Getting SSL certificates on GoDaddy Shared Hosting plans

Since Google’s announcement that they will start publicly shaming unsecured websites in January 2017, everybody has been rushing to try to get their https tags. I’ve also been getting relentless phone calls from GoDaddy salespeople asking me to buy SSL certificates for about $5 per month. I’m stereotypically Asian so $5 per month on a personal blog just seems excessive. I’m not here trying to sell things or get your credit card information — SSL is a nice-to-have-but-not-$5-per-month-nice-to-have item.

Turns out, creating and making free SSL certificates is not that hard thanks to the good people at EFF. There’s a very helpful blog post by Isabel Castillo that outlines how to do it. Some issues I ran into and their solutions:

  • As her blog title suggests, you need a cPanel-enabled hosting service. Migrating from a non-cPanel to a cPanel account on GoDaddy is not a trivial task. I suggest calling, backing up your entire site, and being prepared for up to a few days of downtime.
  • Installing certbot on macOS can result in weird Fatal error messages. The first thing to try is to run xcode and accept the license if you recently updated. The next thing is to downgrade Python to 2.7.9.
  • Sierra (macOS 10.12.1) was throwing errors left and right for me. Just sudo everything. Everything.
  • Don’t forget to modify your .htaccess to redirect automatically.