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I currently have a web hosting account and 27 domains that cost 1310 PLN (about $358.37) per year.

Because the next version of Chrome will start displaying "not secure" warnings when a user enters anything in form fields, I am interested in enabling SSL but the hosting company says that I will have to buy 27 IP addresses (3985.20 PLN = $1090.21) and 27 certificates (2656.78 PLN = $726.80).

Because this cost increase is unacceptable for me, I am interested if there is any cheaper way of enabling SSL that is compatible with normal web hosting accounts (not VPS or dedicated servers) and that does not require editing DNS records.

  • Do all your domains have content on them, or do some just redirect to another domain? – DisgruntledGoat Oct 2 '17 at 14:57
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You no longer need an IP address for each site. There are two possibilities.

You could get one subject alternative name (SAN) certificate that covers all your domains. SAN certificates have 100% modern browser support. This single certificate can be hosted on a dedicated IP address with virtual hosts for all your sites. This is a decent option if your hosting company uses an older version of Apache that doesn't have SSL virtual hosting.

You could also get separate certificates for each domain and host them with server name indication (SNI). SNI is basically virtual host configuration for SSL. SNI has 99.9% modern browser support and is starting to be widely used. It requires Apache v2.2.12 and OpenSSL v0.9.8j (or anything later) to be installed on your server.

As for the cost of the certificates themselves, you can get free certificates using LetsEncrypt.org. They work by issuing a certificate for any site that you can prove you own through an automated process that places a file they give you into a well known location on your web server. Their certificates don't work for all cases though:

  • LetsEncrypt only offers the most basic certificates (level 1) that do the minimum checking of validity. You won't get the green bar that requires a level 4 certificate.
  • LetsEncrypt doesn't support wildcard subdomains
  • LetsEncrypt certificates expire in 3 months, meaning that you have to have automated processes in place to renew them (cron jobs)
  • LetsEncrypt requires that you are able to run their software on your host. They have a program called "certbot" that issues and renews certificates. It can reconfigure your web server setup and place the well known files in your document root.

LetsEncrypt works best when your hosting company supports it. It is a pain to set up, so hosting companies are often doing that work for you now. It is built-in to common hosting interfaces such as cPanel.

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All you have to do is find a host that offers free Lets Encrypt SSL certificates. There are loads of them, including my business that I will refrain from promoting here.

  • 1
    Probably worth mentioning that the Let's Encrypt sponsors page is a good starting point for those who need HTTPS on shared hosting plans. Many (all?) of the hosting companies who sponsor them offer certificates as standard. – Tom Brossman Oct 2 '17 at 17:54
  • I use Dreamhost and they supply free Lets Encrypt SSL certs. – Chaoley Oct 6 '17 at 1:21
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If you can switch your hosting services then can go for Interserver. They have free ssl certificate for all your sites hosted in an account. But check relevant details you required.

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