Get Started With Migration by Reading through the HTTPS Migration Checklist
Following the increasing sophistication methods of hackers intercepting information, it’s best practices to secure your website. The procedure goes further than securing your data but increasing consumer confidence, and by perusing through the HTTPS migration checklist, you stand to take prior precaution. Based on Google, HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is basically an internet communication protocol that guards the integrity and confidentiality of data between your personal computer and the website.
Now, how is data secured through HTTPS?
Here’s the thing. Essentially, data transmitted using HTTPS is safeguarded through the Transport Layer Security protocol (TLS), which offers three key layers of protection that is – encryption, data integrity, and authentication.
If you’ve not migrated to HTTPS, you better do so because, in recent years, Google announced that it would be picking HTTPS as a ranking signal. What that means is that if your site is compliant with the new protocol, your content will gain more preferences over your competitors. With that in mind, let’s rundown the HTTPS migration checklist that you should take into consideration:
1. Ensure you’ve Selected and Installed SSL Certificate Successfully
You now must have heard of the term SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), which is a yardstick security protocol for determining an encrypted connection between your website’s web server and the user’s browser. It then follows that you require an HTTPS certificate (another term for SSL Certificates) to use HTTPS and show the padlock (Secure) in the address bar of your website. In case you cannot afford the premium SSL certificated, you may install the free version like Cloudflare’s Universal SSL. Consequently, you may totally migrate your site to a new host that aids easy installation on Let’s Encrypt certificates.
2. Crawl Your Current HTTP Site
Once you’ve selected the right SSL certificate, you then have an opportunity to fix any unresolved technical problems of your URL structure. This means that you have to understand the existing state of your website. As a result, you’ll get familiar with technologies which might break during migration such as add-ons, plugins, external scripts, payments entries, and internal website search. You may as well check other factors, such as whether to consider turning off or clearing your cache.
3. Fix Server-side 301 Redirects
Update your .htaccess file to redirect HTTP to HTTPS for all entire website pages. A 301 redirect maintains your URL as it’s a straightforward process, unlike other forms of migration. The only thing that you’ll be changing is the protocol.
4. Revise your CMS Settings
Now, in the event you’re using any popular CMS like WordPress, ensure that you update your address settings as part of the HTTPS migration checklist to display the switch from HTTP to HTTPS.
5. Verify and Revise your Robots.txt file
Well, it’s rightfully to say that using robots.txt file within your site is a web standard. The robots.txt file mainly specifies which parts of your website should be crawled by spiders or web crawlers. So different spiders’ specify different rules, and, therefore, you must update your robots.txt file to ensure that your search engines are requested to crawl significant pages. Ensure that you check your robots.txt file does not impede any HTTPS pages — and that any references to URLs use HTPPS, and revise it concerning your new XML Sitemap.
6. Verify any Canonical and Hreflang Tags
Now, canonical tag simply means telling search engines that a particular URL symbolizes the master copy of a page. Therefore, the usage of canonical tag blocks problems caused by identical or duplicate content showing on multiple URLs. And in that case, you must check any canonical and hreflang tags in the process of HTPPS migration checklist verification.
7. Verify Settings in Google Analytics
As part of post-migration, you must update your Google Analytics setting if you have one. You only need to update your Default URL and Website’s URL in the Admin section to show the changes from HTTP to HTTPS. If you’re not using Google Analytics to track your website’s analytics, this shouldn’t bother you.
8. Present your XML Sitemap and Request Indexation
You might have been aware that every website requires a Sitemap. This is an XML file that lists all the pages of your site. Again, it informs the search engines on how the content is structured on the site. As a result, it allows for the search engine bots to crawl your site. Therefore, ensure that you submit your URLs’ features individually to submit the site to their indices.
9. Examine Rankings, Traffic, Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools
Along the way, ensure that you keep a tab on search term rankings and traffic levels for every channel. Again, you must log in frequently to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster tools to ensure everything is in order. Continue monitoring your search engine traffic for your top pages regularly.
10. Recrawling the Website
As part of the steps of migration, ensure that you recrawl your website to verify nothing has broken — or your site still loads over HTTP — and fix any errors. You might as well contact other website owners and inform them of your new HTTPS URL so that they can change it.
Once you’re done with your HTTPS migration checklist, you must continue observing your website for possible errors. An effective HTTPS migration is not all about effecting changes but also setting a permanent eye on how they function on your website. Besides, you must take into consideration that with any website migration, it might take some time before everything stabilize. So, once you’ve followed the HTTPS migration checklist, you shouldn’t encounter any issues on your website.