Moving from an http website address to a secure web address with SSL installed (https) is not a simple process if you already have a website online. You will need to understand that the migration is treated as if you are moving from www.mysite.com to www.mysite.net.
If you make the change and you do not edit the site links, change all your web pages in the site code to reflect this or notify all the search engines that you have a new URL, then the migration will fail.
Search engines like Google will have indexed all your website pages for example like http://www.mysite.com/mypage or http://www.mysite.com/contact. If you do not notify Google, Yahoo, Bing etc of this new url change from http to https then your web pages will simply not work or show.
Luckily, we have this covered!! But in our last newsletter we missed the segment to explain what we must do behind the scenes for you and it’s important to know that we do not charge a fee for this.
What we must do!!
As explained there is a big to do list on our side as web designers before, during and after setting up your SSL Certificate. Some of these can be done by yourself if you have for example a Google, Bing or Yahoo account, or master access to your website backend. But you must know what you are doing in order to make the process run smoothly.
Register the SSL certificate
To register the SSL certificate we must first create 4 email addresses for your domain name. These 4 emails must be administrator@, hostmaster@, webmaster@ and postmaster@. If you are able to set these up yourself then it will speed the process up. We would also recommend you set up email forwarding of these 4 email accounts to your master email account address that you use in your every day lives.
Please note: It is impossible to register an SSL certificate unless you set up all these 4 email accounts. When the SSL certificate is installed, an email will arrive at one of these email accounts with a link to click to confirm the certificate for your domain.
Upload a special script
At the same time the SSL is being set up, an email will be sent to us to ask us to confirm the SSL is going to be set up on this domain name. We will then have to create 2 folders on your server and upload the script to the second folder. We must then confirm the script is there and click the confirmation link in the email.
Change the links on your website
We must now change every link you have on your website so that all pages link to https instead of http. If we do not do this, then customers can still physically reach your pages at for example http, but they will get a non secure warning and of course the main point is that they must use https instead of http.
Create a new HTML and XML site map
We must now build and create a new HTML and XML site map and link to these site maps at the foot of your web page on every single page. This is one of the most vital steps that must be made because now, with these site maps we are telling search engines that all the correct pages on your site are now https.
Edit backend code on your web server
We must now change the code in multiple locations on hidden pages within the backend of your website so that the site will auto open the URL’s as https as opposed to http. This step is generally a one step fix to help a host of problems from occurring and is also vital for a number of obvious reasons.
The main reason is you do not want someone finding a page on your site on Google, clicking the page link but getting taken to a page that is not there any more because in theory, that page has been deleted and replaced with a new URL. But if we don’t tell the search engines this, then they will simply not know and your old page will be gone. This way they will know it is in fact still there but just as https instead and so the page link will still work.
Re-submit your site or site maps to Google, Yahoo and Bing
These are the main search engines that your site must be re-submitted to. By submitting to Yahoo it will submit to Bing or by submitting to Bing it will submit to Yahoo. So you only need to do this once for Google and once for either of the other 2. The only way to do this to ensure a quick and professional migration is to use the webmaster tools on these websites. If you have an account with all of these search engines, then you can easily locate the correct page to submit the URL of your XML site map to. Do not try to submit your HTML site map as it will not work.
If you are setting up a new account for these search engines, then they will ask you to confirm you are the owner of the domain name by uploading a special page that they will ask you to download. You must upload this into the directory on your web server called “public_html”. You will then need to go back to the webmaster tools and confirm the page has been uploaded, their system will check, and then you can now submit your sites XML site map.
Don’t worry, we can do all of this for you
If this is too complicated or too time consuming for you to do, don’t worry, we can do this for you free of charge. It was important you actually understood the process of what needs to be done so you know it’s not just a simple case of buying a certificate and a simple and easy process. There is a lot of work to do to get the set up complete.
Thank-you for taking the time to read this and we are here whenever you need us to lend a helping hand.