
                #        Note that no password is obtained from the user. Every entry in the user
                #        file needs this password: `xxj31ZMTZzkVA'.
                #   o ExportCertData:
                #        This exports two additional environment variables: SSL_CLIENT_CERT and
                #        SSL_SERVER_CERT. These contain the PEM-encoded certificates of the
                #        server (always existing) and the client (only existing when client
                #        authentication is used). This can be used to import the certificates
                #        into CGI scripts.
                #   o StdEnvVars:
                #        This exports the standard SSL/TLS related `SSL_*' environment variables.
                #        Per default this exportation is switched off for performance reasons,
                #        because the extraction step is an expensive operation and is usually
                #        useless for serving static content. So one usually enables the
                #        exportation for CGI and SSI requests only.
                #   o OptRenegotiate:
                #        This enables optimized SSL connection renegotiation handling when SSL
                #        directives are used in per-directory context.
                #SSLOptions +FakeBasicAuth +ExportCertData +StrictRequire
                <FilesMatch "\.(cgi|shtml|phtml|php)$">
                                SSLOptions +StdEnvVars
                </FilesMatch>
                <Directory /usr/lib/cgi-bin>
                                SSLOptions +StdEnvVars
                </Directory>

                #   SSL Protocol Adjustments:
                #   The safe and default but still SSL/TLS standard compliant shutdown
                #   approach is that mod_ssl sends the close notify alert but doesn't wait for
                #   the close notify alert from client. When you need a different shutdown
                #   approach you can use one of the following variables:
                #   o ssl-unclean-shutdown:
                #        This forces an unclean shutdown when the connection is closed, i.e. no
                #        SSL close notify alert is send or allowed to received.  This violates
                #        the SSL/TLS standard but is needed for some brain-dead browsers. Use
                #        this when you receive I/O errors because of the standard approach where
                #        mod_ssl sends the close notify alert.
                #   o ssl-accurate-shutdown:
                #        This forces an accurate shutdown when the connection is closed, i.e. a
                #        SSL close notify alert is send and mod_ssl waits for the close notify
                #        alert of the client. This is 100% SSL/TLS standard compliant, but in
                #        practice often causes hanging connections with brain-dead browsers. Use
                #        this only for browsers where you know that their SSL implementation
                #        works correctly.
                #   Notice: Most problems of broken clients are also related to the HTTP
                #   keep-alive facility, so you usually additionally want to disable
                #   keep-alive for those clients, too. Use variable "nokeepalive" for this.
                #   Similarly, one has to force some clients to use HTTP/1.0 to workaround
                #   their broken HTTP/1.1 implementation. Use variables "downgrade-1.0" and
                #   "force-response-1.0" for this.
                # BrowserMatch "MSIE [2-6]" \
                #               nokeepalive ssl-unclean-shutdown \
                #               downgrade-1.0 force-response-1.0

        </VirtualHost>
</IfModule>

Please note replace the paths according to where you have put your certificates.

After that run the following commands

1 – sudo apachectl configtest – It must show System OK.

apachectl command system chek

2 – sudo a2enmod ssl

apache enable ssl mode

3 – sudo a2ensite default-ssl

apache2 enable default ssl

4 – sudo systemctl reload apache2
5 – sudo service apache2 restart

reload and restart apache2

Now you have configured the SSL certificate in apache2. Its time to switch WordPress from http to https.

Method 1 – If you have used SSLGen plugin or followed the above method for generating the certificate then Now click on Next to activate the SSL. After clicking you will see the following screen. This is the step where you were left for setting up apache2.

install ssl in wordpress on google cloud final step

Then again click on Next to activate the SSL.

Method 2 – For those who did not follow above post to generate the certificate. You can use the “Really Simple SSL” Plugin to activate the SSL. Just install the plugin and follow a simple step in that plugin.

Thanks for following this tutorial. I hope everything went well. If not feel free to comment below. Also, read Generate Free SSL If you don’t want to use SSLGen plugin and want to generate your certificate your own.

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2 Thoughts to “Install SSL in WordPress on Google Cloud apache2”

  1. Poula

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