As a rule whenever i develop a website I go with https right from the onset. It’s so much easier than switching a site over down the road. But that isn’t going to matter much soon because in case you haven’t become aware of it, Google is now showing warning signs on any and all websites for non-secure (http) we pages that have search implemented within the coding structure.
So why do so many wait so long to switch – Confusion and Fear
Recent online reporting shows that “Many people mistakenly think that ‘making your site secure’ means simply buying an SSL certificate and you’re done. That’s not the case.” Unfortunately, switching to a secure site involves more than just purchasing a certificate. It is a technical process that requires a lot of steps and a large investment of time and planning.
Here are just a few of the things you need to do to move from HTTP to HTTPS if you have a WordPress site:
- Database pattern changes: All instances of database entries containing the string pattern “http://” must be changed to “https://”.
CSS/PHP hard-coded http:// patterns: There may be instances where codes in CSS and PHP files have hard-coded http:// strings instead of variables representing the transfer protocol. These may need to be manually edited and uploaded back to the server for the site to function properly.
- .htaccess mod-rewrite: The .htaccess file is where instructions are written and tells the server how to handle URL strings.
- .htaccess 301: 301 redirects are placed in the .htaccess file in old/new URL pairs separated by new lines for each entry.
- SSL certificate change, server config, WordPress config: Log into the domain host, select the certificate that changes the IP address of the website, ensure the server is properly configured for the change, modify any settings in WordPress and install an SSL plugin.
- Domain propagation/resource monitoring: This involves watching for the domain change to fully propagate (go live) — which could take up to 48 hours — and checking the website for resources (images, links and so on) that fail to reflect the change to the https:// protocol. Images and files that fail to reflect the change (hyperlinked, hard-coded resources) will generate errors.
So, what’s the verdict? A tad bit of a quandary are we now?
Even though it seems like a complete nightmare to switch to HTTPS, Google is going to continue showing warning flags to searchers. The average searcher likely has no idea what HTTP and HTTPS means, but if Google says a site isn’t secure, chances are they’ll leave your site faster than greased lightning.
HTTPS isn’t easy, but it’s becoming a necessity.