With Google prioritizing https sites over http sites since October 1, 2017, it is more necessary than ever to switch from http to https. That sounds very technical and seems complicated, but converting WordPress to https is very simple. You do not need programming knowledge. Learn how to convert WordPress to https in five steps.

We will not explain here why it is better to switch from http to https. In short, it means that https is more secure. The s in https stands for secure and that means that the contact between the server of your site and the web browser of your visitor takes place via a secure connection.

Even if you only have a simple contact form on your site, it is already useful to use https. Moreover, https contributes to your reliability. In the browser of the visitor, a green lock and the word ‘safe’ appear at https sites.

How can you transfer your WordPress site from http to https? That is very simple. You need an SSL certificate, two plugins and the password of your Google Analytics account for this. No more.

Step 1: Activate an SSL certificate

Step 1: Go to the management environment of your hosting provider and see which certificates your hosting provider offers. This management environment is often called Plesk or CPanel. Many hosting providers use the free Let’s Encrypt certificates. How you activate this certificate differs slightly per provider, but it is often a matter of clicking. If your hosting provider does not have Let’s Encrypt certificates, it is often possible to upload such a certificate. There are also hosting providers that offer paid or free SSL certificates themselves.

SSL certificates from Cloudflare

An alternative to the Let’s Encrypt certificates are the SSL certificates from Cloudflare.com. In any case, it is recommended to delve into the services of Cloudflare, because they offer a whole package to easily secure your site, speed up the loading time (also a ranking factor) and keep it always up and running. Cloudflare has both free and paid services.

Create a free account with Cloudflare, go through the step-by-step plan to register your site there and convert the name servers at your hosting provider to those of Cloudflare. That is also very easy. The Cloudflare servers are then, as it were, placed in front of your hosting provider’s server.

At Cloudflare, you can choose ‘flexible SLL’ or ‘Full SLL’. With Flexible SLL, only the connection between your visitor’s browser and the Cloudflare servers runs via https. But the connection between the Cloudflare servers and those of your hosting provider still runs via http. With Full SLL, both connections run via https, but this can have a slight delaying effect on the loading time of your site. So you have to monitor that.

Step 2: Convert WordPress to https with a plugin

If you have activated a certificate, it is time for step 2. Log in to your dashboard and go to Plugins> New Plugin. Then download the plugin Really Simple SLL . This one was made by the Dutchman Rogier Lankhorst. This plugin checks whether you have installed a certificate and whether it works. If so, you can literally transfer your site from http to https at the touch of a button. All your images, css and javascript files have a url that starts with http. The plugin forcibly converts it to https. As a result, all elements of your site are loaded in https at once. If you don’t, you will get a warning for ‘mixed content’ and Google will still see your site as ‘unsafe’.

Every page that you now download via http will be sent to an https URL in a fraction of a second. This also applies to your login page. You may therefore have to log in again. But all backlinks that you have built up in years of diligent link building are also forwarded to the relevant https page. And search engines see that and will from that moment also start indexing your HTTPS links.

Step 3: Tell Google that your site uses HTTPS

Congratulations, most of your job is already done. Now you only have to take a few steps to complete the entire conversion process from HTTP to HTTPS. The first step is to tell Google your site is over at HTTPS. To do this, you need to add a new proposition in your Google Search Console, namely your HTTPS site. Then you need to upload the sitemap of your HTTPS site there so that Google can index it. You may have a temporary dip in your visitor numbers as a result, but that will soon recover.

Step 4: Adjust Analytics

Then you go to your Analytics account. Click on Administrator in the lower-left corner and in the next screen click on the Property settings in the middle column Property. Tick ​​under ‘Default URL’ that it concerns the HTTPS variant of your site and click on ‘Save’ at the bottom.

Then go back to one screen and click on ‘Show settings’ in the right column ‘View’. Here too you turn on the HTTPS variant at ‘Url of website’. Click on ‘Save’ at the bottom. Then click on the administrator icon at the bottom left, go back to the Property column, and copy under the ‘js’ tab. Tracking info ‘your new Analytics tracking code. Paste it in the header section of your website. In this article, you can learn how to add your Analytics Tracking Code to your WordPress site without a plugin.

Step 5: adapt your database to HTTPS

For the last step in the process of converting WordPress from HTTP to HTTPS, you still need to make an adjustment to the database. You have to convert all internal files, such as photos, as well as CSS and JavaScript files, from HTTP to https. Otherwise, visitors will see a warning in their browser that the site contains unsafe elements. To do this you can install the plugin Better Search Replace in your dashboard. With this free plugin, you can give bulk ‘search-replace’ commands. (find HTTP: // your domain name and replace with HTTPS: // your domain name). This plugin can be called up after installation via the Extra tab in your dashboard.

Update: September 11, 2020: The plugin Better Search Replace is still regularly updated. But it seems that the plugin has not been tested with the last three versions of WordPress. I have always been able to use the plugin on WordPress 5.x versions without any problems so far.

Usually, converting those database tables takes a minute. And then you have converted your WordPress site from http to https in five steps. Please note: always make a backup of your site and your database before making these kinds of major changes. It may be that something goes wrong when converting from http to https. The Really Simple SSL plugin has an excellent tutorial online, which usually helps you solve the problems quickly.

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