This happens on the GrowBig account this weekend. Their documentation says the Let’s Encrypt SSL (without wildcard) should take effect immediately. Here’s the link to the doc which says it.

It’s doesn’t work

It’s doesn’t work in my case. The popup says the Let’s Encrypt SSL has successfully installed. But after waiting for almost 24 hours, the SSL is not there. The domain is not accessible through https.

The story

Let’s go back to how I get into this situation. One of my clients asks me to set up another WordPress site on his account. His SiteGround account is on GrowBig plan.

But he buys the domain somewhere else. Therefore, I only need to point out that domain to Siteground using the record. It works perfectly at this point.

That domain is showing on the SiteGround dashboard in seconds. 

The client asks to set up this new domain with a new WordPress site with SSL. So, it makes sense to set up the https for the domain first.

It’s the second domain on Siteground. There’s another WordPress site which is using the primary domain on Siteground. It’s been running for years without any problem. 

I am sure this won’t be a problem. The SiteGround account is on GrowBig plan. That plan allows us to host Unlimited websites. Here is the reference.

The problem begins

When I open the cPanel, I see the Let’s Encrypt icon. I click it and see the primary domain (the previous one) is already using the SSL. At this point, I only need to set up for this second domain. 

The user interface is clear. I only need to choose the domain. Then, click the Install button. And, here’s the popup after I click it.

Their documentation says the installation will take effect immediately. It’s not happening here. So I decided to give a try their live chat feature. 

Live chat is waiting forever

They provide live chat channel. It says the waiting time is 5 mins. Not very long. I decided to try and wait at this point.

I don’t see any agent answers after 15 minutes. Tired of waiting, I close the window and try again. Now it says that I am already on another chat so I can’t open a new one.

Go through the support ticket

I try to create a support ticket for the problem because of the live chat failed. Here’s the initial response.

There are currently too many unsuccessful issuing attempts. The time out is usually around an hour.
Once that time has passed we will attempt to install the certificate and update you on the matter.

It looks like they have a problem with setting up Let’s Encrypt SSL for the new domain. There’s still no more updates after two hours have passed.

The site with the primary domain is down!

They give me another problem instead of solving the Let’s Encrypt problem. The site that’s using the primary domain is suddenly down. 

Because it’s down at the time when there are many visitors are visiting the site, I have no choice but to open another ticket.

They get it up after 25 minutes downtime. Their reasoning this time is: Your PHP version had to be adjusted to PHP 7.1.6

But, that site never gets down for years. It’s suddenly down some minutes after I open a ticket to fix the Let’s Encrypt SSL issue on the second domain. Is it just a coincidence? I don’t know.

Updates on SSL problem

They update the outstanding ticket for Let’s Encrypt SSL problem several minutes later. They asked me to remove the two AAAA records for the domain. It causes failure to set up Let’s Encrypt SSL for the domain because they are using the IPv6.

I do their request. I remove those two records. Then, after making sure it has propagated and those records are not there, I try to set up the Let’s Encrypt SSL again.

Does it work now? Nope. It still failed this time. Since it’s already too late and it’s on weekend, I decide to try again tomorrow noon.

Finally, it is working

Almost 24 hours later, on Sunday afternoon, I get an e-mail from SiteGround for the ticket updates. I open that ticket and one of their staffs says the Let’s Encrypt SSL has installed correctly on the domain.

When I check it up, I confirm I can access that https://domain.com correctly.

Verdicts

It looks like the Let’s Encrypt SSL is not working well on SiteGround. At least, from what I’ve gone through, it’s not working immediately. For my case, it needs at least 48 hours to get it set up correctly. Probably, this is just for the second domain? Or anyone has the same experience for the primary domain?

Here are some threads about Let’s Encrypt problem with SiteGround: 

I found them when I fired up a search on Google with Let’s Encrypt Siteground keyword.

The take away for you

When you set up Let’s Encrypt SSL on SiteGround, make sure there are no DNS records that are using IPv6 format. SiteGround support staff tells me they don’t support IPv6 records at the time I write this.

Their service has declined?

I hope not. However, I just read two comments below. Both are saying the similar thing about the capability of their support.

2 thoughts on “My story of setting up Let’s Encrypt SSL on SiteGround”

  1. Hello Kevin,

    We want to apologize for the additional time needed to install Let’s Encrypt on a secondary domain of your account and the inconvenience this has caused you.
    We were sorry that the issue you encountered coincided with a high load of support requests on our chat that prevented you from reaching our team for help earlier. 



    We reviewed your case and we wanted to add some clarifications to the points you have raised. We want to assure you that the process for installing Let’s Encrypt certificates works normally and we have a dedicated team that monitors that at all times. As it turned out in the investigation of our techs there were some settings that needed to be removed in your case in order for the installation to be completed successfully. We can see in the time logs of your ticket that our support technicians resolved the certificate installation within a couple of hours after you reported the issue. Our team is available 24/7 so in case you notice any problems you can get in touch with us immediately without waiting extra time like you did with the certificate installation, and we will do our best to help sort out the issue.



    We also wanted to assure you that the short downtime you experienced on your primary domain was in no way related to the process of issuing the Let’s Encrypt for the second domain. We’re glad that we were able to sort out this problem quickly and bring the website back online.

    Regards,
    SiteGround Team

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