Rewrite http:// to https://

HTTPS is a must for every website nowadays: Users are looking for the padlock when providing their details; Chrome and Firefox explicitly mark websites that provide forms on pages without HTTPS as being non-secure; it is an SEO ranking factor; and it has a serious impact on privacy in general.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure

In case you haven’t noticed, Google has begun showing warnings on non-secure (HTTP) web pages. When people see a warning like this coming from Google, it’s like Freddy Krueger jumping out of a closet — and they often get spooked and leave your site. Why have so many businesses put off switching to a secure site? One word: F-E-A-R. 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.

Overwhelmed? Even though it seems like a complete nightmare to switch to HTTPS, Google is going to continue showing warning flags to searchers. There’s a good chance 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. Don’t delay, make the switch today.