HTTPS is superior compare to HTTP, and it can be understood with this example.
Suppose you want to buy a necklace for your wife. You order one on a prominent e-commerce store for $1000. The next morning, your bank calls you to say you’ve withdrawn $10,000. You have no idea what’s going on.
This could be the scenario if you keep using HTTP while entering sensitive information on a website.
HTTP does not allow data encryption and can easily be hacked into.
That’s why you need to switch your site to HTTPS as soon as possible.
It’s just a more secure version of HTTP (Hypertext transfer protocol). The ‘S’ in HTTPS stands for ‘secure.’
When you use HTTPS, any data that’s transmitted will follow end-to-end encryption, making it virtually impossible to hack.
Also, if you keep using HTTP, Google will flag your website and display the words ‘Not Secure’ beside the URL of your web page.
That’s bad publicity for your website.
It’ll also hamper your SEO rankings on Google. If you want to avoid all that and keep your website safe, adopting HTTPS is the smartest move.
Not only will it improve your rankings and reiterate trust, but it will also nullify any risk you run of getting hacked.
How to migrate from HTTP to HTTPS?
The process isn’t hard at all. Here are the steps to follow:
#1. Buy SSL certificate
It all starts with the purchase of an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate.
Quite simply put, they are a type of digital keys that provide end-to-end encryption between a website and the browser of a user.
There are a lot of SSL certificates in the market, like Thawte, Comodo, DigiCert, and more.
There are different varieties of SSL certificates as well, like Domain Validation (DV), Extended Validation (EV), Wildcard SSL, Multi Domain SSL certificate, Code Signing certificate, SGC SSL certificate, and more.
You need to find out what type of SSL you need.
#2. Install the SSL certificate
The next step is installing the SSL certificate and it depends upon the server type like we have mentioned cPanel installation steps.
- Login to Control Panel.
- Under Security option, Click SSL/TLS Manager.
- Click on Generate, view, upload or delete SSL Certificates in the ‘Certificates’ section.
- Now, it is time to import the certificate. You can either copy and paste the content of the certificate or click on the browse button to locate the stored certificate. Then, click Go Back.
- Now, at the bottom, click on Return to SSL Manager.
- Under Activate SSL on your website option, click on setup an SSL certificate to work with your site.
- Now, choose the domain name from the drop-down menu and the certificate and private key will be automatically fetched.
- Paste CA Bundle content in CA Bundle box.
- Finally, click on Install certificate.
#3. Take Backups
It’s essential whenever you’re making any changes to your website, however small it might be.
It’s not hard work at all.
In fact, if you’re using cPanel for hosting, you can take advantage of their built-in backup mode.
You can very easily re-download them as well.
If you’re using some other platform that doesn’t have this feature, you’ll just have to get the backup yourself.
Better safe than sorry!
#4. Update links
In this stage, you need to update the links on your website internally.
You can do it in two ways: either manually, one by one, or together, whereby you can update all your internal links.
Usually, if your website has a few links, you could try the manual route.
It won’t be very time-consuming.
But when there are hundreds of links, which is the most usual case anyway, it’s better to use automated tools that update the URLs for you with no hassle at all.
Especially in WordPress, there are a lot of excellent plug-ins that can do just that.
For example, take Velvet Blues or interconnect.
Before updating the internal links, it is wise to run this script on a developer mode or take a backup of your website.
If you are not a technical person, then it is wise to take the help of a person who knows updating links.
#5. Code libraries
Does your website use high-end software and web applications like Ajax?
If they do, simply updating the internal URLs of your website may not be enough.
In most cases, you must contact the application developer and make sure they update the software for compatibility with HTTPS by changing the ‘HTTP’ to ‘HTTPS.’
#6. 301 Redirect
The step that’s imperative to materialize all your efforts.
The ‘301 redirect’ effectively redirects traffic from an old URL that existed but has now been rendered defunct, to the new URL, the address at which the page is currently at.
Every time a visitor wants to access your page, they will be redirected to the new URL without you having to go through a load of trouble.
Setting up a ‘301 redirect’ depends on the type of webserver you use.
That dictates the types of files you need to update in order to use the ‘301 redirect’ feature.
For example, if you use a Windows server, you’ll probably need to update the web.config file. If you are using Apache and NGINX, then below code will be useful in 301 redirects.
#7. Update Analytics
Are you one of the millions of businesses that benefit from Google analytics?
If you are, then you must take care to update your existing URL from ‘HTTP’ to ‘HTTPS’ here as well.
However, the original settings will only attract HTTP data, so changes are necessary to get data on HTTPS traffic.
#8. Social Media
If you are running a business, whether it be B2B or B2C, chances are incredibly high that you’re on social media, and your website account is linked with your social media account.
The links displayed on the various social media platforms must be updated.
When short on time, focus on the main links with the maximum CTA (click-through rates).
You’ll find that updating them will help you cover half the job.
Migrating from “HTTP to HTTPS” isn’t time-consuming, and once you consider the benefits you reap from it, you wouldn’t want to use ‘HTTP’ anymore anyway.
With the world of cyber-crime getting murkier and criminals making malicious breakthroughs every day, the cyber world is becoming a riskier place.
With a simple migration to ‘HTTPS,’ you can conduct your online business as usual without worrying about compromising any customer information or leaving yourself susceptible to attacks.