Should I Change My WordPress Website’s HTTP to HTTPS?
There are multiple reasons why you might want to make the switch to HTTPS on your WordPress site. Some of them are purely functional, like better search engine rankings or the fact that HTTPS is the “next big thing” when it comes to web security.
However, changing your website’s HTTP to HTTPS is not only a matter of following a few steps. You will also need to take care of a few things on a more technical level. Below, we’ll run down all the things you need to know before making the switch and some of the things you need to watch out for once you’ve made the switch. So sit back, relax, and get ready to change the ways your site’s visitors connect to your content. Let’s get started.
Why Would I Change My Site’s HTTP to HTTPS?
There are dozens of reasons why you might want to make the switch to HTTPS on your WordPress site, but let’s take a quick look at the most prominent ones.
Search Engine Rankings
The first and most basic reason for switching to HTTPS is that it will help your website rank higher in search engines. Google and other search engines value sites that are secured with HTTPS more than those that are not. The reasoning behind this is that if a hacker were to gain access to your site’s unencrypted (HTTP) data, they could potentially use that information to pull off large-scale scams or steal your site’s visitors’ information. Having HTTPS will also make it considerably harder for a hacker to break into your site and use it for malicious purposes.
The second reason why you might want to make the change is to improve your site’s overall security. If you’ve ever checked out the top-notch security blogs, you’ll know that they’ll frequently cover the latest breaches and cyber scams. The thing is that hackers often steal website credentials or log in as the site’s administrators in order to carry out their attacks. This is why making the switch to HTTPS is a good idea; it will significantly improve your site’s security by stopping any potential attacks before they even start. It’s also good practice to change your WordPress site’s URL from HTTP to HTTPS even if you don’t have a specific reason to (more on that later).
Above all else, having HTTPS will make sure that your site’s visitors don’t get cheated by malicious hackers. Whether you’re getting scammed by someone claiming to be from the IRS or tricked into giving away your personal information, using an unencrypted website means it’s a whole lot easier for the bad guys to commit those kinds of crimes.
The third and final reason why you might want to make the change is because it’s time for good practices to become common place. It’s no secret that Google and other search engines favour websites that use HTTPS over those that don’t, so it’s about time for websites to catch up and start transitioning to a secure mode of operation. Especially since there are so many perks to using HTTPS, like improved user experience and SEO. So if you’ve ever considered using HTTPS but didn’t know where to start, this is the article for you. After reading this, you’ll know exactly what steps to take in order to get started using HTTPS on your WordPress site.
So you’ve decided it’s time to make the switch to HTTPS and you’ve signed up for a free domain name with a reputable company like Bluehost. Congrats! Now you’ll need to take the following steps to make the change:
Step one: Install a security certificate
The first thing you’ll need to do is install a security certificate from an accredited company on your site. A security certificate ensures that all communications with a particular website are secured and private. You can find a list of the most trusted certificate authorities (CAs) at Let’s Encrypt, and many reputable companies like CloudFlare offer premium security certificates as well. If you want an SEO boost as well as better security, get a SHA-256 certificate from CloudFlare. It’s free and very easy to setup.
Step two: Change your site’s DNS to point to the security certificate’s IP address
The second step is to point your site’s DNS to the security certificate’s IP address. You can find the DNS (Domain Name System) entry in your site’s configuration file and change it to point to the security certificate’s IP address (also known as a certificate pinned to DNS). Once you’ve done that, your site will be using the security certificate’s public key to encrypt your website’s data, ensuring that only those who have access to the private key can read your content. (Keep in mind that this also means anyone who has access to the certificate’s public key can intercept your communications with other websites, so make sure you keep that private key secure at all times.)
Step three: Adjust your site’s WordPress configuration
Now that your site is using a security certificate, it’s time to adjust its WordPress configuration. Once you’ve done that, you can upload your security certificate’s public key to the Trusted Certificate Authority section of your WordPress dashboard. (You can find this section under Settings in your WordPress admin area). This step is optional, but it’s a good idea to add the key for additional security measures.
Step four: Test out the configuration changes
Once you’ve added the security certificate’s public key to your WordPress site, it’s time to test it out. To do that, you’ll need to visit the Settings page of your website and look for a security option. You’ll need to copy the security certificate’s public key and paste it into the Trusted Certificate Authority field. Then, click the button to save your changes.
From there, you can test out your new, more secure WordPress settings by reloading the page. Once the page has loaded, you can see that your site is now using the security certificate’s public key to encrypt your content. (It will also tell you if you’ve uploaded the correct key; if not, it will ask you to repeat the step).
Congratulations! Your site is now using the security certificate. If you followed these steps, then you’ve successfully secured your website with HTTPS. You can now rest easy knowing that your site is now more secure than ever before. Of course, don’t forget about keeping your security certificates up to date so that scammers and hackers don’t have access to your private key.
From the above steps, you’ll notice that there’s a lot of work that went into ensuring that your website was secure. If you’re curious about how HTTPS works, how it benefits your site, and why you might want to make the switch, then this tutorial is for you. Now that you have the knowledge, it’s time for you to begin implementing it on your site.