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The Complete Guide To Switching From HTTP To HTTPS

The Complete Guide To Switching From HTTP To HTTPS

What is HTTPS? 

HTTPS is an acronym for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It’s the protocol that ensures that data is transferred securely from one user to another. It allows for a secure connection between your browser and a website and is very important especially for sights that require the input of highly sensitive, classified data like your bank details and credit card information. 

HTTPS secures the transfer of information from a web application or browser to a website through encryption made possible by the SSL certificate. This means that your sensitive information would not be read by snooping entities on the internet and would only be readable to authorized users.  

Prior to the intervention of the SSL certificate, the HTTP was the common protocol for transferring data, but it came with a lot of disadvantages. As a result of not having the SSL certificate that ensures data encryption, data was transferred from one browser to a website in plain text that everyone can read, including hackers and unscrupulous elements on the internet. Sensitive information could easily be stolen resulting in data loss and sometimes, the financial loss too if, for example, credit card information was being transferred.

The HTTPS is a combination of the HTTP and the SSL certificate or in some cases the TL certificate that ensures that data is no longer sent in plain text that anyone can read. This makes the internet safer for use and enables transactions to take place without hitches.

Why should you care about HTTPS?  

The most obvious reason to care about HTTPS is security and added protection, especially for owners of e-commerce businesses and their customers. Credit card information is usually needed to make financial transactions online, making buying and selling exciting for a lot of persons who enjoy the convenience and speed with which e-commerce transactions are done. 

It would however be a terrible thing for the credit card information to be accessed by hackers or snoopers who can take hold of it and use it for fraudulent purposes. Sensitive or data can also be stolen and accessed by persons who should have no business accessing them. To avoid these sad stories and to feel safe when transacting online, it’s important to have the SSL certificate and migrate from HTTP to HTTPS. 

There are more reasons why migration to HTTPS is very important: 

  • boosts SEO rankings; Most business owners on the cyberspace understand the importance of SEO for their business growth and brand visibility. SEO is search engine optimization and is responsible for how visible your business brand would be to the target audience and determines how well they can find and connect to you on the internet. There are many factors for ranking SEO and as it is now, having an SSL certificate is one of them especially for google.
  • trustworthiness; Generally, a lot of users are still skeptical about transacting businesses online and as a result would only deal with e-commerce businesses that they’re sure would handle their personal information securely. They usually only go for websites that have SSL certificates. 

Not only do those websites show that they can be trusted, but having an SSL certificate is also proof that such a business is diligent, credible, and responsible. Having an SSL certificate gives you access to SSL trust which is symbolized by a green padlock and helps give your customers the further assurance that your website is safe. 

  • chrome; Since 2018, higher versions of chrome have been marking websites without an SSL certificate as non-secure sights as a way to ensure that website owners get the SSL certificate. 

This non-secure marking can affect business credibility and brand perception especially when the majority of the website traffic is from chrome. This is quite likely as chrome boosts of over half of the browser market share. As such if you don’t obtain your SSL certificate and your site is marked Not Secure, your audience would desist from visiting your site and your business growth metrics may decline. 

  • Having the SSL certificate helps you use the HTTP/2 to improve the performance of your website. The HTTP/2 is a new protocol that helps improve website speed by supporting parallelism, server push, HPACK compression with Huffman encoding, etc. 

By supporting HTTP/2, the SSL certificate helps to improve website performance for enhanced customer experience.

HTTP to HTTPS migration guide 

Now you understand how important obtaining the SSL certificate and having the HTTPS is, how do you migrate to HTTPS if what you are using is the HTTP? Here is a step by step guide on how to migrate seamlessly and start enjoying the benefits that come with having an SSL certificate:

Apparently, the first step in migration is obtaining the SSL certificate, and to do this you need to request an SSL CSR.

Request an SSL CSR.

CSR is an acronym for Certificate Signing Request. This request is sent to enable you to get a signature unique to your domain name, which is a prerequisite for obtaining the SSL certificate. 

You can do this by accessing your hosting panel’s security section. Click on the SSL/TL option and select the CSR option. You’d be directed to the CSR section to generate your unique key.

Be sure to pay attention to the domain section; it’s very important. SSL has the ability to secure both the WWW and the non-WWW version of your domain name so it’s really up to you and your SSL service provider. 

To be on the safer side, it’s wise to add the WWW versions. It should look like this “www.example.co.uk”. If you add the non-WWW version, it secures just that and not the WWW version. Ensure you choose the appropriate variation. You can always contact your SSL provider to be sure.

When you are done with imputing the appropriate variety of the domain name, click complete the request by filling in all the information required and click on the generate button. It should produce a CSR code. Copy this code correctly. You would need it later on.

  1. Buy your OV/EV Validated SSL.  Purchase your SSL with the code above. 
  2. Install the SSL.  If you’ve finished step 2 you should receive an email containing your SSL certificate. Copy the certificate text copy contained in the email. Go to your hosting account security > SSL/TLS section and click on the install option. 
  3. Migrate HTTP to HTTPS WordPress URL Settings. Turn off all enabled cache plugins, go to general settings, change URL protocols from HTTP to HTTPS and save.
  4. Update HTTP to HTTPS .htaccess File Code with 301 Redirect 
  5. Check for Insecure Content Errors 
  6. Configure Google Search Console 
  7. Update google analytics 

And there you have it, you have your SSL certificate and have completed the migration process.