How to install SSL on your joomla Virtuemart Website Store

Why do you need SSL?

You don't need an SSL certificate installed on every website. For one thing using SSL causes your web server to slow down as it requires more performance encoding your data between the connections. If you have a large eCommerce website where you want your users to get redirected to an SSL connection on checkout then that's easy to do and also the best option. There is no need to slow your users experience down if you have a content site, or really if you have only a few items in your store. The rule is that if your users are just browsing, then they don't need SSL, as soon as they start interacting with your site, and sending their own data, then you need SSL. 

Finding an SSL Provider

First you will have to decide on who will supply you your SSL certificate. This can be done via a number of ssl providers. They include most of the internet hosting companies like godaddy and hostgator. However, they use the SSL certificates of a couple of the largest trusted SSL certicate brands. They include Verisign, Comodo, and Geotrust.  These are the 3 heavy weight providers in SSL. All other providers are probably just using them and passing them on to. All 3 of these providers give you access to a huge range of SSL tools and certificates depending on how secure a site you are looking for. I'm just assuming in this guide that all you want is just a basic SSL certificate. If you want to even get access to an SSL certificate for free, then you can use the comodo instant SSL, and this is free for 90 days, then expires. SO you don't need to pay at all, and you can get a good feel for using SSL.

Your CSR Code

Once you've selected an SSL provider, you will be asked to provide your CSR code. This is done on your webserver, or by your webhost. I used hostgator, and i had to just request this via a form. They should then just send you the CSR in an email. This code will just look like a lot of jumbled up text. You will have to give this to your SSL provider, and they will then generate the responding code. These code handshakes are like the special keys that the data on your website will be encrypted with when communicating to your users. The SSL provider may ask you for some extra verification too. Your CSR data should match your whois domain information.

Installing Your SSL files on your webserver

When you get the reply code from your SSL provider, you will need to install them on your website, i currently have no idea how to do this yet, so i'll just tell you how i done it on host gator. They had a form, and i just pasted the text in it, and the done the rest. Very easy. 

Depending on your SSL certificate though, and if you have a managed or shared server then a little more work with the files will be required. All the SSL providers give you step by step instructions though, and its as easy as just installing a couple of files on your webserver.

Virtuemart SSL Settings

After your SSL has been installed  you can test it by checking your website with an https in front of your domain, and it should show up ok. This only means that your SSL is working. You still have to setup the SSL certificate to work on virtuemart. However you should copy the address. There is an option in joomla under the configuration and site, that asks for your SECUREURL. All you do is put the Https with your domain in there, just paste your copied address. There is then the option to choose which pages that are forced into secure, and if you want to avoid forcing https on every pages, only the most important ones. That's all you need to do from inside virtuemart. You can if you want choose to re-direct all your pages to SSL from a global setting in global configuration in joomla. 

SSL Joomla Modules

Once of the things that you will find going wrong is that all your links, especially the javascript code that links to other site, for example google adsense, or facebook like scripts will have http prefix. This causes problems for SSL and will mean your green padlock doesn't show. The reason is that this code is not encrypred via the SSL. You are able to change the http to https, but this can take a while so i recommend using the Yireo SSL Redirection plugin, and when you install this it will mean that you can select an automatic setting to redirect all your non https links to be directed to https. This is your best option for making all your pages secure, or for specifically selecting certain pages that you want secure. This plugin actually works with all your joomla modules too, including virtuemart and others, and so you shouldn't get any more ssl errors coming up in joomla.

Secure Virtuemart SSL Store

Your Virtuemart store should now be nice and secure, and have the green padlock showing in the top bar. You should test and check your website on a few other browsers,and also on an old internet explorer version, you might just be surprised

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