The Ultimate Checklist for HTTP to HTTPS Migration

When you're running an online business, there's always something you can tweak to improve your website performance. One of the things that is no longer considered an option is performing HTTP to HTTPS migration. Why is it important to switch to HTTPS and what are the phases of that process? We've done a meticulous research to create an ultimate checklist for HTTP to HTTPS migration so keep reading to learn how HTTPS can boost your business.


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What is HTTPS and Why You Need to Implement It

First things first. HTTPS is better, more secure and more reliable than HTTP. As you probably know, the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol works as a taxi-driver for data, moving it around the Web.

So, what is the difference between HTTP and HTTPS? Is it merely an "S" at the end of that word or is there something more to it than meets the eye? The true power of HTTPS is hidden in the meaning of that single "S" since it stands for secure.

When you adapt HTTPS, you get not one but three key layers of protection. Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure or HTTPS protects your data. To do so, HTTPS focuses on encrypted data, authenticity and integrity.

Each of the three bring significant security improvements, whereby data integrity data encryption adds protection to information by encrypting it, authentication prevents any possible interception of data and integrity blocks an unknown third party and disables any unwanted data modification.

The first users of HTTPS were banks, eShops, ecommerce sites, credit card companies and online casinos, which comes natural as these businesses deal with confidential data and money transactions.

However, ever since Google has started to use HTTPS as a ranking signal, every website owner around the globe got an additional reason to migrate from HTTP to HTTPS. In addition, updates such as HTTP/2, which improve the speed of your website are supported in certain browsers only over HTTPS.


Image credit: https://www.pickaweb.co.uk/blog/how-to-switch-your-website-to-https/

Getting Down to the HTTP to HTTPS Migration Checklist

Website modifications are no child's game, so if you're not sure how to do it, better hire a pro to do the work for you. Whether you decide to give it a shot using your own knowledge and skills or find someone else to help you, these are steps that will help you navigate through the migration:

  1. Preparation
    • Crawl your existing website to get a list of all URLs
    • Download a list of:
      • Disavowed domains and URLs
      • 301 redirects currently in place
      • Any URL removal requests
      • Google Search Console registration (both domains http & https in Google Search Console, plus your www and non-www versions)
      • HTTPS Web setting and updating internal links
      • HTTPS Web canonicalization
      • Robots.txt preparation
  2. Launch
    • Install SSL Certificate
    • Check internal linking
    • Check redirects
    • Update GSC, Google Analytics, AdWords, Google My Business, Social Media profiles
    • Robots.txt update (perform the robots.txt refresh with the https domain including the relevant changes)
    • Check and (if needed) replace all absolute links
  3. Post-Launch
    • Re-run crawl (check internal links, redirects, 404s or/and any other errors)
    • Upload new XML sitemap with the https URL versions
    • Re-submit disavow file (if applicable)
    • Re-submit URL removal requests (if applicable)
    • Update (if applicable):
      • Structured data markup
      • PPC
      • Email campaigns
      • Additional scripts
    • Crawl new HTTPS version of site (to make sure everything is working properly)
    • Crawl the list of old URLs (to check if they are all 301)
    • Closely monitor rankings and all metrics in GSC and GA over the next several weeks

Having all mentioned in mind, we can conclude that migrating from HTTP to HTTPS is not an option. It has become a necessity. Therefore, the above ultimate checklist for doing so should be taken into consideration for it will improve your online business and make your life easier. Good luck and stay secure!


Author

Phong Thai Phong Thai is a Web Developer, Web Coder for 15 years with PHP, JavaScript, CSS. He is the creator of JavaScriptBank.com - provide thousands of free JavaScript code examples, web development tips and tricks, helpful blogging guides.

Follow him on twitter@js_bank or connect with him on facebook@jsbank if you want. His websites for your knowledge: javascriptON.com, inOneSec.com, www.gomymobi.com

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