29Sep 2017

Migration from HTTP to HTTPS: An overview

My first question is how many of you are still using HTTP? Raise your hands! Probably, a few of you! The rest are playing it big with HTTPS. The newbies and some people who are ignorant about the security issues are using the HTTP mode. Right now everywhere on the web, you can find that HTTPS is the topic of discussion.

All this hype and attention after Google made an announcement in the August of 2016 that switching over to HTTPs will bring about a boost in your rankings.

So, let me ask you a question again: why do you think Google considers HTTPS as one of the ranking factors from the SEO perspective?

User experience!!!

We know very well how much Google values user experience. Security is one of the promises or moreover a guarantee that Google provides to users.

And, how does Google fulfill its promise?

HTTPS!!!

If you are a beginner, well, I would like to discuss the differences and benefits of switching over to HTTPS by introducing it:

So, what exactly is HTTPS?

Again a question: what do you think is one of the main elements that people expect when they are on a website?

Security. Safety.

How do you think you can ensure their information is safe when they are on your website?

A trusted third party and a good encryption!

How to achieve that?

HTTPS!!!

Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol. The term “Secure” implies what it is all about.

You need a safe and secure platform across which information can be exchanged preventing unauthorized access, and this is what HTTPS is here for. HTTPS provides security when exchanging confidential information

The primary objective of HTTPS is to offer authorization and secure transactions.

HTTPS is almost similar to HTTP in various aspects

HTTPS follows the same protocols that HTTP is already following.

The only difference is the extra layer of Security otherwise called as the SSL, that HTTPS offers.

HTTP is an application layer protocol which means it is only concerned with presenting information to the user. But, HTTPS goes a level ahead and ensures the information is secure when being presented to the user.

Data or information that is transferred via HTTPS is secured using Transport Layer Security protocol.

Now, you know why you need to switch over to HTTPS from HTTP.

Let me tell you why your site needs to be HTTPSized:

The Transport Layer Security protocol provides three key layers of protection, and these are:

1.) Encryption: No user would like someone eavesdropping or stealing their information while they have a conversation online. Encryption helps to secure the information that is being exchanged keeping it safe from the eyes of predators and eavesdroppers.

2.)Data Integrity: It does not allow any data modification or corruption of data that is being transferred.

3.) Authentication: It will help you keep up your promise to your people and build trust. This part or layer provides the evidence that users are communicating with the intended website.

Now, let me take you through the benefits of securing your website using HTTPS:

1. Downgrade HTTPS

2. SSL/TLS vulnerabilities

3. Hacks of a website, server or a network

4. DDOS attacks

5. Brute force attacks

6. Heatbleed, Poodle, Logjam, etc.

7. Software vulnerabilities

So, now coming back to the point, I will take you through the steps to help you make the big move:

#1. Testing is always the first step: It is always necessary to have it tested because you don’t want to end up committing blunders. Let’s not get screwed in real time. Of course, there are fixes to any concerns that might arise in the long run in case you couldn’t start with the test server. But, it is always good to start with one.

#2. Browsing: It is necessary that you crawl through the current state of the website and also, it is helpful in making comparisons.

#3. It is important that you read the documentation for server or CDN for HTTPS.

#4. You need to get a security certificate installed on your server.

#5. You need to search and update or replace the references to HTTPS in the database.

#6. Now that you have updated the references to content do not forget to update and make replacements to the references in templates which includes images, links, and scripts.

#7. CMS systems are designed to incorporate the migration, but you need to tweak the settings to get it synch in with the change. The canonical tags, the hreflang tags, and the other plugins, add-ons, etc. need to be updated though CMS System is capable of automating the update, but on a safer side, you need to double-check.

#8. Browse through your site again to ensure that there are no issues of insecure content and broken or missing links. If you are using Streaming Frog for Crawling purpose then, you could import insecure content here. Also, you need to crawl the old URLs to detect broken redirects and fix them.

#9. Tweak the external scripts that are called to support the migration to HTTPS.

#10. Impose HTTPS upon redirects.

#11. Also, you need to work on updating old redirects that are currently in place.

#12. Update robots.txt file and include the new sitemap. Also, update sitemap.

#13. Help your website load faster. You could do this by enabling HSTS.

#14. Also, you need to enable the server to check if a security certificate is revoked instead of a browser forcing the browser to download or cross-reference with the issuing certificate authority, and you can ensure this by enabling the OCSP stapling.

#15. Include HTTP/2 support.

#16. You need to include the HTTPS version of your site to the existing search engine versions of webmaster tools. Include HTTPS when you upload the new sitemap.

#17. Do not forget to update the Disavow file.

#18. Once you are done with the above-specified configurations, you need to update the URL parameter settings.

#19. You are now ready to go live!

Now, you are live, but we are not done yet, there are a few more things that you need to take into account:

Check your Analytics platform and here you need to update the default URL to ensure HTTPS is being monitored appropriately and keep notes so that you can refer to this in future.

A lot of updates are required such as with your social share counts, paid media, email or marketing automation campaigns. Also, update the heatmaps, A/B Testing Software, and keyword tracking.

Keep an eye on everything that is happening during the migration process so that it happens smoothly.

You have successfully migrated from HTTP to the safer side of the web using HTTPS. What next?

You are not yet done. Some mistakes or errors could spoil the whole thing when using HTTPS and here are tips to help you overcome these challenges and succeed:

#1. The transition is not easy:

As we have already discussed the migration is not an easy task. When you are moving from HTTP to HTTPS it is not just a single that is being changed; every single part needs to be moved.

Here, are a few things that need to be taken into consideration when you are moving from HTTP to HTTPS:

Check whether you have blocked the important URLs in the robots. txt.

Are there any canonical tags that are pointing to the wrong URL?

Check whether your website is causing the browser bars to display warnings that ward off people from your site.

All that it would take is a simple fix, but it is good to avoid it. Double-check, triple-check before you are ready to go live.

#2. Speed:

The transition could be easy, but there are things that you do not know, or no one has told you about HTTPS. It could slow down your website if you are not careful.

A lot of communication goes on between servers which can slow down your website and it could become turtlish if the site is already slow to load.

And, as you know slow loading sites do not have a future over the search engines.

You could implement SPDY, the HTTPS friendly technologies that will help in speeding up your site.

#3. Expensive:

Some webmasters spend whopping amounts on purchasing SSL certificates, but HTTPS could be brought for free.

#4. You might face trouble:

Before you migrate to HTTPS, there are a few things that you need to know. You might have old web applications that find it difficult to adjust and sync in with the new alteration.

Even Google has certain Webmaster Tools that do not support the HTTPS migration. So, you don’t have to be sad.

But, you cannot resist the tempting SEO advantages that HTTPS will offer you:

Ranking Booster:

HTTPS acts as a ranking booster. We have already discussed how Google considers it as a ranking factor for search engine rankings.

Though the ranking shift happens, you might find that the change is not highly significant. But, something you can rely upon.

So, if you are still using HTTP, it is high time you migrated over to HTTPS.

Are you planning to move from HTTP to HTTPS?

That’s great!

Finally, you have decided to boost the security and privacy of your site.

There is a myth about HTTPS; wherein people say that you can enjoy the benefits of migrating to HTTPS only if you have set sensitive passwords for your site.

All that is rubbish!

You would be amazed to know that HTTPS could be used with any kind of sites even if you own a site to display boring content.

How does HTTPS ensure that your site is secure?

Verification:

It will verify that people are being directed to exactly the website to which the server is referring to.

It never encourages 3rd party tamperings and stops Man-in-the-middle attacks, which ultimately ensures that your site is safe and secure from any kind of attacks. This is what makes your site secure and the favorite of your people.

E-commerce sites are at a great advantage if they are using HTTPS because it helps protect all kinds of communication by encrypting the data including the URLs. It will safeguard credit card numbers and even your browsing history.

So, what say?

Migrate to HTTPS at the earliest.

Safeguarding your data:

This is one of the major concerns of consumers when they reach a website. They are in fear of losing valuable information to hackers or other online predators when HTTPS can help you.

So, when traffic is being passed over from a secure HTTPS site to a non-secure HTTP site, the referral data will be removed.

And, you can find the traffic as “Direct” in the Analytics Reports. ¬†This could be a problem because you would not know where the traffic is coming from.

So, what happens is when traffic reaches an HTTPS site, the secure referral data will be protected.

A small but bigger package of happiness that you can enjoy with HTTPS is that it is not limited to ranking boost but more and these includes:

  • Competitive analysis
  • Reduce crawling errors
  • Perform a site audit
  • Attract links
  • Optimize speed
  • Fix duplicate content
  • International targeting
  • Create quality content
  • Freshen your content
  • Improve internal linking
  • On-page optimization

So, now you have no reason to say no to migrating from HTTP to HTTPS. Embrace the awesomeness of HTTPS and satisfy your people. It will take you to heights and your business will succeed. Of course, as we discussed there are certain issues when the move is made, but the perks are something that you cannot resist.

Need help with migrating from HTTP to HTTPS?

Ask us! We can help you.

Acodez IT Solutions is a web development company in India offering all kinds of web design and development services. We are masters at designing intricate software and mobile apps that are unique and innovative with no space for a complaint.

We strive hard to deliver the products before the specified time. Also, we are an SEO agency in India offering all kinds of digital marketing solutions to our people.

For further queries, contact us today.

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Jamsheer K

Jamsheer K

Jamsheer K, is the Tech Lead at Acodez. With his rich and hands-on experience in various technologies, his writing normally comes from his research and experience in mobile & web application development niche.

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