Practical WordPress Development

Really Simple SSL For WordPress

SSL for WordPress is one of those topics that’s been a bit of a big deal (at least regarding being a point of discussion) ever since Google announced they were going to be using it as a signal for ranking.

For these reasons, over the past few months we’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search ranking algorithms.

If you’re not a technical user, then the idea of setting up SSL on your site has to be a pain. Purchasing a domain, pointing nameservers, and hooking everything up to a hosting account is already enough to get people frustrated (and rightly so).

And though this post isn’t necessarily about setting up SSL (perhaps I’ll cover it in the future as I’m a big fan of Let’s Encrypt for some of my latest projects), it is about arguably one of the best plugins I’ve found for quickly making sure your WordPress site is set up once you have a certificate installed.

Really Simple SSL for WordPress

Though the WordPress plugin repository is replete with a variety of SSL-based plugins (and I’ve given several of them a fair shake), one that I am confident in recommending to others is Really Simple SSL for WordPress.

SSL for WordPress

This plugin is about as turnkey as configuring your site can be. Straight from the repository:

No setup required! You only need an SSL certificate, and this plugin will do the rest.

And it really does. Some of the features include:

  • Simple installation and activation (and then you’re good to go)
  • Debug mode for those who are a bit more technical
  • Uses both htaccess or JavaScript to route requests (depending on your setup)
  • Insecure content reference is parsed and fixed automatically

In fact, here’s what it looks like running on The First Version:

Really Simple SSL for WordPress installed

From the perspective of a WordPress developer, I specifically appreciate:

  • The fact that it doesn’t add yet another menu item. Instead, it adds itself to the Settings menu.
  • It gives clear, visual indicators as to if it’s working or not.
  • If you’re unsure about something, it has documentation to explain what something is about.
  • It offers an optional debug mode that you can turn on to review whatever may be causing you problems.

Of course, there’s more, but those a few of the things that seem harder to come by in many plugins. It’s nice to see something built that follows more of “the WordPress way” of doing things.

Anyway, assuming you’ve gone through the process of obtaining an SSL certificate, installed it, and are now looking for how to configure your website, this plugin is one of your best bets.


  1. Eric Dye

    I’ll have to take a look at this. I’ve been considering taking my blog to full SSL, not just the admin side.

    • Tom

      Before using it, I recommend looking at Once you’ve got the certificate installed, then install this plugin.

      That flow works great, IMHO.

  2. Jason Lemieux

    Thanks for the nice find, Tom. Bookmarked.

  3. Darren

    Why not take your admin side to SSL? imo if one is going to use SSL its to your benefit to secure your entire site, not just partially. Having SSL on your frontend but not your backend is kinda like putting putting locks on your house doors but never locking them.

    • Tom

      It’s pretty easy to go ahead and enable SSL for the admin in WordPress. Three things worth looking into is:

      When it comes to the admin, there may be insecure elements depending on the plugins you’re using and where they are getting their resources, but it’s not something worth avoiding (I didn’t mean to imply otherwise, if I did — you can even see it running in the admin in my screenshot :).

  4. Darren

    Hi Tom,

    My comment was in reply to Eric’s comment but for some reason the threaded replies doesn’t seem to be working (I click reply on the comment I want to reply to)

    • Darren

      duh and just re-read and realized Eric seems to be saying he already HAS his admin secured. The only reason I piped up is because it baffles me whenever I see people talk about only securing part of their site. There was a time (a while ago) where it kinda made sense because SSL slowed things down, but not anymore.

  5. Jeff Reifman

    Interesting. Does it work with Varnish, my guess is no?

    • Tom

      I’m not sure — I’ve never actually tried it with Apache nor Nginx and Varnish, TBH.

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