SSL technology is a ubiquitous standard in web traffic encryption that’s used across millions of websites today.
You’ve heard that SSL is important and you know you need to add it to your site, but all the tech mumbo-jumbo sounds hard to navigate.
Don’t worry—securing your site only takes a few quick steps. Let’s jump in.
What is An SSL Certificate?
SSL—Secure Socket Layer—is a type of security that’s used to protect data as it moves between your computer and the internet. It works by encrypting the information exchanged between the two parties, preventing it from being read by anyone else, including people on the same network.
With HTTPS, all of your website traffic and content is secure.
When a user is browsing your website, their activity is encrypted as they go from one page on your website to another.
This means customers aren’t putting their personal information at risk.
When you register your domain name, you should get an SSL certificate to make sure that customers are as protected as possible on your site.
What Are The Benefits Of Having An SSL Certificate On Your Shopify Store?
SSL certificates are an important standard when it comes to online security and building customer trust.
When you’re logged into an unsecured website, traffic is vulnerable to hackers who could potentially steal your passwords, credit card numbers, and checkout page data, for example.
The padlock icon is an indication that the site is secure and that the information that’s being transmitted to and from your whole sitemap is safe.
When customers see the padlock icon in their browser next to your site’s URL, they can be confident that their personal info isn’t at risk when they checkout with your business.
Google Search has also made it clear that encrypting your website is critically important for ranking in search engines.
Google even published a detailed page about HTTPS and site ranking, identifying SSL encryption as a definitive rank factor and offering some other security best practices to boost SEO for your sales business.
Optimizing for Google search also gives your business more visibility and sets a positive example for new visitors.
Between boosting your sales and making Google Search happy, there’s no reason not to protect content across all of your domains by moving from HTTP to HTTPS.
Does Shopify Provide Free SSL Certificates?
They sure do!
Shopify has made it easy for merchants to encrypt their online stores with SSL certificates.
By offering free SSL certificates for any Shopify store, they’re ensuring that every online shopper is protected from data theft.
With just a few clicks, you can migrate all of your Shopify-hosted store pages to the more secure HTTPS protocol.
All you have to do is activate it to switch your sites to HTTPS instead of HTTP.
How To Add SSL To Shopify
When you log in to a newly-created online store, Shopify automatically issues and installs SSL certificates across each URL once your domain is connected.
Assuming your host and any CDNs you use are also using SSL, your SSL certificates will validate and your online store will be secure.
Then you’ll need to update your HTTP sitemap. I’ve written a quick tutorial on how to create a Shopify sitemap if you’ve never made an HTTP sitemap before.
You can verify whether the SSL certification went through by navigating around your site and checking that each URL shows the prefix HTTPS instead of HTTP.
If they don’t, you won’t see the padlock icon in the browser.
Content errors, domain misconfiguration, and site refresh delays can cause your SSL encryption to fail.
If Shopify’s free SSL certificate isn’t loading on your online store, you’ll see a warning on the site that says SSL Unavailable or SSL Pending.
What Does SSL Unavailable Mean On Your Shopify Store?
The SSL Unavailable error in the Shopify admin center means what it says—SSL isn’t available for use on your site. This doesn’t mean you can’t use the free Shopify encryption. It means some part of your domain’s configuration or your site’s content isn’t secure so Shopify can’t issue you an SSL certificate.
There are several reasons your domain or content delivery services might be failing to establish a secure connection, but most often there’s a simple configuration issue you can fix to get your online store into SSL-worthy shape.
How To Fix SSL Unavailable On Your Shopify Store
- Give It 48 Hours
- Fix Your Domain Record
- Remove IPv6 Records
- Remove (Or Alter) CAA Records
SSL Unavailable is a Shopify error rather than a web browser error.
When SSL is unavailable, shoppers won’t notice unless they know to look for the padlock icon in their web browsers.
Since SSL content is crucial to a secure shopping experience, fix the problem right away if you ever see this error appear on your Shopify settings page or webmaster tools.
1. Give It 48 Hours
After you make any changes to your custom domain or web server your SSL certificates have to be renewed and re-verified.
It can take up to 48 hours for HTTPS encryption to fully distribute and install on your site.
This 2-day period applies from the time you create your site, and you’ll have to wait again if you have to perform any of the following steps.
2. Fix Your Domain Record
When you create your custom domain through Shopify, Shopify automatically adds your custom domain to your Shopify admin panel and configures it for you.
But if you didn’t create your custom domain through Shopify, then you will need to add your custom domain yourself.
Check whether or not your A record is pointing at Shopify’s IP address: 188.8.131.52
If you’re using CNAME entries, they should aim at: shops.myshopify.com
Also, you can’t use multiple A records for one domain, so if you have any extra A record entries it’ll trigger the SSL Unavailable error in Shopify.
3. Remove IPv6 Records
While IPv6 (AAAA) records are a valid type of A record, they’re completely irrelevant to Shopify’s web hosting and can trip up HTTPS encryption.
Stick to IPv4 A records to ensure you can get the HTTPS URL prefix for your business.
4. Remove (Or Alter) CAA Records
I recommend that you don’t use CAA records since they’re an unnecessary extra step that can confuse Shopify’s HTTPS encryption.
If you have to use CAA records, make sure each record includes certificate authorities for digicert.com, globalsign.com, and letsencrypt.org.
These certificate authorities are the third-party services that verify that a given HTTPS certificate is valid and hasn’t been revoked.
How To Fix Pending SSL Certificate On Your Shopify Store
- Check Your A Name Records
- Fix Your CNAME Records
- Let It Propagate
SSL Pending is a bit different—it means that SSL has been activated for your stores but Shopify hasn’t verified your server and content yet to ensure it complies with the encryption protocol.
1. Check Your A Name Records
If all other aspects of your DNS configuration are correct but your A records are out of whack, you’ll see SSL Pending instead of SSL Unavailable.
This means Shopify is ready and waiting to authorize SSL on your server as soon as it picks up your domain.
Correct your A records to point at Shopify’s IP address: 184.108.40.206
Contact the host for your domains if you need help using their webmaster tools to configure these records for your websites.
2. Fix Your CNAME Records
A CNAME is a special record that maps one domain’s DNS records to another domain’s records.
Change your Shopify-specific CNAME record to point to: shops.myshopify.com
The CNAME record should always point to a domain name, never to an IP address.
3. Let It Propagate
Whichever error you’re seeing, the rules are the same—it’ll take up to 48 hours for any changes to your domains to fully propagate to each storefront in your business.
Wait at least two days before contacting your third-party host admin support, Shopify support communications, or an IT service for help with securing your storefront.