Did you come into the office on Monday morning to a lovely email notification from Google? If you’re in charge of managing a website, you may have. Don’t panic (yet). The reminder is for webmasters to install an SSL certificate and change their site from HTTP to HTTPS.
In an article covered by Search Engine Land, the author relayed that Google will be making sure Chrome users are notified clearly when they’ve entered an insecure website. When the company rolls out Chrome 62 in October, it will show the “Not secure” notification in two additional areas: 1) when users enter personal data on a HTTP website (think online forms), and 2) when users enter an HTTP page in an incognito window. This is in addition to the notification already found at the top search bar next to the site’s URL.
So what does this mean? Well, it’s crunch time. As webmasters across the board scramble to get their HTTP sites secured to HTTPS by the October 2017 deadline, there are a few important things you’ll need before the installation can be completed. For this post, we’ll strictly be covering what you need to install an SSL certificate on a WordPress site. The reason being is that 74,652,825 sites are currently built on this CMS.
What you need to install HTTPS on a WordPress site
- Login Info. First things first, you need your WordPress website login information and hosting login information. It also couldn’t hurt to have access to the site’s FTP account (just in case).
- Backup. You should always have a backup of your database and WordPress files (again, just in case). Don’t even think about starting the process until this is done.
- Credit Card. For some hosting companies who don’t offer a free SSL certificate, you’ll need your credit card handy. Simply call into support and order your SSL certificate on the phone. Most hosting companies will also get the SSL certificate installed on your hosting plan for you. If your host provides SSL certificates for free, then don’t worry about this step.
- HTTPS Redirection Plugin. This wonderful WordPress plugin by Tips and Tricks HQ is both free and simple to use. Under your WordPress site’s “General” section (found under Settings), be sure to change the site’s URL from HTTP to HTTPS
- Better Search Replace Plugin. Another powerful and useful WordPress plugin by Delicious Brains, Better Search Replace works to find, gather, and change any remaining HTTP files that might not have been switched over using HTTPS Redirection.
- Google Search Consul & Analytics. Once all your site’s files have been switched over to HTTPS, it’s crucial that you add the HTTPS www and non-www version of your website and select a preferred domain. Don’t forget to resubmit a sitemap while you’re in there. In Google Analytics, you need to change the website’s URL from HTTP to HTTPS.
The entire SSL certificate installation process will generally take about an hour or so. Sometimes things may not go your way. If this is the case, be sure to enlist the help of a professional website management or SEO company such as Boston Web Marketing!