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Moving from HTTP to HTTPS: Everything you need

HTTPS is the industry standard protocol used for securely transmitting data over the internet, in this case, web page.

Entry to HTTPS website in the same manner as similar to an HTTP site, apart from the fact that all data is sent encrypted. When you visit a website with the https prefix you are “telling” the web server that you want to establish a secure communication path. HTTPS will use a different port (number 443) to ensure that all secure and nonsecure communications are kept separately.

Deciding whether to choose HTTP or HTTPS can be quite a daunting experience if you don’t understand the difference between the two. HTTP stands for hypertext transfer protocol, while HTTPS stands for hypertext transfer protocol secure. Google has recently revealed that they will improve rankings based on HTTPS, as it improves security, boosts ranking and increases referral data. There is a range of benefits to choosing HTTPS over HTTP, which should be explained in detail by your website developer, helping you identify the best method for your website in the future.

Benefits of migrating to HTTPS

Better Referral Data

It provides more referral data than an HTTP website, enabling you to identify where your traffic comes from. This can be beneficial when working out what areas to target to improve SEO success and to learn more about your potential customer base.

Security, Performance, and Trust

That ‘S’ at the end, adds extra layers of security to your website. Information on your site should be encrypted regardless of what that information is. Your usernames and passwords are important information as well as the content on your web pages – you should keep them secure and let your users know that their information will be protected.

SEO

We all know that Google is always updating their complex algorithms and making consistent changes to enhance the user experience. (We’ve been blogging about some of these changes and how they can affect SEO). One of the benefits of migrating to HTTPS is to gain a slight ranking boost on Google. They note on their blog that they’re going to give us some time before they give HTTPS a stronger ranking effect, but there are no decisions set in stone regarding the switch.

As with all the technological changes, a partial ranking boost is only one of the benefits of migrating to HTTPS. In fact, we don’t have any reasons as to why you shouldn’t make the switch.

Why should you move your website to https?

If you’re a web shop or otherwise transactional website you may probably already have SSL for your checkout. If so, moving your entire website to https it’s no problem, it’s so easier to maintain and makes sure if you’re doing everything to make sure your SSL traffic (and thus the most part section of your site) is as fast as possible. In addition to this, you may find your website enjoys a slight boost in ranking if you change from HTTP to HTTPS, due to Google focusing on this as one of their ranking procedures.

While it doesn’t hold as much weight in rankings as content, keywords, speed, and navigation of your website, it may help give you boost you need to rise to the top of the rankings when customers search for products or services that you offer. HTTPS provides added privacy and security for your users, which is appealing to Google. Remember search engines are constantly adding algorithms to make users search experiences more enjoyable and memorable.

This means that using an HTTPS website can really improve your chances of keeping users secure, protecting their user history and credit card information when making purchases. And after you have moved make sure all of your internal links start to use https, not just to pages, but for images, JavaScript, CSS, etc. Of course, you can have your web server redirect HTTP to https (more on that below), but not having to do the redirect is more problematic.

If you aren’t sure how these sites compare, think of the last time you logged into your bank account online. You will have noticed it showed HTTPS, but if you’re searching for a general product and entered a supplier’s website, it may only have shown HTTP. What is important to understand is that not all aspects of your site may need HTTPS; you may only need it for your shopping cart, ensuring your customers are safe and secure at all times.

SSL certificate

There are two options available, which should be discussed in detail with your developer. There is the standard and extended validation certificates, ensure you choose the one you feel is the best match for your site and your customers. Register your HTTPS website with Google to ensure that they know you have taken the relevant steps to ensure an enjoyable and safe user experience. This can help you increase your chances of improving your ranking. When it comes to SEO HTTPS is definitely the better option. It is not only favorable with search engines but can improve your traffic at the same time.

You ask for help from your hosting company.

Checklist – the overall process for HTTPS Migration

  • Buying an SSL Certificate or using Let’s Encrypt.
  • SSL Certificate needs to be installed.
  • All hard-coded Links need to be updated to HTTPS.
  • Update Custom JS, AJAX Libraries to HTTPS.
  • You need to add 301 Redirects to new HTTPS URLs.
  • Update your robots.txt File.
  • Install SSL Certificate on CDN.
  • Update Origin URL on CDN.
  • Enable HTTP/2 Support on CDN.
  • Update all Hard-coded CDN links to HTTPS.
  • SEO: Google Search Console, Sitemaps, Fetch.
  • SEO: Resubmit Disavow File.
  • Update your Google Analytics Profile URL.
  • Finally Misc Updates.

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