How To Fix Bluehost Free SSL Certificate Unavailable Error

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.


  1. Thanks so much. Simple and it worked. I followed these instructions after Bluehost tech support claimed my issue was fixed, I waited the appropriate propagation time, and it wasn’t fixed. Thanks for helping me take matters into my own hands without breaking my website!

  2. Thank you so much! Your step-by-step instructions were very easy to follow and I was able to fix my issue.

  3. Thank you for the info. Had this problem for a long time, didn’t know this simple trick could fix it in a minute. The simple SSL worked like a charm. Thank you again.

  4. Hi Kerry

    My problem has unfortunately not been resolved. I still have the SSL showing as unavailable and actually can’t access the website either nor WordPress. Instead I get error 520, 525 or 526! I only set up the site 24 hours ago so not sure if that is the reason why but any help you could provide would be much appreciated! Wayne

    1. Hi Wayne,

      At what stage in the process did the error happen.

      When you changed the url to https or when you activated the Really Simple SSL plugin ?

      Let me know if you haven’t got it fixed already.

      Kind Regards,

  5. Thanks very much Kerry! You helped me update my site to SSL without having to pay someone oodles of cash to do it. I hope that you continue to publish great content and that you do well 🙂 Cheers. Richard.

    1. Thank you Richard.

      Pleased to here the tutorial helped you.

      Kind Regards,

  6. THANK YOU! Actually I only had to complete step 1. The 301 automatically redirected. I can’t believe this information isn’t available (or findable) on the Bluehost website.

  7. Hi Kerry,

    just tried to amended the ssl certificate as show above and it doesn’t seem to be working. the really simple ssl doesn’t seem to be working i get loads of errors on the settings page. not sure what it maybe as i followed all steps.


    1. Hi Dylan,

      Are the errors showing on the front end of your site or just in the admin area.

      I can’t say for sure without seeing the errors what’s happening. But my first thought is the plugin may be conflicting with other plugin functionality on your site. In which case, error messages are usually seen in the WordPress dashboard. Can you tell me more about the errors?

      Kind Regards,

      1. Hi Kerry,

        when activated my webpage wouldn’t load. I have now deactivated the plugin and changed back the https to http and all working fine. but site remains unsecure.

        Error was showing in the settings area of the plugin, had the first 4 set up features with the exclamation mark and yellow triangle.


  8. Alex Burton says:

    You’re a life saver :,).

  9. thank you so much. all worked perfectly.
    also, in Bluehost portal, does the ‘unknown’ error ever get fixed once the SSL is updated as mentioned above ?

    1. You’re welcome Rajat.

      The Unknown message never goes away inside your Bluehost account, even after the issue is fixed using the steps in this post.


  10. Thank you Kerry. This was the most helpful instruction I have found. It fixed my issue immediately! Now I can mark this task off of my list!

  11. Thank you for this tutorial. It was very easy to follow and helped. The SSL certificate on Blue Host is still showing unknown but at least my website is showing as secure now. I’m not sure what else to do on the Blue Host end.

    1. Glad it helped Melissa 🙂 That’s right. It will still say unknown on Bluehost’s end, even when SSL is successfully added to your site.

  12. Thank you Kerry!! I’ve been trying to solve this problem for nearly a year now. Your post is EXACTLY what I needed. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    SSL still displays as “unknown” in Bluehost, but my site shows as secure in Chrome, works with https, etc.

  13. Thank you so much, Kerry – when you’re just a dabbler like me, any non-standard thing like this is horribly intimidating. I’ve been putting off the evil moment of searching for a fix… then I found your video. All is now fixed; your instructions were so clear and simple. Thanks a million!

    1. Glad it helped Lesley. 🙂 It’s little fixes like these that can eat up your time. If there’s anything else your struggling with right now, with WordPress, let me know. I’m here to help.

  14. OMG!! You saved me! I’ve tried forever, seeking help from others and your video got me thru. Thank you so much!! Wow!

  15. Wow thank you so much, this was exactly what I needed and your video was super easy to follow.

    I’d been stumped for a day on how to sort the SSL!

    1. You’re welcome Hannah. Good to know the video worked for you and saved you time.

  16. So so helpful. The first thing I’ve come across when making a website that actually worked exactly as you said it would, step by step, and also fixed another problem I had at the same time (couldn’t figure out how to use my domain on all pages instead of the WP ones but this fixed it). Very appreciative!!

  17. Thank you so much! Extremely helpful!

  18. Awesome video it worked like a charm. Thank you for sharing.

  19. I was super overwhelmed by making the change to https but you made it super easy! Thank you, this was super helpful!!

  20. Thank you so much for this video! It was super helpful and easy to follow 🙂

  21. Lawrence LaRocque says:

    Just wanted to say thank you. This was killing and spent the last two hours messing with it.

  22. Amazingly helpful video. Problem solved in no time at all. Thank you so much Kerry

  23. I followed your instructions which were super easy to understand – so thanks so much for that! Now, it’s doesn’t say “not secure” anymore but it has an “i” with your site is not fully secure… I don’t really know how to fix that 🙁

    My site is

    Thanks so much for your help!

      1. Hi Kerry,
        Thank you for the instructions. They were very helpful. However, after following them and installing the SSL Insecure Content Fixer I still am getting the “unknown” error. Any ideas what I could be missing?


        1. Hi Stephanie,

          Yes, that’s normal. Even after fixing the issue it still says unknown or unavailable. As long as the site is successfully redirecting to https though, all is good. 🙂

  24. Thank you for the video! I Had not come across a more thorough explanation for fixing my problem before I found your directions. Thanks again Kerry, you kept me from becoming very frustrated!

    1. Kerry Russell says:

      You’re very welcome Amber. I see you’ve got https working on your blog. Glad it helped 🙂

  25. I really appreciate this information very much. Your video was very straight-forward and fixed my issue. I am not currently a big fan of Bluehost. Thanks again.

    1. Kerry Russell says:

      Hi Perry, glad the video helped you. 🙂 Sorry to hear you’re not a big fan of Bluehost. Another host I recommend is SiteGround. The service cost more than Bluehost but the service is better.

      How long have you been using Bluehost?

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