HTTPS for Your WordPress Site
Switching your site over to HTTPS is important in a lot of ways. It’ll not only improve your search engine rankings, but it’ll encrypt any data that’s being transferred from your user’s browser to your server.
Overall, you’ll improve your site’s security, trustworthiness, and make your website look good in the eyes of Google.
Below we’ll look at why you’ll want to add an SSL certificate to your WordPress site and offer a series of steps to help simplify the process.
What is HTTPS?
You’ve probably heard of HTTPS, but you’re still not quite sure what it is. For starters, it’s readily visible on most larger websites. You’ll see that their URLs in the address bar start with “https://“ instead of the standard “http://“. It also includes a small green lock icon next to the URL as well, which means the site is secure.
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transport Protocol Secure and utilizes an SSL certification to establish a secure connection between a user’s web browser and your server. Any data that gets exchanged over this connection is encrypted.
This data encryption makes it much more difficult for people to read, or translate any of the information that might get intercepted over the web browser connection.
How HTTPS Can Benefit Your WordPress Site
You aren’t required to move your site to HTTPS, but it does come with some benefits that might make switching a good idea.
- Secures sensitive information. If your site handles credit card information or other potentially compromising data, then moving your site to HTTPS is a necessity.
- Makes your site trustworthy. Moving to HTTPS will not only secure the transfer of information, but it will help make users feel safe and trust that your website is authentic, and you’re actually who you claim to be.
- Improves your SEO. Having an SSL certificate is a Google ranking factor. In July 2018, Google Chrome released a security update that notifies visitors that a website without an SSL certificate is not secure. In addition, Google gives ranking priority preference to sites that have an SSL certificate.
It seems that HTTPS is going to be the future of the web. By moving to HTTPS sooner rather than later will help to establish you as the go-to authority in your space, instead of merely waiting and playing catch up.
How to Move Your WordPress Site to HTTPS
Moving your current WordPress site to HTTPS is pretty straightforward. All you need is an SSL certificate, a host that supports SSL (like HostGator!), and a few plugins to help with URL migration. Below we outline the steps you need to take to move from an HTTP website to an HTTPS site.
1. Install Your SSL Certificate
The first thing you’ll need to make the switch to an HTTPS site is an SSL certificate. Your web host may provide one for free with your hosting package, or you might be able to purchase or get a free SSL certificate through them.
HostGator customers receive a free SSL certificate. The SSL certificate is automatically credited to the account, but you do need to take a few steps to activate the free SSL certificate and force https to your website.
If your web host doesn’t offer an SSL certificate with your hosting package, try Let’s Encrypt. They’re one of the most popular SSL certificate providers. However, before you purchase an SSL certificate from a third-party source make sure that it’s supported by your host.
The process of installing the SSL certificate will depend upon your host, but if your host is using the standard cPanel, then you can install the certificate through your dashboard.
2. Move Your URLs to HTTPS
To complete the installation there are a few issues you’ll need to fix. Namely, you’ll need to migrate any internal URLs and links to HTTPS instead of HTTP.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to install a plugin called Really Simple SSL. This plugin will update the URL of your site within your site settings and it’ll add a 301 redirect from all the HTTP pages and media to the new HTTPS URL.
All you have to do is install and activate this plugin and it’ll get to work adjusting your website’s settings.
For HostGator customers, moving your website to HTTP is even easier. Read our knowledge base and follow the steps to force https on your website.
3. Verify Your Certificate is Active
With your SSL certificate installed and the Really Simple SSL plugin active, it’s time to verify that everything you did actually worked.
To check your site, open up your web browser and type in the HTTP version of your website in the address bar. You should then see this redirect to the HTTPS version of your website. Your new URL should have a green lock icon next to it and your URL will read “https://“.
Finally, the last thing you’ll want to do is update any offsite links to your new HTTPS URL. The redirect plugin above will take care of this for you. But, you’ll want to adjust any of the links that are in your direct control, such as your social media profiles.
Moving your site from HTTP to HTTPS can be very advantageous. Hopefully, the post above has helped you understand what HTTPS actually is, and how you can move your WordPress site to HTTPS.
HostGator customers receive free SSL certificates and can upgrade to a Positive or EV SSL certificate for a small fee. If your website is hosted with a different company and you’ve had trouble installing an SSL certificate on your website, switch to HostGator today and experience no downtime. We have world-class support available 24/7/365 that can help you through the process.
Have you tried updating to HTTPS? Tell us your experiences in the comments below.