If you are planning to have your WordPress website migrated from HTTP to HTTPs, then first you will need FTP access and SSL certificate. Why is it crucial migrating to https? Is there a connection between https and search engine rankings?
There are many steps to adhere to in the migration process like adding 301 WordPress redirect to gain SEO advantage of the new HTTPs. Many other SEO checks must be adhered to, but first, let’s get to know the basics of SSL and HTTPs.
What’s SSL certificate and HTTPs?
SSL is an abbreviation for Secure Socket Layer. SSL is a specially designed protocol, which applies encrypted communication between your web browser and server. It means any data transmitted by you and submitted by users including passwords, usernames, credit card details, etc. is encrypted first, and then exchanged between browser and server.
If there is no SSL protocol, then this confidential data is exchanged in plain text. Hackers can easily intercept this information!
HTTPs mean HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. It prevents hackers from accessing and modifying information during the transfer process between browser and server. Even if hackers intercept the data, they cannot use the information as it is encrypted. You need an SSL certificate to migrate from HTTP to HTTPs.
Google is encouraging websites to migrate to https, but it is is currently a page ranking factor and not for the overall website ranking. Very soon, HTTPs is predicted to gain more importance. It is a thing that increases the trust of users. It is very beneficial for eCommerce sites!
How to move the HTTP WordPress website to HTTPs?
- Purchase and install SSL on your server. It has to support the 2048-bit key encryption.
- Change the WP default URL address. Ensure that your WP address and site address starts with HTTPs. Save the changes.
- For gaining SEO advantages redirect the HTTP requests to HTTPs. For this edit .htaccess file using FTP and save the changes. Use permanent 301 redirect code. All HTTP requests made are equal to the https page. Thus there is no need to create a mapping of every page.
- Correct internal links if any of them are pointing to http version. If ignored, mixed signals will be created and the browser will be unable to decide if your site is secure. Use WP 301 redirect plugin to do the search and replace it. All the URLs found in the database in the form of HTTP will be altered to https.
- Check the external links in your content. Edit and ensure they start with https.
- Your overall website needs to be https, for averting mixed content warning. Even check for broken links using the WP 301 redirect plugin. Fix, if necessary!
- Maintain existing search engine ranking by informing Google about your new https status. Add https to Google search console. Keep both HTTP & https versions on Google search console.
- Regenerate and submit an XML sitemap for increasing SEO.
- Check your Robot.txt to ensure that it is not disallowing search engines from gaining access to your new https site.
- The last step is a new website submission to Google.
Monitor traffic and ranking position to be ahead of issues and resolve them instantly! Do the migration in a systematic way as mentioned before, so that the need to reset WordPress again does not arise.