Being a search guy, I’m always making every effort to remain relevant. Especially when it comes to my website. Back in August 2014, Google made an announcement regarding HTTPS protocol as ranking signal. Naturally, I’m always fashionable late and finally realized that it was time to migrate accordingly. WordPress has to be one of the easiest CMS options available for migration from HTTP to HTTPS as long as you’re versed in it.
Everything is always easier said than done. Even for the tech geek in me who welcomes every development challenge with an open mind. Well, maybe not quite development challenged as I’ve been working with WordPress particularly for the last seven years. Inclusion of an HTTPS protocol or also referred to as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) can be a challenge for just about anyone.
Why Use SSL with WordPress?
For SEO reasons, it is now considered a ranking factor and therefore you may incur a potential penalty by Google. Yes, the big bad 500 pound gorilla we are all afraid of. Additionally, using SSL attributes to a secured search experience of your website visitors who can comfortably peruse information without a worry. The encryption of data passes through a secure environment allowing for that extra comfort we tend to adhere to as humans. Come to think of it, I’m actually surprised at the fact that Google did not enforce HTTPS as a ranking factor way back in the early days of e-commerce.
Migrating WordPress from HTTP to HTTPS (SSL)
Before you dive in with both feet, I’d suggest performing this procedure during an off-peak time of the day. For example, in the after hours when traffic is at its lowest on your website. In case the wires gets crossed accidentally but hopefully they won’t, you’ll need to allow yourself some extra time for damage control. Now that’s behind us, let’s dig right in.
- Log in to the admin section of WordPress website by visiting www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin
- Navigated to the Plugins section on the navigation sidebar and select Add New on flyout menu
- On the next page screen click on Add New in the upper left-hand corner as if you were to seek a new plugin. In the search box, input SSL Insecure Content Fixer and then hit Install Now button once it appears
- This plugin should do all the work in handling HTTP to HTTPS redirects automatically including images, css, and more
As Murphy’s Law states, issues may arise in the least expected times. There are a couple of things to check for from a technical perspective in ensuring that WordPress is optimal for SSL. Inspect the WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) areas located under the General Settings section of the left-hand side vertical sidebar.
It is not uncommon to forget these accidentally when migrating your site from HTTP to HTTPS. The site should remain intact as well while amending both of the url addresses listed above.
Last but not least, if for any reason the HTTPS url protocol is not showing up in the browser address bar then it is quite possible that there are instances of unsecured image or file references within the site. Head on over to Google Chrome and inspect the default of page of the WordPress site by right-clicking in the middle of the page and then selecting Inspect Element. Choose the Console option and identify where those unsecured references might be located within the site. Amend accordingly and BOOM, you should be in the clear.
Having problems with SSL installation for WordPress? Get ahold of me for additional help.