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Quick Guide moving from HTTP to HTTPS with Cloudflare for free

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Migrating from HTTP to HTTPS Guide

Migrating from http to https may not be as easy as it sounds, but it is not too complicated either. I’m using Cloudflare at the moment to power this tech blog (you can read about why I’m using Cloudflare and what I’m using Cloudflare for), and it also has a support to transform your site to a more secure site.

Having a more secure site is always a plus (even if it’s not a full https implementation) and Google also mentions it can slightly affect ranking (though I doubt this claim). Cloudflare offers this for free too.

So how do you migrate your site from http to https using Cloudflare for free?

Migrating from HTTP to HTTPS Guide with Cloudflare

[1] Enable SSL on Cloudflare

Login to Cloudflare (or sign up if you haven’t already) and go to the Crypto section. Depending on your web host settings and all, you may not be able to enable the Full SSL option. Mine is set to Flexible at the moment but you’ll always want to aim to get the Full protection.

Cloudflare SSL

Add a Page Rule (not sure if it’s needed as it worked even without adding this) based on CloudFlare’s recommendation.

[2] Install Really Simple SSL plugin and activate

Confirm it’s working (You have the green padlock icon with no mixed content errors and warnings)

[3] Add your new site with https to Google 

This is because Google Webmaster Tools treated http and https as two completely different website.

Once you add the new property/website URL with https (in my case, it’s https://www.cravingtech.com and https://cravingtech.com), you’ll be greeted in the new site with blank index and stats. This is OKAY as it will take some time before Google crawls your “new” website.

I know it’s funny having to add the variants but Google does recommend that on Step One of adding a new website: “Add all your website version – Make sure you add separate Search Console properties for all URL variations that your site supports, including https, http, www, and non-www”. It’s crazy, but I have 4 different properties on mine at the moment with the 4 variants of cravingtech.com.

[4] Configure Yoast SEO plugin

I use Yoast SEO plugin and it seems that the plugin takes care of changing all the references to the old http (like images, posts, etc) into https. If you have that installed too, you can go to your WordPress Dashboard->SEO->XML Sitemaps and click on the “You can find your XML Sitemap here: XML Sitemap”. Then copy paste one of your sitemap into your browser’s URL to see the content. You should see them in https now.

xml-sitemap-in-https

[5] I’m not sure if this step is necessary, but I ended up re-submitting my sitemap again at Google Webmaster Tools (for the https property).

[6] If you use Google Analytics:

Change the http reference to https by going to the Admin settings of your property (i.e the old http website).

Under the “Property Settings”, change the “Default URL” from http to https.

google-analytics

A good FAQ list to ponder is also worth a read: https://plus.google.com/+JohnMueller/posts/PY1xCWbeDVC

This blog has been on Cloudflare-powered https for a while now (months) and I’ve never had any issues so far. If your web host allows a Full SSL implementation, that’d be even better but if not, Cloudflare offers different SSL options and even when you don’t get the full bells and whistles, it still is a more secure option and your visitors will love that green padlock icon for sure!