So, you have set up your Shopify store, but you want to ensure that the data you exchange with your customers is safe from hackers. What should you do?
Shopify is one of the biggest e-commerce builders that can help you launch an online store without coding skills. SSL is one of the assurances that the data you exchange with your customers is safe and secure.
However, while setting up your website, you may encounter this error, “Shopify SSL pending”. This article will explain what Shopify SSL pending is, what causes it, and how to fix it.
SSL Certificate and its Importance
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a secure bridge that encrypts the data sent between a user’s browser and the server. Take this scenario: a customer signs up on your website, puts personal information, and sends it to your website’s server for processing.
An SSL certificate encrypts that data (making it unreadable) until it reaches the destination. This makes such data useless (unreadable) if someone hacks or gets access to the data during this exchange.
A website with a valid certificate will have a ‘lock’ sign just before its URL. This is a good example;
You can see the ‘lock’ sign just before the url.
If you click on the lock icon, you get this;
A website with an SSL will have HTTPS on its url instead of HTTP. For instance, if you have http://www.example.com, the URL changes to https://www.example.com when you enable an SSL certificate.
Such a website will have an SSL certificate, a data file hosted on the site’s servers. Such a certificate contains the website’s public key, identity, and related information.
All the devices that intend to communicate with the origin server will reference the SSL certificate to obtain the public key and verify the server’s identity.
A typical SSL certificate will have a public and private key. Once the data between a browser is encrypted, a private key is needed to decrypt (unlock) it once it reaches the destination.
How Does an SSL Certificate Work?
A connection between a browser and a server with an SSL certificate works as follows;
A server or a browser attempts to connect to a website secured by SSL
The server/ browser prompts the website to identify itself
The server or browser receives a copy of the SSL certificate from the website
The server/ browser checks the certificate and signals the website if it is valid
The website sends a digitally signed acknowledgment, starting an encrypted session
The website shares encrypted data with the browser/server
Benefits of using SSL on a Website
Data privacy: An SSL certificate ensures that data exchanged between a user’s browser and your site’s servers is encrypted, protecting the data from unauthorized access.
Users will trust your site: Most modern browsers warn users whenever they want to connect to a site without an SSL. As such, having a secure connection boosts your website’s reputation among visitors.
Ensures compliance with data regulations: Data privacy has become a big concern lately. SSL certificates allow websites to comply with data processing regulations that require website owners to protect consumers’ data from unauthorized access.
How to Enable SSL on Shopify
Shopify has over 1.75 million merchants from different parts of the world. It is also estimated that over 3.76 million live websites use Shopify.
A lot of data is exchanged between a Shopify store and a user’s/ buyer’s browser. Luckily, Shopify provides free SSL certificates when you create an online store. However, you can’t use third-party SSL certificates on your Shopify store.
Shopify automatically issues SSL certificates to all assets it hosts on myshopify.com domain. The platform will also issue an SSL certificate when you purchase a custom domain like Rosepicks.com on Shopify.
If you have a custom domain from platforms like Namecheap or GoDaddy, you must connect them manually to your Shopify store and enable the SSL certificate. These are the steps to follow;
Go to your Shopify dashboard, then settings, and click “Domains” and then “Connect existing domain”.
Input the URL of your domain
Follow the setting instructions and connect to your domain provider. The instructions on connecting Shopify to your domain provider will vary from one provider to another.
An SSL certificate will take up to 48 hours to appear on your Shopify store.
What Causes the “Shopify SSL Pending” Issue
Shopify SSL pending indicates that the SSL certificate has been issued, but the DNS servers are yet to be updated. The servers take the SSL pending time to determine if you have followed the right configuration steps.
These are the possible causes of the SSL pending error;
Domain verification error: This mostly happens when using a third-party domain.
Issue with DNS settings: You may not have configured the DNS settings as expected.
Temporal glitch on Shopify’s system: Like any other online system, Shopify can have an issue.
Misconfiguration of your Shopify store: You may have missed a step during configuration.
An issue with the SSL certificate itself
Methods of Fixing Shopify SSL Pending Issue
You might become frustrated when you see the “SSL pending” message on your Shopify store. Luckily, there are several approaches you can use to solve this error;
#1. Wait for 48 hours
Even though Shopify issues an SSL certificate in seconds, it may take up to 48 hours before the DNS records update globally. If the issue is unresolved, you can opt for the following options.
#2. Fix domain record
This error mostly happens with custom domains. Your A record should always point to 18.104.22.168, Shopify’s IP address. Login into your domain registrar and click on the ‘Edit DNS’ option to confirm if the configuration is as expected. You also ensure that you only have one A record associated with your domain.
#3. Fix CNAME records
You should reference the domain name of your Shopify store with a CNAME record and not an IP address. The CNAME should point to a Shopify-specific CNAME (shops.myshopify.com)
#4. Replace IPv6 with IPv4
IPv6 (AAAA) records are valid Address (A) records. However, Shopify does not support IPv6 records. Having them may result in issues, which you can resolve by adding IPv4 records.
#5. Seek help
You can seek help if you try all these approaches and the issue persists. You can seek help from Shopify, the domain registrar or an IT firm.
What is the importance of SSL in Shopify?
The major purpose of an SSL certificate is to encrypt the data exchanged between browsers and the website’s servers, protecting users’ data from hackers and third parties. An SSL certificate also assures users that their data is protected.
What is Shopify SSL pending?
This is a situation where the SSL has been issued, but the DNS settings are yet to be updated. An SSL certificate can be issued within seconds, but it takes up to 48 hours for the records to be updated.
What causes SSL Pending error?
Issues like a domain verification error, a misconfiguration error or an issue with the SSL certificate itself might cause this error. Sometimes, this error clears itself within 48 hours.
How can you resolve the SSL pending error?
There exist several approaches. The first approach is to wait 48 hours for DNS properties to propagate. If that does not solve, you can check your A records, CNAME or contact support to resolve this issue.
Does Shopify charge for SSL certificates?
No. All the SSL certificates issued on Shopify are free.
Can you use third-party SSL on Shopify?
No. Shopify does not allow third-party, and you can only use what is provided on the platform.
Can you use third-party domains on Shopify?
Yes. Go to the ‘Settings’ tab on your Shopify dashboard and click ‘Connect’. You can connect domains from platforms like Namecheap or GoDaddy with your Shopify store. The platform also allows you to transfer your domain name to Shopify.
Must you transfer domain names to Shopify to start using it?
No. You can connect your domain to Shopify instead of transferring. This approach makes it easy to manage your domains away from Shopify. Moving away from Shopify will also be easy if you want to cut ties with Shopify. However, you must prove ownership of the domain you want to connect to Shopify.
Can you launch a Shopify site without SSL?
Yes. However, it is not advisable because some modern browsers block users from accessing sites without an SSL certificate. Just activate the SSL certificate on your Shopify site to show your store’s visitors that you are reputable and care about their data safety.
An SSL certificate on your Shopify store guarantees users that their data is exchanged over a secure connection. You no longer have to worry when encountering the ‘SSL pending’ error on your store as you understand the causes and how to fix it. You can wait for 48 hours to see if the issue will go away on its own or if you need other approaches.
Narendra Mohan Mittal
Narendra Mohan Mittal is a Senior Digital Branding Strategist and Content Editor with over 12 years of versatile experience. He holds an M-Tech (Gold Medalist) and B-Tech (Gold Medalist) in Computer Science & Engineering.