With the advent of websites having to switch over to HTTPS, it can be a struggle to get your website to comply with this new structure. Unfortunately, if a website is still running on HTTP, then the browser is going to automatically make it not secure, and that can turn users away from your website. So to switch over to HTTPS, here’s what you need to know to make the process as smooth as possible.
Choose An SSL Certificate
Even the Best Web Development Companies employ SSL certificates in the running of their websites. This is because an SSL certificate establishes an encrypted connection, most likely between your website and the user. However, there are three types of SSL certificates that can be obtained.
- Domain Validation: this is the most basic certificate and only verifies that the person who has the certificate owns the domain.
- Organization Validation: this certificate not only verifies domain ownership, but also the legal organization behind the website. For that reason, it costs more money.
- Extended Validation: this is the highest level of certificate, and requires the company’s governmental records being checked, as well as verifying the identity of the certificate-seeker. A phone call is typically arranged with the issuer to further verify the person’s identity. These are most the expensive and take the longest to get issued.
Obtain and Install an SSL Certificate
There are several ways you could obtain an SSL certificate. You can purchase one from your hosting provider, you can purchase one from the certifying authority, or it is possible for you to get one for free. The only drawback to getting a free certificate is that it is only valid for three months, while paid certificates last for about a year.
Force Using HTTPS
Once a certificate is installed, your website will then become accessible through HTTP and HTTPS. The problem with this is that search engine results will read these as two separate websites that are competing against each other, which can affect your traffic results. One solution to this is to set up a redirect from the HTTP site to the HTTPS one.
Update Your Google Search Console
After the redirect has been set up, you have to take care of your HTTP pages still being ranked by search engines. To correct this, you need to crawl and index your pages using HTTPS. This can be done more quickly by uploading an updated version of your XML sitemap to the search engine search console.
Find And Fix Any Errors
Of course, you should be testing things out to make sure they’re working properly. Assuming that everything is in place just because you did the right coding and certification is a big mistake. Test to see if there any critical errors that need to be fixed, such as existing pages not returning the 200 status code, or receiving mixed content errors.
It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your rankings to ensure that the work you’ve done isn’t losing you any traffic. There will be some fluctuations in the first few weeks, bit it should pick back up eventually. If your ranking continues to drop, however, then you should definitely take a look to see what’s wrong.