HTTP to HTTPS | SSL Certificate installation and 301 redirects tips and tricks

Perhaps you are a bit confused about the ongoing topics like HTTP to HTTPS, 301 redirects, SSL installation and so on. According to the official email notification to all search console users, Google officially cautioned that from October 2017, the new version (version 62) of Google Chrome will show a “NOT SECURE” warning when users enter text in a form on an HTTP page, and for all HTTP pages in Incognito mode.

HTTP to HTTPS

 

Firefox had started to warn from their previous versions though. Therefore from the perspective of a user, the upgrade seems legit but if you own a website, you should keep reading this article.

HTTP to HTTPS

Do you really need an SSL Certificate?

SSL Certificates are data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. If you correctly install it on your server where the data of your website are located, it activates the padlock. Consequently, a secure connection from a web server to a browser established.

Technically, whenever a user input data like email, bank account number, contact number, address in different fields in your website that directly goes to a server or stored elsewhere the hackers could Intrude and scrounge those. If you have SSL Certificate installed, you became a trusted owner of your user information and securing them.

If you are running an E-commerce, online services or some other business where your users have to put their credentials SSL Certificate is a must for you. However, if you are running a small blog or magazine website, you also need SSL Certificate. Because Google officially announced that security of your site is also a ranking factor.

HTTP to HTTPS

You might be thinking what type of SSL Certificate you need. Well, there are three types of SSL Certificates which categorized as Domain validation, Organization validation, and Extended Validation. If you are a small blog or magazine owner like me, Domain validation would be your first choice. As the name suggested, Organization Validation and Extended validation are for massive duty E-commerce or prominent organizations.

In most of the cases, your hosting provider will provide you the basic one. If they don’t, you have to buy one from providers Godaddy, SSLS, SSL CERTIFICATE, or others. Domain validation certificates start from $5 up to $100 depends on different factors.
You can also install a free one from CloudFlare. But personally, I would suggest you not to go for any free SSL.

HTTP to HTTPS

 

HTTP to HTTPS

HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, and HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. So after the installation of the SSL certificate on your web server your browser URL supposed to appear with a green lock sign and stop giving red alerts to your users. As I mentioned above, if you move your users to an HTTPS version of your website their given data would be encrypted. After buying an SSL Certificate, you have to follow the steps to install it to just into HTTPS from HTTP:

  1. Login to your CPanel
  2. Go to the Security section and click on SSL/TLS
  3. Click on Manage SSL sites
  4. Select your preferred Domain from the drop-down
  5. Provide Certificate: (CRT), Private Key (KEY) and Certificate Authority Bundle: (BUNDLE) in the associated fields
  6. Click on Install Certificate button

Note: If the case is your host provider has the policy to provide the SSL Certificate, but you’re not aware of it then just click on Autofill button. If you host provider allows, the codes will be automatically generated in each field. Then hit the Install Certificate button.

After that, you have to confirm your installation. If you are using WordPress, the second process would be pretty simple for you.

  1. Go to your WordPress dashboard and install a plugin called “Really Simple SSL.”
  2. You just have to activate and hit the install now button

For other CMSs like Joomla, Drupal, Magneto in the process might be a little bit different.
You’re not done yet. Since your site was in HTTP, all the URLs are indexed in the HTTP version of your website. So all you have to do is redirect all the users to the secured version of your website URLs.

301 redirects

 

HTTP to HTTPS

Apart from the issue, I’ve been talking about you may need to redirect the URLs of your website for multiple reasons. The URL “http://simstract.com” is different from “https://simstract.com.” For redirecting your traffic to the secured version of your website what you have to do is just set a simple redirect rule on your web server in the .htaccess file located in the public HTML folder on your CPanel. Two cases are common at this point.

RewriteEngine On

RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off

RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]

Case 1 – Automatically created .htaccess file

In most of the cases when you install SSL, a .htaccess file appears automatically in the public HTML folder. But by default the file got hidden. If this is the case just follow the steps:

  1. Login to your CPanel
  2. Go to file manager
  3. Open public HTML directory
  4. Click on the settings button located at the left top of the window.
  5. Click on “Show hidden files” radio button
  6. At this point, you will see a .htaccess file
  7. Open the file with an editor or right-click on it then click on edit option
  8. Copy the second two lines of the given code and paste at the top of the .htaccess file
  9. Don’t forget to save the file

Now all your visitors supposed to be redirected to the HTTPS version of your website

Case 2 – If there is not automated .htaccess file

If there is no automatic .htaccess file then follow the steps:

  1. Go to public HTML folder
  2. Create a file with the extension of .htaccess
  3. Copy paste and save all three lines of the given code

Google recommend server side 301 redirects as I’ve discussed above.

Time to change a few settings of Google Analytics and Google Search Console/Webmaster Tools

When you move your website to HTTPS, you have to adjust a few settings in Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools/Search Console accordingly.

Webmaster Tools / Search Console

In Google Search Console (Google Webmaster Tools), you have to add the https variant, and you also have to set it to your preferred domain. However, If you don’t know how to add a new property to Search Console, follow these official instructions from Google.  After adding the new HTTPS property don not forget to add the sitemap again and recrawl every Url including the homepage. In fact, do not delete the old property with HTTP.

Google Analytics

After you move to HTTPS, you have to change your domain in Google Analytics to https. This way, Google Analytics starts registering your hits again.

  1. Login to your Google Analytics dashboard
  2. Click on Admin option located in the left bottom corner
  3. Select the property for which you want to change the settings
  4. Click on property settings
  5. Here you will find a drop-down as Default URL
  6. Select HTTPS and save
  7. Back to the previous page and View settings under all website data option
  8. Here change the website URL to HTTPS for instance “http://example.com” to “https://example.com” and hit save button

Now you have correctly configured SSL on your website. All the URLs supposed to be redirected to HTTP to HTTPs variant of your site.

HTTP to HTTPS tips for Blogger sites

HTTP to HTTPS

 

Whenever people start blogging, there is no substitute for Blogger. For being Google’s own product Blogger sites has some benefits concerning Adsense approval, indexing, and the list go on. Keep in mind that if you use your own domain name you may be brought, Blogger may not allow migrating into HTTPS. So follow the steps below if you are running a blogger site;

  1. Login to your blogger dashboard
  2.  Here you will find an option under HTTPS called HTTPS Redirect.
  3. Just make it yes and save the changes you have made

Now your blogger site is correctly redirected from HTTP to HTTPS. Don’t forget to let me know if the tips worked for you or not in the comment section below.

Disclaimer: Each and every step I’ve stated above worked flawlessly for me. If you crash your site by misplacing and code of improper settings I won’t be accountable for that. However, always keep in touch.

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