At the beginning of this year, I moved about five websites from HTTP to HTTPS.
And have found out that there is no standard manual for it.
It often differs per hosting party. And by website.
Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes not. One of my websites crashed completely.
Luckily I had a good backup
It is custom-made and requires a precise step-by-step plan.
Why from HTTP to HTTPS?
This year, many websites are switching from HTTP to HTTPS. Google and other search engines have announced that they will give priority to websites with an SSL certificate in the search results.
But an SSL connection also provides more security. This is also a reason to switch.
With the SSL protocol, you can send encrypted data (read: more securely) over the internet. This means that only the recipient to whom you send something can view the content of the data.
It’s an extra safeguard against malicious parties who want to steal data or content from you.
Requesting an SSL certificate
With your hosting provider, you can arrange a secure connection for your website by requesting an SSL certificate.
There are three options to choose from:
1. The most commonly used certificate for private individuals is a Domain Validation certificate. These are often requested by private individuals for the website. This certificate is the cheapest (or even free of charge…) and when you request it, it only checks whether the applicant has the domain in question.
2. You can also get an Organization Validation certificate. With this certificate, your company name is included in the certificate, although this is not reflected in the URL. This type of certificate is often requested by medium-sized companies.
3. The Extended Validation certificate shows your company name in the address bar of the browser. This creates even more trust and is used for online stores and larger companies.
After you have made your choice, order the certificate from your hosting party.
This is often self-evident. In the dashboard of your hosting party, you can often order the SSL certificate by entering your data and pressing the Agree button.
After that, I would contact the support department of your hosting party.
They often know how to switch from HTTP to HTTPS.
You also have good manuals on the internet, such as Webtalis. But if you read it like that, you’ll find that it’s quite technical and many people don’t manage it on their own.
And practice teaches us that every situation is different.
I host at Antagonist myself and for example, I had to select a certain setting on the servers.
At HostingtoGo you can do it this way.
At Strato, there were other settings that needed to be configured.
At Siteground there is a possibility to switch to https in one click. But also here it’s wise to contact the helpdesk. They will be happy to help you.
You will notice it; there are several roads to Rome.
If you want to switch from HTTP to HTTPS, there is another important step you need to take. All pages, messages but also images are still in the content management system of WordPress with HTTP. And this must also be done in the database of your website.
These URLs all have to start with HTTPS.
So you have to force the whole website to HTTPS, just as it is called.
The best way to do that is with a plugin. The Dutchman Rogier Lankhorst has developed a good plugin for this purpose: Really Simple SSL.
If you want to get support, you can also take the paid version and then you will get support.
The plugin ensures that the old HTTP pages with a 301 are redirected to the HTTPS pages.
Google Analytics and Search Console
If your pages are switched to HTTPS, you will see that the search results in Google Analytics will suddenly drop dramatically!
So you still have to make an adjustment in Google Analytics.
You go to the management options of Google Analytics and in > property settings you can in > default URL change the HTTP to HTTPS.
You also need to make an adjustment in the Google Search Console.
You have to create a new account for your website with HTTPS.
You just leave the existing account with HTTP, so you’ll have an account with HTTP and with HTTPS.
Website loading time
Does a secure SSL connection also slow the website down a bit? Yes, although it has little effect. The visitor’s browser and the web server need to establish a secure connection, which takes some extra time.
However, this disadvantage does not outweigh the advantages of a secure connection, higher search results in Google and more trust among visitors.
If you want to provide a safe environment for your visitors, then it’s good to switch from HTTP to HTTPS. Securing an existing website with an SSL certificate; that’s quite a challenge.
If you don’t dare to do it yourself, call in an expert who can guide you.
When you start a new website, it’s a good idea to apply for an SSL certificate right away.
It is the future and this is easier: you won’t have any hassle with transferring from HTTP to HTTPS.
Do you want to switch to HTTPS, but you don’t dare to do it? Let me know!