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Google ranking and http vs https - set up differences
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Carolin
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December 13, 2016 - 10:43 am
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Rick — as a suggestion, might you do a video about converting a website from http to https? It seems to be becoming a lot more important for Google ranking, for sites to have a security certificate.

Last year, we briefly touched on this issue in a Wed Q&A, but that was so long ago, there are likely newer things to know, and I might not be remembering everything from a year ago. Plus there is no video from last year – the earlier Q&A, that I think was ever posted?

There are 2 scenarios I want to get clarity about —

1 – Transferring an old legacy website to use a security certificate – what are all the steps to do, to preserve Google ranking, and to take care of being sure the site is working well after the transition.

2 – Differences in setting up a new website, whether with security, or without security – I am suspecting a lot us may have been mostly setting up non-secured sites in the past. And while change-over issues would not be a factor if setting up a brand new site with a security certificate, what are any major set up differences?

Thanks much.

Carolin Benjamin WordPress Design & Consulting

Consulting, design and web construction for businesses, non-profits, sole-practitioners –
as well as providing ‘white label’ support to web and advertising agencies that need extra help from time to time.

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Rick Anderson
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December 13, 2016 - 10:58 am
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That is SUCH a great idea.  I’ll convert a couple of sites first to see how it goes.

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Carolin
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January 9, 2017 - 11:53 am
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Rick —

I ran across this new post on this topic of http vs https that may be of interest for you as you prepare a seminar on the topic, in case you might not have seen it already.

Carolin Benjamin WordPress Design & Consulting

Consulting, design and web construction for businesses, non-profits, sole-practitioners –
as well as providing ‘white label’ support to web and advertising agencies that need extra help from time to time.

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Rick Anderson
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January 9, 2017 - 4:10 pm
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I hadn’t seen that one but this is coming soon.  I’m just about ready to transfer byobwebsite to thesis 2.2 & agility 3.2.  Once I’ve done that I will move to setup SSL here, then practice on a couple of other sites – then we’ll teach it.

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Christiaan van Os
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March 7, 2017 - 11:54 pm
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Hi Rick,

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it to yesterdays webinar about converting a thesis site from http to https. Will there be a replay or will the video be placed here on the byob site?

Nevertheless, I hope you can give me some feedback about the steps I believe I should take to go from http to https:

1) get an ssl certificate and install it through direct-admin (my hosting provider offers the free ‘let’s encrypt’ certificate)

2) edit my .htaccess file with the following code:

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>

RewriteEngine On

RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} 80

RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://www.yoursite.com/$1 [R,L]

</IfModule>

3) edit wordpress general settings (wordpress url + site address)

 

Will this be sufficient? Are my steps listed in the correct order? Does Thesis require some additional steps? Would I need an extra plugin of some sort?

Thanks!

– Christiaan

Ps.: the website that I would like to convert is www.onderwijslessen.nl

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Rick Anderson
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March 8, 2017 - 5:24 am
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OK, you would only need to do item number 2 if WordPress can’t write to your .htaccess file.  It is highly unlikely that it can’t.

So the steps to doing this are:

  1. Make sure you know your login password.  Switching to https will confuse your password manager.
  2. Turn off all caching.  Check your “mu plugins”, turn of any caching plugns, turn off any external caching – CloudFlare
  3. Install the SSL cert
  4. You may need to wait a little while for the cert to take affect
  5. Change your site & WordPress url in Settings >> General
  6. Log back into your site
  7. Open the site in Chrome and check the errors in the console
  8. Fix database references to http://yoursite.com using the Better Search and Replace plugin
  9. Hunt for other errors
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Tom Huntington
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March 8, 2017 - 8:52 pm
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Hi Rick,

I was able to be at your class yesterday for converting a thesis site to https, and your directions and demos was simple and clear enough for even me to follow them today — up to the last point — the errors point.

I got a few errors though and I’m clueless of how to fix them. Examples of the two types of errors are these:

lgibooks.com/:10 Mixed Content: The page at ‘https://lgibooks.com/’ was loaded over HTTPS, but requested an insecure stylesheet ‘http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Droid+Serif:400,700’. This request has been blocked; the content must be served over HTTPS.

(index):1 Mixed Content: The page at ‘https://lgibooks.com/’ was loaded over HTTPS, but requested an insecure stylesheet ‘http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Oswald:400,300,700’. This request has been blocked; the content must be served over HTTPS.

I tried to get to your Office Hours at about 2 minutes after 5:00, but wouldn’t let me register.  It tried to register me for next Wednesday.

Is this something you can give me directions to in the forum, or should I wait til next Wednesday. I’m assuming that this won’t stop anyone from accessing my site — just they won’t see it is “Secure” Is that accurate?

Thanks, Tom

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Christiaan van Os
Netherlands
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March 9, 2017 - 12:10 am
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Hi Rick,

So far I’ve transferred two of my site from http to https. Everything went smooth except for the fact that there’s one error I can’t seem to fix.

At this page > https://www.osacademie.nl/forum < i’m using the simple press plugin with the ‘unified’ theme. The error i’m getting when I inspect the page in chrome is a mixed content error for an image called: dd_arrow.gif. It isn’t served over https.

The better search and replace plugin and the string locator plugin do not seem to find nor fix this one. So i’m kind of at a loss right now. I tried just deleting the image via ftp (it’s not particularly useful on the forum) but that didn’t work.

Any ideas?

Thanks in advance.

– Christiaan

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Rick Anderson
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March 9, 2017 - 7:05 am
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So this is one of the problems that isn’t easy to solve.  

  1. I searched your page source to see what was calling it – the page itself isn’t calling it
  2. I looked for the forum CSS files 
  3. Opened and searched for the image – found it halfway down in https://www.osacademie.nl/wp-content/sp-resources/forum-cache/sp-plugin-styles-all.css

This is a weird place for a hard coded css rule – so unless you did it yourself it was probably generated dynamically.

You might try going to Forum >> Themes >> Custom CSS and adding a rule and saving.  This might regenerate the dynamic CSS file and make that go away.

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Rick Anderson
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March 9, 2017 - 7:26 am
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Tom Huntington said

I got a few errors though and I’m clueless of how to fix them. Examples of the two types of errors are these:

lgibooks.com/:10 Mixed Content: The page at ‘https://lgibooks.com/’ was loaded over HTTPS, but requested an insecure stylesheet ‘http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Droid+Serif:400,700’. This request has been blocked; the content must be served over HTTPS.

(index):1 Mixed Content: The page at ‘https://lgibooks.com/’ was loaded over HTTPS, but requested an insecure stylesheet ‘http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Oswald:400,300,700’. This request has been blocked; the content must be served over HTTPS.

Tom, this is easy to fix – go save your skin design options and it will be resolved.

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Christiaan van Os
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March 9, 2017 - 7:48 am
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Rick Anderson said
So this is one of the problems that isn’t easy to solve.  

  1. I searched your page source to see what was calling it – the page itself isn’t calling it
  2. I looked for the forum CSS files
  3. Opened and searched for the image – found it halfway down in https://www.osacademie.nl/wp-content/sp-resources/forum-cache/sp-plugin-styles-all.css

This is a weird place for a hard coded css rule – so unless you did it yourself it was probably generated dynamically.

You might try going to Forum >> Themes >> Custom CSS and adding a rule and saving.  This might regenerate the dynamic CSS file and make that go away.  

I definitely did not add that css rule myself.

What css rule do you suggest i’d add to the custom css?

I’ve tried to change the css file (styles-all.css) and upload it via ftp, but that also didn’t work.

And if it’s generated dynamically, would a future simple press update fix the problem?

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Rick Anderson
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March 9, 2017 - 8:10 am
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Christiaan van Os said

I definitely did not add that css rule myself.

What css rule do you suggest i’d add to the custom css?

I’ve tried to change the css file (styles-all.css) and upload it via ftp, but that also didn’t work.

And if it’s generated dynamically, would a future simple press update fix the problem?  

You could try 

body:background-color:#fff;

Save the css and then delete the custom css and save it again.  If I’m right the CSS file will be regenerated

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Christiaan van Os
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March 10, 2017 - 8:29 am
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Hi Rick,

I tried your suggestion. Shouldn’t the css be:

body {background-color:#fff;} instead of body:background-color:#fff; ?

Nevertheless, I still seem to get the ‘mixed-content’ message.

Also, whenever I type osacademie.nl/forum (without the http or https) or first google ‘osacademie forum’ and than click on the link, I get to see my forum page without all the css. Is this related to switching to https or perhaps some other problem?

The upside of all this is that I can be one of your examples for showing that switching to https may not always be that simple :-).

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Rick Anderson
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March 14, 2017 - 8:39 am
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So 4 days later – sorry about the delay cry – it looks like all of that is resolved.  I don’t see an mixed content errors on your pages.

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Christiaan van Os
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March 23, 2017 - 4:33 am
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Hi Rick,

I think everything is fine now indeed :).

Two additional questions;

1) I tend to find a lot of people on the internet suggesting that 301 redirects should be set up after transitioning from http to https. What’s your take on this? Should I, and if so, what’s the easiest way to do this?

2) Is it good practice to delete the ‘old’ google analytics tracking script that was tracking the http version of my site? Or should I leave it in there permanently.

 

Thanks!

– Christiaan

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Rick Anderson
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March 23, 2017 - 8:54 am
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  1. No – you don’t need to create 301 redirects – as long as you added the https property to your Google analytics and search console.
  2. You probably don’t need to leave it there permanently.  As soon as it stops providing you useful information you can get rid of it.  Right now half of my traffic is still coming through http and not https – I switched to https 2-1/2 months ago.
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