Site migration to HTTPS: Google announced a few years ago that HTTPS is a ranking consideration that has motivated many website owners to switch their website to HTTPS. The announcement was made by Google back in 2014, and one can imagine that by now the whole internet has moved to HTTPS. But a report undertaken by SEJ found that, despite its many advantages, most websites have not moved to HTTPS. You’re probably one of them see-sawing between migration or not migrating feelings. It can help you make a decision and realise just how you profit from migration.
Why Turn to HTTPS & What is HTTPS?
HTTP was a means to share information on the internet. By default, websites only have an HTTP (HyperText Transmission Protocol) licence, where all messages are transmitted in plain text. For sharing confidential data such as user credentials and financial records, HTTP is not recommended. In HTTPS (HyperText Transmission Protocol Secure), information sharing takes place in an encrypted format, thereby making it possible for confidential information to be passed on. Let’s look at the three big advantages driven by a domain owner from site conversion to HTTPS-
Just websites or pages carrying out money purchases were obliged to use it prior to Google’s campaign to make the internet more secure by using HTTPS. Yet hackers, whether using a vulnerable plugin or stealing the user credentials, are still on the lookout for ways to break a website. Therefore, stealing the data is one of the big drives behind several website security violations (recommended reading-Learn to Fix Hacked Website). Every website has information that is specific to that website. They will sell this information to the highest bidder or for ransom money to blackmail the site owner. In comparison, today’s hackers don’t discriminate between large sites and small ones. Hackers actually tend to go after tiny websites mainly because tiny websites are lax in their security and therefore easier to hack. Therefore, switching to HTTPS would offer the much needed improvement to the protection of your platform regardless of the scale of your websites. Your login credentials are secured until HTTPS is encrypted, which ensures that even if an attacker happens to intercept your login information, it will be difficult to decipher it.
Improved SEO Rankings:
Many persons are using the internet now than ever. Every day, there are hundreds of thousands of articles and pages written. You’d like people to read it when you write a post online, and the best way to meet a vast amount of people is to be on the first page of the biggest search engine in the world, Google. Suppose you wrote a message to your website about the Facebook data fiasco. At the time of writing this, the Chrome extension Keywords Everywhere shows us that about 14,800 searches are performed on the keyword every month. When these users search Google using the ‘Facebook data controversy’ keywords, you would like them to find your article on the first page at the end. And you can only do that by knowing what variables are taken into account by Google in order to rate an article.
For guesswork, Google rating variables are still up and many industry professionals have spent years decoding these variables. It is unprecedented for Google to come forward and recognise a ranking factor. The explanation is that if website owners were aware of the rating variables, they would publish posts on average or below average and be able to rank on the first list. Google wants its customers to have the best results, top-notch posts that thoroughly and simply respond to their search query, which is why the search engine giant never discloses what variables it takes into account to rate a message. Therefore, the announcement by Google that HTTPS is a ranking factor is a huge deal, one you can’t ignore.
Another quite undervalued advantage of HTTPS site migration is that it helps create trust in the guests. In reality, 70% of shoppers said they would cancel their orders in a survey conducted on online shopping behaviour if they did not trust the website. In improving your online sales, a seal of confidence could go a long way. HTTPS is important because it helps the user to realise that the information they leave on the site is in secure hands. For e-commerce sites, building brand trust is particularly critical. Trust can help turn a frequent visitor into a purchaser. In addition, Google will label all HTTP pages as “not secure” from July 2018 onwards, which will certainly have a major effect on the confidence factor.
You’ll need to retrieve an SSL certificate to convert the domain to HTTPS. Let’s take a look at the various kinds of SSL certificates you can pick from.
Types of SSL Certificate
SSL stands for Layer for Stable Sockets. It will trigger the https protocol when mounted on your website server and a padlock will appear in front of your URL.
All types of SSL certificates are available to select from. Some are complimentary and others are paying. The paying ones come with more attributes and a more stringent method of authentication.
For WordPress websites, you can use any of the five forms of SSL certificates:
Free SSL Certificate
Many web host providers and retailers, such as SSL For Secure, Free SSL, LetsEncrypt, provide free SSL certificates with preconditions, such as having to update the certificate manually every 6 months or so.
Paid SSL Certificate
Users prefer to feel better if they use CA approved SSL re-sellers such as Cheap SSL Shop’s Paying or Trustworthy SSL certificates. Depending on the validation process, you will get three forms of SSL certificates: Domain Validated (DV), Organization-Validated (OV), and Extended-Validated (EV) with special warranty and validity dates. You may also receive SSL certificates for a single website from various CAs, such as RapidSSL, GeoTrust, Thawte, GlobalSign, etc.
Single Domain SSL Certificate
The credential can only be used on one domain, as the name suggests. In other words, a certificate issued by example.com would protect only example.com on all sites. It’s better to obtain it, unlike in the Corporate SSL credential, it does not require any documentation. Low costs and fast issues make one domain SSL certificate a common alternative for small to medium-sized websites.
Multi-Domain SSL Certificate
Using a single certificate, this type of certificate helps website owners to encrypt several domains. For example, assume that you have the following domains, such as-1.com, instance-2.com, and instance-3.com. All these domains can be protected by a single Multi-Domain SSL Certificate (MDC).
Extended SSL Certificate
Issued within 3-4 working days, the maximum security standard is given by the extended SSL credential. As per the guidance set out by the Certificate Authority, it requires thorough background checks on the company. Since this special credential guarantees the highest level of compliance, banks and online retailers use it.
Wildcard SSL Certificate
It comes with the same attributes as a single-domain licence, but it not only secures a single domain, it also secures subdomains. This means that along with login.example.com, payments.example.com, anything-else.example.com, you can use the certificate to protect example.com. It’s fine for owners of pages that have multiple subdomains. It minimised the number of licences you will have to handle with a single expiry date.
Organization SSL Certificate
This form of certificate provides additional functionality and, prior to issuing the certificate, meets a stringent review process. It takes 2-3 working days for certain vendors to grant the SSL certificate.
What kind of SSL credential you need depends on the kind of website you own.
Step-by-Step Guide on Migrating Site to HTTPS
Your web hosting provider is the most popular means of purchasing the SSL licence. But we’d suggest taking copies of the website until we get into the process. When making the move from HTTP to HTTPS, we learnt about websites crashing. In a jiffy, a good backup service would help you to restore your site. Ideally, if you have your site on a well-known web host service, you should not face any problems, but let’s not take any risks. You need to take the steps below after you have made backups for your site:
Step 1: Log in and go to the cPanel for your web hosting.
Step 2: There should be an option for SSL certificate. Select that.
Any type of method of authentication may be required. When you get past that, you can see the SSL certificate appear in the form of a padlock in front of your website URL.
There is one big thing that remains to be done since moving to HTTPS:
Internal and External Links update
Upon web conversion to HTTPS, all internal and external links must be updated. Internal links are those that lead to another page of the same website from one page of your website. And external links are links that are posted in social media accounts, directory listings, and websites that provide links to the website. Adjust the connections to social media as well as the listing of the directories. Reach out to users who have connected to your site and ask them to overwrite the link with a modified one.
Say, the URL for your blog has updated to https://example.com from http://example.com. This means you have updated all the URLs of your pages and blogs.
If you published a post on your blog before downloading SSL, it looks like this one is http://example.com/post-published and looks like this one is https://example.com/post-published after the installation.
Suppose you’ve exchanged the previous link with others and they’ll see a 404 error if they attempt to open the link now (page not found).
Therefore, you need to update all the HTTPS site migration links. You can manually redirect the URL, but manual redirection is inefficient for major websites with hundreds of published posts. In that case, using a platform like Very Easy SSL would come in handy. It is free and configures your website to run over https along with all its posts and pages.
The advantages of site conversion to HTTPS are various. We hope you’re able to see that and even make a switch to HTTPS with the help of this post. Thanking you for reading.