Looking forward to converting your WordPress site into a speedy, secure beast? Well, if so, you are in the right place.
Optimizing a site may sound like rocket science, especially for amateurs. Forcing your WordPress site to HTTPS can seem like an incredibly daunting endeavor, and many site owners are skeptical about the whole idea.
Apparently, however, the paybacks of shifting your WordPress site to HTTPS are mouthwatering. Consequently, despite the risks involved, many site owners go for it.
But will you risk your website’s credibility by forcing it to HTTPS? In this comprehensive post, we will provide you with a risk-free step-by-step guide on how to force your WordPress site to HTTPS.
Nevertheless, first things first!
What Is HTTPS?
First and foremost, HTTPS stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. While HTTPS and HTTP are deceptively similar to a novice’s eye, from an expert’s perspective the two are worlds apart. In essence, both are communication protocols that enhance a seamless flow of information across systems. Unlike HTTP however, HTTPS is a powerfully encrypted communication procedure that guarantees absolute data security as they move from one browser to the other.
Boasting of unique data encryptions, HTTPS intelligently modifies information into exclusive codes which are incredibly complex to decode. With that, this communication protocol is undoubtedly critical as it forms the first line of defense against hackers.
To put this into perspective here is a diagrammatic representation of a typical HTTPS data transfer format.
But Why Should You Force Your WordPress Site to HTTPS?
Obviously, the main reason why most site owners consider transforming their websites to HTTPS is the incredible data security offered by this protocol. As illustrated above, this communication protocol helps modify credit/debit card passwords and other login details, consequently providing a secure environment free from hackers.
That gives you every incentive to consider forcing your WordPress site to HTTPS. Besides that, however, this essential communication procedure guarantees dozens of other benefits, including:
1. Helps improve your SEO
When setting up a website, your ultimate goal is to see it go viral. Predominantly, an SEO-optimized WordPress site gets easily discovered by many people, thus increasing your Google ranking. With that, you will be able to share a fair virtual space with your competitors, helping you thrive.
Ever wondered why most of the sites on the Google’s first page are HTTPS? For obvious reasons like security, Google announced that they favor HTTPS sites. Because Google focuses on improving the user experience, they believe that sending users to secure sites is paramount. To ensure that, Google’s SEO ranking algorithms favors HTTPS sites. For that reason, forcing your site to HTTPS can help improve your SEO ratings.
2. Increases website traffic
In an effort to create a secure virtual environment, Google has employed drastic measures to motivate website owners to convert their sites to HTTPS. To achieve this, they have configured their systems so that HTTP searches are not shown.
Because most browsers like Chrome now prefer HTTPS-based sites it means that most of your visitors will try to access your site via an HTTPS URL. Ultimately this causes a decrease in your traffic if you do not have an HTTPS URL.
Other Common Benefits Of HTTPS
- Boosts the trust and credibility of your website as it is considered more secure
- Guarantees a quick data loading capacity thus improving the overall experience of your visitors
A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Force a WordPress Site to HTTPS
Armed with this information, you’ll definitely want to shift your WordPress site to HTTPS. However, with multiple procedures on how to achieve this littered all over the Internet (some incredibly problematic and intricate), the trouble lies in identifying an accurate procedure.
To help you effortlessly transform your website into HTTPS without worrying about messing things up, below is a meticulous outline of what is exactly expected during this endeavor.
1. Back Up Your Website
Arguably the most essential step when forcing a WordPress site to HTTPS is first securing the old version. Despite following all the procedures to the letter, sometimes things just go wrong.
For that reason, before you think of modifying your website, you need to archive it. With that, you can always have a reference point in case you mess up.
2. Activate Your SSL
With your back-up secured, the first real step is to identify your SSL. An SSL is a trivial electronic data file that allows site admins to securely connect to the server.
Typically, in a WordPress site the SSL is available on the management dashboard, where there is an option that allows you to shift the site to HTTPS. Simply locate this icon and click on the “Move Site to HTTPS” command.
Whether doing this manually or with a plugin, it is important to note that the above two steps are indispensable.
3. Configure WordPress HTTPS protocol
Once you have activated your website’s SSL certificate, next you need to configure the HTTPS protocol on the admin command center. To achieve this, you need to locate the wp-config.php icon on your WordPress site and key in this command: ‘FORCE_SSL_ADMIN’, true
To guarantee functionality and ensure that the command entered is compatible with the system; consider testing the waters by accessing your site via an HTTPS-enabled link (https://google.com).
4. Configure your website address
Confident that the connection is running smoothly, you have the green light to go ahead and modify the site address. While this may sound intricate, updating your site address is actually one of the simplest tasks when forcing a WordPress site to HTTPS.
The idea is to just incorporate “https:// “at the very beginning of your address. To find your site’s address, navigate to the general settings.
5. Update all your content to HTTPS format
While your website address is under HTTPS connection protocol, it is apparent that your site content remains under the older format. Follow the procedure employed in the above step.
Bearing in mind that you will need to configure thousands of URLs, content configuration can be a truly mind-numbing undertaking. However, thanks to powerful plugins like Replace script and Velvet Blues, this process can be automated.
With all the URL links modified into HTTPS format, you have actually managed to force your WordPress site to HTTPS. Amazed? Well, it’s as simple as that!
However, before summing up this undertaking, it is paramount to consider redirecting your visitors to the new format. Just like the above step, this process can be automated with plugins.
Forcing a WordPress site to HTTPS is easy and at the same time intricate. What really matters is the approach you take. Adhering to the steps highlighted in our all-inclusive guide above, you will be able to effortlessly configure your WordPress site.