Moving my WordPress website to https
If you are like me, and your own “Webmaster” building and managing your own site, you will be aware about the need for websites to be https compliant with an SSL certificate. Google recen stated that https compliant websites are preferred by their search engine. The move by Google is to ensure website traffic is safe and transferred data is secure. For online businesses, this is essential. Now is the time for the micro-business websites to ensure they are https compliant. Here’s how I did it.
This issue was raised from Google’s move last year prefer SSL secure websites and to warn internet users when they visit a website which is not secure. It is now very important for website owners to have secure site. Not only from a visitor’s perspective when your sell products from your site. Visitor’s need to know that their information when transferred across the internet, is safe.
It is also important from an SEO perspective. If you site does not have an SSL certificate, then it will be very difficult to rank in google searches. Google says there are/will be benefits for websites which have switched to https with an SLL certificate. Initially, I was concerned about how I would ensure https was enabled for several websites. As it turns out, it is not all that difficult to do.
It’s like an encrypted Handshake
Very simply, an SSL certificate creates an encrypted ‘handshake’ between your website and a visitor’s web browser. This ensures when data such as payment or login information is transferred, there is high-level encryption of this data to protect it. Webpages and websites which are SSL compliant will display a padlock the browser address bar.
I am in the process of ensuring my website is SSL secure. I moved host earlier this year and ensured the host included SSL certificates for websites as part of the hosting plan.
My website is built on the WordPress platform using BeaverBuilder. I am now going through the process of ensuring my website is secure. Even though I have the SSL certificate for the website, the website was built prior to enabling the SSL, so I need to migrate url’s and issue 301 redirects.
Really Simple SLL
First, ensure you have a complete backup of your website. This can be done through your hosting provider. To migrate over the SSL I am using the plugin Really Simple SSL. There are two versions – a free and a pro.
I am using the free version. The plugin will scan my website and ensure all content (pages) are SSL compliant. This includes looking for mixed content pages and rectifying, check the SSL certificate, set wordpress redirects from http to https, set wordpress to use https in urls, look for url’s from insecure sources and attempt to fix them.
Being SSL Compliant
Alternatively, migrating to an SSL compliant website can be achieved via modifying such files as the .httaccess file, config file, directly on the server (be careful/not recommended). Or by using an app such as Atomand debugging, modifying, testing and uploading the changed files as needed. I am comfortable working this way with modifying code.This way is a more complete and controllable solution for those who can work this way. For the sake of time (and curiosity) I have gone with the automated plugin method.
The install appears to work well, although there are some extra features available in the pro version such as secure cookie settings and http Strict Transport Security.
Importantly, the padlock is now displayed for my website.
I did get a message the mixed content fixer is active, although not on the front page. However, after about 10 minutes the issue resolved itself. All other pages appear to be SSL secure and verified.
Other WordPress Plugins to examine
There are some other plugins in WordPress which need to be adjusted. My Yoast SEO profile needed to be updated and re-re-verified with Google Search Console.
Google Webmaster Tools and Analytics
To complete the process I have to change my settings in google analytics and webmaster tools.
This requires updating url’s in Google Search Console. Furthermore, I need to verify I am the owner of the new urls in Google search console. A new xml site map submission may also be needed.
Subsequently, updating url settings in Google analytics is required. Updating the Property Settings and the View Settings ensures Google is collecting the correct and relevant data which is important if you are utilising Google.
The roll-over of these things takes time for Google to process. Google sends emails to the property owner when you make changes and updated and these emails include links to next steps to complete.
I am familiar and have been using Google analytics for various websites for about 10 years. Over this time the display, navigation, and layout of Google tools has changed, however, it is quite easy to find you way through this and update the url’s and other settings.
Overall, the process was simple and importantly, my shop and contact pages are secure so potential customers can be assured their data is sent over the internet securely.
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