Migrating from HTTP to HTTPs

I am sure many of you have seen the migration of HTTP to HTTPs (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure). But when did it start? Back in August, 2014 when Google announced it was a ranking factor. They said the top priority for Google is security. They said that they are working to make the internet more safe and were very helpful to provide resources to help webmasters fix their security breaches.

It costs money to be on an SSL certificate but in order to encourage people to use SSL, it became a ranking factor. In 2014, Google said it would only affect 1% of global queries but they did warn that they may strengthen it as they want to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPs. Google said in August 2017, they would have a hard deadline of October 2017, forcing people to migrate to HTTPs or lose rankings.

Google then announced earlier in 2018 that those sites who did not move to SSL by July 2018, would see a “not secure” sign on their site. Obviously no one wants that sign to appear to their customers as it would detract them from visiting the site.

This SEO Jo Blogs site is what I work on in my free time. Like many in the SEO industry, we may also be busy attending events or running our own sites, outside of the day job, therefore we might not always spend as much time on our sites as we should. I enjoy writing on SEO Jo Blogs and covering events from conferences such as Webcertain, however I admit I had delayed migrating to HTTPs as I thought it would negatively impact my site. I migrated over in September this year.

I decided to use OnCrawl to see how moving from HTTP to HTTPs would impact my site and these are the results. I know Jérémy from when he worked at Digitas Lbi and I in a previous role. They were at BrightonSEO in April and again in September and as they said they made crawling and reporting easier, I wanted to try the software on my migration.

Aa you can see before the site migration, the site had 82 pages that were “slow”. This was 20% of the total pages.

Site before migration

We then migrated to HTTPs and I re-ran the speed test. On HTTPs, the number of “slow” pages increased from 82 pages to 129 pages. This was 32.3% of the pages of the site.

After migration

So why was the site running slower after HTTPs? My hosting provider never mentioned there would be a negative impact on the speed of the site. BUT poor hosting does have an impact on site performance. You get what you pay for, so if you are paying for “cheap” hosting, then the speed of your website may be affected and even so after the migration to HTTPs.

What I liked about OnCrawl is that it gave me a clear result from pre move to HTTPs to post migration. It was also easy to use and now I could identify the issues with my site, albeit due to the “cheap” hosting.

So should you migrate to HTTPs?

1) You do need to make the move, but make sure you have a good hosting provider. If you are on a shared server, you will see a drop in your performance.

2) Having HTTPs adds credibility to your website. Especially if you are an ecommerce site or one where customers are entering their details. If you do not have HTTPs, the browser will display “not secure” This would not fill your customers will confidence and if you are a brand wanting to increase their reach online, you will not look as credible as those who have HTTPs.

3) The world wide web develops and without HTTPs you cannot embrace further technologies such as AMP or HTTP/2. AMP is Accelerated Mobile Pages and used to improve the performance of web content. I have seen it on many publishing and news sites.

Elephate wrote a great post about moving to HTTPs on their blog. I am still making changes to my site and should hopefully see some improvements especially on speed. I do not have any major errors due to the migration which I was worried about. Don’t be worried about the errors or redirects, crawl your site before you migrate and after. Then compare the results. If your site was slow to begin with, you cannot shy away from making improvements once you made the switch to HTTPs.


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