Having an SSL certificate on your site these days is pretty common and is definitely the way of the future.
But before you decide to stop reading out of fear that this is going to be a SUPER technical post, I want to assure you that if you are a Siteground user switching from HTTP to HTTPS is a very simple process. A one-click process in fact!
So if you want to just scroll down to the tutorial you can do that, but if you are still not sure what HTTPS is or if you need it then I've got you covered too.
What is HTTPS?
Simply put, HTTPS is the secured version of HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol).
It means that all of the communication between your site and browser are encrypted giving your reader much more security.
If you think of banks, credit card companies, online stores, etc., these sites are all (or should be) secure. That way when you input your credit card information you can relax knowing that the information is encrypted.
Why You Should Switch to HTTPS
If you are just a blogger and don't take payments on your website like an e-commerce store then you might be wondering why you should even bother with switching to HTTPS.
Besides the fact that it protects the privacy and security of your readers, it also makes you appear more trustworthy.
If you are a Google Chrome user, I am sure you have noticed that certain sites have a little lock in the browser bar and have started saying “Secure” for sites that are HTTPS.
Sites that aren't do not have the little lock but have an information button. If you click on this button it says “Your connection to this site is not secure”. I have even seen warnings pop up occasionally when using Chrome to let me know that the connection is not secure. It doesn't make me feel very safe on these sites. And I know I can't be the only one.
Also in 2014, Google officially confirmed that HTTPS is a ranking factor. And it has been gaining popularity ever since. Now I don't think just by switching you will all of a sudden see higher rankings, but this does give a nod in the direction of the future where many experts see this as a must have.
If you are still on the fence, SSL is becoming so important that a site called Let's Encrypt is offering free SSL certificates. And every new domain on Siteground‘s shared servers will automatically get issued Let's Encrypt certificates.
The Different Types of SSL Certificates
Not all SSL certificates are created equal.
There are three main types:
- Domain Validation (DV) – most affordable and perfect for just your everyday blog as it really only provides encryption (this is what Let's Encrypt provides for free)
- Organization Validation (OV) – this is for sites that are e-commerce or collect personal information (I would say beyond just the name and email address)
- Extended Validation (EV) – this is the highest option and provides the highest level of security. This is the one that banks and credit cards use.
If you are interested in learning more, check out Choosing an SSL Certificate: Made Easy.
But what you really need to know is for the average blogger, Domain Validation is probably enough (as long as you aren't collecting personal information or taking payments on your site) and you can get that free from Let's Encrypt.
How to Switch from HTTP to HTTPS on Siteground
Download the SG Optimizer plugin on your WordPress site.
Once you have activated the plugin, go to SG Optimizer -> HTTPS Config.
Click the button to turn “Force HTTPS” on.
And VOILA! You are all done!
According to Siteground, using the SG Optimizer to Force HTTPS will:
- Redirect all of your traffic from HTTP to HTTPS
- And all of the website resources will start using a secure connection
You have successfully switched from HTTP to HTTPS on Siteground, but you aren't quite done yet. There are a few more steps you need to take.
- Add your site to Google Search Console || Check out my tutorial on how to set up Google Search Console if you are stuck.
- Submit your new sitemap in Google Search Console
- Update your Google Analytics account to switch from HTTP to HTTPS
Pretty easy right?
So tell me… have you made the switch from HTTP to HTTPS?