How can I setup HTTPS?

How to Switch to HTTPS

Switching to HTTPS is fairly straightforward for smaller websites. For larger websites, it’s more complicated, from an SEO perspective, and requires a skilled technical expert to make the changes. A lot will also depend on your hosting provider for the complexity.

Thankfully lots of hosting providers are now offering simple 1 click deployment of SSL. However, just be careful that after implementation all links are forced to use HTTPS. All of our recommended hosting providers offer free Let’s Encrypt and 1 click installs of SSL on your site.

Even if the process is straightforward we recommend using a skilled technical expert to be sure all is redirected and set up properly.

In the best-case scenario, a wrong adaptation of SSL will negatively affect your Google ranking due to duplicated or missing content. In the worst-case scenario, it will break your site.

So how can you switch to HTTPS, we’ve outlined the following steps for you below. We do recommend also referring to your hosting provider documentation as each provider will have a slightly different method to implement.

If you are not using an SSL provided by your hosting provider, such as the free Let’s Encrypt SSL, make sure it’s compatible before purchasing.

9 Steps to Adding SSL to your WordPress Site

  1. Buy an SSL certificate or get a free one if hosting provides such a possibility (Let’s Encrypt is a free SSL offered by most good hosting providers).
  2. Activate certificate from hosting account. If you access your site at this point HTTPS should be showing, it’s possible you’ll have mixed content and some errors at this point.
  3. Next, Install the “Really Simple SSL” plugin (and activate it like in the screenshots). Go to Plugins > Add New, then search for really simple SSL, click “activate”, make sure to check the box to Flush Rewrite rules on activation, and then click “Go Ahead, activate SSL!”
  4. Next, you’ll need to update the WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) via Settings > General in the WordPress admin panel and save the settings.
  5. If the website has any caching/minify plugins flush all caches.
  6. Check pages, posts, and galleries if all of them are working right.
  7. Check your site paying attention to fonts, slideshow arrows, social media icons.
  8. Test your contact form and make sure that you are receiving emails
  9. Your site is now secure.

See the following video on how to add an SSL via SiteGround:

Useful SSL Articles from Popular Hosting Providers
Check out the following links to learn how you can implement free SSL’s from some of the most popular hosting providers.

A2 Hosting

See a full list of hosting providers offering free Let’s encrypt here.

Now that you’ve added the SSL and have HTTPS on your site, there are some next steps that should be taken to make sure SEO performance isn’t affected, as Google will now see your site as brand new.

Next Steps After Implementing an SSL

You can do a few things after switching to make sure the process is as smooth as possible. Follow these next steps and you’ll be up and tracking the right info again in no time:

1. Update your Google Analytics property to HTTPS in property and view
  • Go to Admin in Google Analytics (the cog icon bottom right)
  • In the property column, click property settings
  • Change default URL to “HTTPS”
  • Scroll down and click “save”

Analytics Admin

Analytics Property Settings

Analytics Default URL

2. Re-link your Google Analytics profile in the search console
  • Go to Admin in Google Analytics (the cog icon bottom right)
  • In the property column, click property settings
  • Under Search Console Settings, click edit on the URL, update with HTTPS URL and click save.
  • You’ll be prompted to unlock HTTP click ok.
  • Scroll down and click “save”
3. Setup a new HTTPS property in Google Search Console (as it’s technically a new site).

4. If you’ve linked to your site with third-party tools in Google Tag Manager, make sure to update them to HTTPS, such as Facebook / Bing, etc.
5. Generate and submit your new sitemap via the Google Search console. We highly recommend using Yoast SEO for this.
6. Update any links you’ve added to Social Media accounts

That's it, you should now be tracking the new HTTPS version of your site.

NOTE! in the search console you’ll have no data for a while as Google re-indexes your site with HTTPS. Your site may be affected in the short term as it is being ranked again, this is normal, and you can expect to see your site bounce back within 2-4 weeks.

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