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Improvement: SSL Certificates

Dec 3, 2019 3:30:00 PM


Have you ever noticed the small lock icon next to the URL on certain websites? The lock icon indicates that the website is secure because it utilizes an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate.

What is SSL?

According to SSL.com, "SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and it's successor TLS (Transport Layer Security) are methods used to secure and encrypt sensitive information like credit cards, usernames, passwords, and other private data sent over the Internet. Website pages secured with SSL and TLS are those branded with the HTTPS in their URL address."

This has been an important level of security for online form submissions for a number of years, but has also recently started to affect SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for websites, which impacts where in search rankings your website will show up.

Church360° Unite and SSL Certificates

Church360° Unite has utilized SSL certificates for a while now to address security concerns. When a user signs in to a Church360° Unite website, they are directed to a page that is covered with a SSL certificate. That coverage continues throughout the duration of their session.

This was all accomplished by directing these users to a subdomain of 360unite.com (i.e. https://mychurch.360unite.com), even if your site utilized a custom domain (i.e. www.mychurch.com). This worked because the 360unite.com domain has an SSL certificate, but logged out sessions were not covered with an SSL certificate because many of them utilize a custom domain.

Introducing Custom Domain SSL Certificates

The Church360° team is excited to announce that beginning this week, we are rolling out SSL Certificates for custom domains. This means that you will soon be able direct users to your site with https:// rather than just http://.

For those churches with custom domains that are managed by CTS, you will not need to do anything; we'll update your host records before the end of the year.

For those churches who manage their own domains or utilize a 3rd party to manage them, you will have to update your host records in order for your site to utilize SSL (see instructions below).

It is important to note that for now, when you are signed in, it will still use the 360unite domain. Later in the spring, all sessions will default to using the custom domain, but we are waiting to do that until all users have updated their records for this new SSL (we don't want anyone to have broken links).

Instructions for Updating Host Records

If you manage your custom domain, follow these instructions to enable SSL on your website.

  1. Log in to your domain provider.
  2. Go to Host Records.
  3. Find the record with “www” that has a record type of “CNAME” pointing to:
  4. Change that to: [your subdomain].cname.360unite.com
  5. Save the changes.

Please note: you must make this change before March 30, 2020 in order to prevent potential broken links when all sessions default to SSL.

If you have any questions about enabling your SSL certificate, please contact our software support team at 
support@cts.cph.org or (800) 346-6120.

Peter Frank

Written by Peter Frank

Peter Frank is full-time student at Concordia Seminary who also serves part-time at Concordia Publishing House as the Digital Product Owner. His responsibilities include leading Concordia Technology Solutions (CTS), the church management software division. A graduate of Concordia University Wisconsin, his background in theology, business, and technology gives him a unique perspective on technology in the church. He is married and the father of two young children.