How To Fix Bluehost Free SSL Certificate Unavailable Error

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After starting a WordPress blog on Bluehost, sometimes the SSL certificate functionality doesn’t work as intended. In this post, I will show you how to fix the Bluehost free ssl certificate unavailable or unknown error in two simple steps.

Activating your free ssl certificate from Bluehost should be as simple as flicking a button from off to on, as seen in the screenshot below.

But sometimes, the free ssl certificate shows as unavailable, or as unknown for some Bluehost users.

To fix the error, watch the step by step video below. Or, if you prefer to follow written instructions with screenshots, keep reading.

Step 1: Update Site URL Settings

First we need to manually update the Site URL in the settings tab of your Bluehost account.

So login to Bluehost. Go to My Sites >> Manage Site.

On the next screen select Settings. Then change http to https and click the Save Updates button.

Step 2: Add 301 HTTPS Redirect

Now, we need to setup a 301 redirect so that your domain name automatically goes from all variations (http, www, etc) to https when someone visits your website.

To do this we will use a plugin called Really Simple SSL. We could add the redirect manually, but that means editing the .htaccess file, and if done incorrectly, your blog will break. So a plugin is the simplest solution for everyone.

Login to your WordPress blog or website. Go to Plugins >> Add New.

Search for the Really Simple SSL plugin. If you need help installing and activating the plugin, here’s a step by step tutorial.

When the plugin is installed and activated you will see a new notice on your WordPress dashboard.

BEFORE you go ahead and click the blue button to activate ssl, if you haven’t done so already, I recommend making a backup of your site – just in case a conflict occurs. Once you’ve backed up, then activate SSL!

Once activated, you will see a success message, like the screenshot below.

Note: sometimes after clicking the activate button, you’ll be logged out of your site. Just log back in and continue.

Step 3: Enable .htaccess Redirect Option (Optional)

When you activated ssl using the Really Simple SSL plugin, by default the plugin enabled a WordPress redirect because .htaccess redirects can cause issues on some site setups, and if that happens you’ll be locked out of WordPress admin.

To be clear though, it’s very unlikely that will happen to you and if it does, it’s easily fixed. See instructions of how to fix it here.

And to clarify, WordPress redirects work fine for most sites, but a .htaccess redirect is good for site speed. So I recommend enabling this feature.

To enable it, go to Settings >> SSL

On the next screen, click Enable.

Then, turn the 301 .htaccess redirect on and the WordPress 301 redirect off. Save your changes.


I hope this article helped you fix the Bluehost free SSL certificate ‘unavailable’ or ‘unknown’ error. Let me know if it helped you in the comments box below.