The internet is a pretty dangerous place. Unlike the real world, the internet is still in it’s infancy , as such most people still have a very brief idea of what the world wide web is capable of. Your website , which might seem to you as secured as a fort on an island, is probably open to a ton of security holes you have no clue about.
A SSL certificate fills up a lot of these holes, all alone. That’s what it does. The main advantage is has that is secures all the confidential information that your users are entering on your website. This becomes especially important in cases where you are receiving a user’s financial information like their credit card information or passwords. An easy way of identifying if a site is secured or not is looking at their URLs. A HTTPS one will be marked secure while a HTTP one will be marked suspicious.
Buying a SSL certificate should be one of the first things you should be doing after getting yourself a new domain. Just because your hosting provider claims it is secure does not means so unless you are being given a SSL certificate alongwith (or are buying it seperately).
The advantages of having a SSL — secured website are many. But if you are’nt handling the migration to HTTPs, you might be at a bit of a disadvantage. The following is a list of things you should be doing after you have gotten your website a sweet new SSL certificate.
1. Building a new URL map and redirecting all the old pages
Before having a SSL certificate, your website address would have looked something like this — “HTTP:///www.YourWebsite.com “.
After getting the SSL, your URL needs to look like this — “HTTPS:///www.YourWebsite.com “.
While it might seem that the difference is very small as there is just an “S” added, in terms of the internet, that is a huge change. So Make sure all your web pages are having that small S in their URLs.
You will have to create copies all your old webpages and redirect all of the old pages to new HTTPS ones. A URL map is a collection of all these new URLs and their corresponding old ones. If there are any URL changes you had been planning to do (to improve SEO , or branding) — now would be the best time to do so .
2. Updating all your Internal Links
There is a lot of linking left to do , security doesn’t come easy you know. Unless, you have been a good boy, and used relative URLs for all links to pages inside your website.Because if you have (check below to confirm if you aren’t sure), you can skip out this part altogether. Lucky, eh?
Coming back to those of you folks who haven’t , you need to change ALL the internal links, including the ones in your header and footer of ALL the pages on your website. You have the replace the old URLs with the new ones (you can reference the URL map that you made for this). This might seem a tedious job but it is essential to the website’s performance as most sources like Google consider HTTP and HTTPS versions of the website as two different entities, therefore splitting that sweet traffic juice into two.
3. Updating Links to files and images
Links are not just the ones to web pages, many links are also used to call images , data and Stylesheets. Your job here is making sure that all such files and services are also served using a secured web server , i.e. a HTTPS server.
You need to edit all the calls made to these files from the HTTP to the HTTPS server. Again, all you need to do is to add the “S”. In case you are planning to use both HTTP and HTTPS protocols , we recommend switching to relative URL structure for both web pages and server side files.
A secured website is a good website. So buying that SSL certificate was a great thing you did. Once you are complete with these three things too, you can be confident that your website is optimized for delivering over secured servers as well. The gaps would have been filled and your visitors would enjoy a safe and secured experience.