How to Use SSL Certificates to Move From HTTP to HTTPs In 2019

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May 6, 2019

Did you know that sites with https version see significant growth in their traffic and conversion when compared to http sites?

Yes, that’s true.

We’re buying a lot of things online these days where we often share highly important data like the debit card, credit card, PayPal and other bank information.

If you’re a blogger or running an eCommerce store, you’ll be mostly selling products or taking transactions from your website. Here’s where you need https version where the communications between your browser and the website are encrypted.

Not only https version helps you increase your website traffic and conversions but it also acts as a “trust factor”.

If you’re still on http version and looking for an easy tutorial on shifting to https version, this detailed post on using SSL certificates is just for you.

How to use SSL certificates to get HTTPS version?

How to Use SSL Certificates

What is an https or SSL certificate?

Let’s briefly talk about the abbreviations of https and SSL.

HTTPs stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure and SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer.

The secure version which is https version uses an SSL certificate to establish a connection between browser and server. It simply means any information such as bank information such as credit cards data that is exchanged between your browser and the website gets encrypted.

As you can see from the above illustration, the data sent through https version is completely encrypted (which means, your data will be fully safeguarded).

That means, once an SSL certificate is installed on a web server, it immediately activates the padlock and the https protocol. This is what allows highly secure connections from a web server to a browser and the data is fully encrypted.

Here’s how the whole process works;

  • Visitor or any user enters the website address on their browser
  • Your browser connects server (your target website) on an SSL port (we’ll discuss different types of SSL certificates just in a while)
  • Your website server sends back its public key and the client i.e your browser decides if it’s ok to proceed.
  • Then, it checks if the public key isn’t expired and if it is verified or “signed” by a trusted 3rd party Certificate Authority (their job is simply to verify server application for a digital SSL certificate)
  • If the client decides to trust the certificate, it sends the public key to the server
  • Now, your website server creates an encrypted message using the client’s public key and server’s private key and send the message back to the browser
  • Then, your client’s browser decrypts the message
  • Finally, the client and the server has established a secure connection

Here’s an excellent illustration of http and https version.

Illustration of http and https version

In a nutshell, SSL certificates encrypt the data that goes from your computer to the target website server and back.

Read: SiteGround vs Bluehost Comparison (2019): Which One Is The Winner?

Types of SSL certificates?

So what are the different types of SSL certificates? Are you curious to find out the different types of SSL certificates? SSL certificates are divided into 3 types which are listed below.

  1. Domain Validation (DV)
  2. Organization Validation (OV)
  3. Extended Validation (EV)

Let’s briefly talk about the above mentioned types of SSL certificates so you can understand better about them.

1. Domain Validation (DV) SSL certificates:

Domain Validated (DV) certificates are those type of SSL certificates which are checked against domain registry. These type of SSL certificates are fully supported and share the same browser recognition with Organization SSL (OV) which we’re going talk next. It simply means, all the SSL certificates that are quick to be issued since only the domain is verified for legitimacy.

Who should be using DV SSL certificates?

Basically any WordPress site including portfolio sites to magazine sites to basic WordPress sites can use DV certificates.

2. Organization Validation (OV) SSL certificates:

Organization Validation (OV) SSL certificate details indicate your website is using an Organization Validated SSL Certificate and include the issuing CA, validity status and expiration date.

Here’s how this SSL certificate looks like;

Organization Validation ssl

Who should be using OV SSL certificates?

Any business or organization sites (including small business to agencies) which need to appear as trustworthy can use OV SSL certificates.

3. Extended Validation (EV) SSL certificates:

These are recognized by the browser’s address bar being colored green as opposed to only the https text. EV SSL certificate is what offers the HIGHEST level of security so it’s highly recommended!

Here’s how it looks like;

Extended Validation ssl

Who should be using EV SSL certificates?

All kinds of eCommerce and business sites or any site that wants to appear as trustworthy can use EV SSL certificates and this is the most recommended SSL certificate as it is encrypted by 2048-bit (which is the highest assurance SSL Certificate) and offers 99.9% browser recognition.

Read: 10 Best Web Hosting Deals 2019 for All Kinds of Budgets

Why We Need SSL Certificate: 5 BIGGEST Benefits

Are you wondering about why should you be using SSL certificates and care about moving your site from http to https?

Here are few of the major benefits of using SSL certificates in 2019 and beyond.

1. Increase in Google rankings

The major reason to go for SSL certificates is that they improve your Google search rankings. Yes, you heard it right.

Google is giving more importance to https over http. Whether you know it or not, Google considers https as a ranking signal. That means, Google is giving weightage to websites on https version.

Whether you noticed carefully or not but whenever you’re searching for something on Google, Google shows those web pages which are already using HTTPS version.

So if you are someone who’s running a website or eCommerce store, you’ll definitely have an edge if you’ve HTTPS version installed on your site.

2. The data is encrypted with https

One of the biggest benefits of using Https over http is encryption of data. If you’re wondering about what encryption is, it is the process of replacing plain text information like usernames and passwords with random numbers and letters.

This encryption of data is what safeguards your sensitive information such as credit cards or other bank data being communicated between web browsers and a server.

Read: Top 10 Deadly Blogging Mistakes To Avoid As A New Blogger In 2019 

3. Increase your website conversion rates and sales

If you’re a website or ecommerce owner, using https version can increase the “trust factor” of your site. When a visitor search for the product in the search engines like Google and finds that your website is “HTTPS” enabled, then user already knows that the website is secured and there will be more chances of buying from site.

Whether you know it or not, https sites also see significant improvement in sales. A survey conducted by GlobalSign found that 77% of website visitors are concerned about their data being intercepted or misused online. It simply means that, HTTPS builds trust among your visitors and with trust comes sales. It’s as simple as that.

4. Avoid ‘Not Secure’ warning in browsers

If you’re browsing online, you must have came across the following type of “not secure” messages in your browsers.

not secure Warning

As you can see, few browsers such as Chrome show the “not secure” error whenever you’re trying to open a site which is not using https version (although it doesn’t happen with every site).

That means, if your site still has http and your browser showing up “not secure” errors to those visitors who’re trying to browse your site, they can’t open. It means, you’re simply leaving your traffic, conversions and sales to your competitors who’re already using the https version.

Don’t make that mistake and start using SSL certificates to move your site from http to https.

How to Get Free SSL certificates?

Now comes the most important question, how to make your site go from http to https?

You need to install SSL certificate to be able to switch your domain from http to https.

There are some hosts that offer free SSL certificate to move to https version like Bluehost. So let’s talk about how you can use Bluehost hosting to get free SSL certificates so you can get https version.

Why Bluehost?

The #1 reason to pick Bluehost is that, it offers free SSL certificates even for the basic shared hosting plan.

Not only that, Bluehost is the most popular hosting choice which is used by over 2 million sites worldwide. It also offers a wide range of features at affordable prices.

Here are few incredible features that you get with Bluehost.

  • The ability to install unlimited domains
  • Free domain name registration
  • 30 day money back guarantee
  • Free SSL
  • Excellent security options
  • 24/7 customer support
  • 1 click WordPress installs and the list goes on

Let’s now talk about how you can grab Bluehost.

Important note: If you’ve not started a blog yet, Bluehost is the right hosting choice. Or if you’re on any other hosting which is not offering you SSL certificates or other important features, this is the right time to migrate to Bluehost.

So we’ll now discuss about few simple steps that you can use to avail hosting from Bluehost. Once you’ve purchased Bluehost hosting, you’ll get access to SSL certificates at no additional cost.

Step 1: Click on this special link (no coupon code is required) to visit Bluehost hosting homepage. Then, click on Get started now. It looks like this;

bluehost offer

Quick note: As you can see above, Bloggers Passion has partnered up with Bluehost to give you a SPECIAL pricing package of their hosting plans starting at just $2.95 per month (instead of $3.95). So use our affiliate link to save more on Bluehost hosting.

Step 2: Pick a hosting plan that suits your website and budget needs, we recommend you to go for Plus or Choice Plus plans as they offer you to install any number of sites you want.

Step 3: Enter any of your desired domain name (the good thing about using Bluehost is that, domain registration is free for one year with Bluehost). If you already have an existing domain, you can enter that too!

domain name bluehost

Step 4: Here’s where it will ask for you to enter account information where you need to fill out the basic details like name, email and so on. Then, it will also show you your hosting plan package information. You can uncheck all the addons (such as domain privacy protection which you don’t require) and continue for the payment section.

Step 5: Once the payment is done, you’ll get the confirmation email from Bluehost.

confirmation email

Just follow the instructions and you’re ready to go!

Enough said, let’s now talk about how you can install SSL certificates for free using Bluehost.

Read: BlueHost Vs HostMonster 2019: Which One is Better?

How to get free SSL certificates from Bluehost?

To enable the free SSL certificate for your WordPress site using Bluehost hosting, you need to follow the below steps.

Step 1: Log into your Bluehost control panel (cPanel)

Step 2: Click the Addons tab and go to SSL Certificates. Then, click on the learn more button.

Step 3: Click the get started button under WordPress Free SSL to start the installation process of making your site go from http to https.

bluehost ssl

Step 4: Now, simply click on the Install button and once you’ve turned the SSL on, your site will be https ready (although it might take a couple of hours to see changes).

Here’s how it looks like;

bluehost ssl turning

As you can see, you can simply turn on free SSL certificate from Bluehost from your dashboard. It’s as simple as that.

Quick note: Bluehost started providing SSL certificates at completely free of cost for all assigned and parked domain names set up in your Bluehost hosting account (previously it used to charge separately for SSL certificates though).

Most of the times, if you’re on Bluehost, SSL will automatically assign and install itself to your new and existing domains; however, some customers may need to manually enable the certificate.

One important note for existing website owners (who’re using SSL certificates)

Using hosting sites like Bluehost to install SSL certificates is fast and easy.

But what if you’re getting SSL certificates to switch your existing site from http to https?

One problem, you’ll face: few of your website pages will load using HTTP protocol and others will load with HTTPS.

It becomes a mess and confuses Google search crawlers which can ultimately result in a drop in your search traffic.

So how can you fix this issue?

Here’s where an incredible tool like Really Simple SSL WordPress plugin comes into rescue where all of your website traffic on HTTP will automatically redirect to HTTPS.

You just need to install and activate the above plugin (before that, you need to install SSL certificates on Bluehost and turn on SSL certificate) and it works like a charm.

Here’s how it looks like;

really simple ssl

Now if you’re looking for more information on how much does Bluehost hosting cost, let’s talk about it now. Here’s a breakdown of their pricing plans. Bluehost currently offers the following pricing plans in shared hosting.

  • Basic
  • Plus
  • Choice Plus (previously known as Prime)
  • Bluehost Go Pro

Let’s talk about them along with features.

Basic plan: This is the cheapest hosting plan from Bluehost which costs you $2.95 per month and it’s also the perfect shared hosting plan from Bluehost if you’re on a tight budget. You can install 1 website using this basic plan and here are the features you get.

  • Email Accounts: 100
  • One Free Domain Registration: Yes (for 1 year)
  • Storage (GB): 100
  • File Count: 50,000
  • Network bandwidth: Unlimited
  • Domain Hosting: 1 site; Subdomains: 25
  • One Free Domain Registration: Yes
  • One Free Domain Privacy: No
  • Free Dedicated IP: No
  • Free SSL Certificate: Yes
  • MySQL Databases: 20
  • Database Tables: 1,000

Plus plan: This is the medium shared hosting plan from Bluehost which costs you $5.45 per month and you can install unlimited sites and here are the features you get with Bluehost Plus package.

  • Email Accounts: Unlimited
  • One Free Domain Registration: Yes (for 1 year)
  • Storage (GB): Unlimited
  • File Count: 50,000
  • Network bandwidth: Unlimited
  • Domain Hosting: Unlimited; SubDomains: Unlimited
  • One Free Domain Privacy: No
  • Free Dedicated IP: No
  • Free SSL Certificate: Yes
  • MySQL Databases: Unlimited
  • Database Tables 1,000

Choice Plus: This plan is the highly recommended shared hosting plan from Bluehost which costs you $5.45 per month and offers you excellent hosting features which include;

  • Email Accounts: Unlimited
  • Storage (GB): Unlimited
  • Domain Hosting: Unlimited; SubDomains: Unlimited
  • One Free Domain Privacy: Yes
  • Free Dedicated IP: Yes
  • Free SSL Certificate: Yes
  • MySQL Databases: Unlimited
  • Database Tables: 3,000
  • File Count: 300,000
  • Network bandwidth: Unlimited
  • One Free Domain Registration: Yes

Go Pro: Go Pro is the advance shared hosting plan from Bluehost which costs you $13.95 per month where you get the following features.

  • Everything that you get with Choice Plus
  • 1 Spam Experts
  • Comodo PositiveSSL included
  • 1 Domain Privacy
  • 1 Dedicated IP

So what are you still waiting for?

Go pick a shared hosting plan that suits your budget and website needs (where you can also get a free SSL certificate along with a domain name) using the following link.

Click Here to Start Your Blog on Bluehost Hosting Now

Important note: If you’re not satisfied with Bluehost hosting plans or features, you don’t need to worry as Bluehost offers you a 30 days money back guarantee. That means, you can ask for a refund within 30 days if you’re not happy with Bluehost.

FAQs About Everything You Need to Know About SSL Certificates

Here’s a list of few important questions you should know about using SSL certificates for your websites in 2019 and beyond.

1. Is https really a Google ranking signal?

Yes, it is. In fact, HTTPS was officially declared as a ranking signal in 2014 but from the year 2018, websites have been noticing significant changes in their traffic due to https.

It’s literally Google saying shift to https from http or lose your search rankings. So if you’re still on http version and looking to increase your search rankings and overall website conversion rates, this is the right time.

2. How to get SSL certificates for free?

We highly recommend you to consider hosting providers like Bluehost where you can get SSL certificates for free even with their basic shared hosting plans. Apart from Bluehost, you can also use sites like CloudFlare to get free SSL certificates.

CloudFlare is one of the most popular CDN services which also provides free SSL certificates. Not only provides you the ability to move your site from http to https but it is also used to improve the performance, reduce the load on the servers and increase your overall website loading times.

Here’s how you can use CloudFlare to get free SSL certificates to make your site https for better security. Use your email to sign up for CloudFlare for free, once you have created your account, you will be asked to enter your domain name and CloudFlare will scan your DNS server’s configuration.

The good part with CloudFlare SSL settings is that, it will automatically detect your domain’s DNS settings which allows you to update those settings by just changing your domain’s name servers to their own name servers. Once it’s done, you’ll be able to get hold of their CDN and also the free https certificate.

Once done with it, you can use Really Simple SSL WordPress plugin (which is free to use) to automatically detect your settings and configure your website to run over https using SSL certificate provided by CloudFlare.

3. How do I make my site https?

So how can you make your WordPress site go from http to https?

There are 3 simple steps involved in it which include;

Step 1: Buy a SSL Certificate (if you’re using Bluehost hosting, SSL certificate is completely free)

Step 2: Activate the certificate

Step 3: Install and turn on the certificate

You can go through the above tutorial where we discussed in detail how you can use Bluehost hosting to install SSL certificates to make your site https.

4. How important is SSL?

Extremely important! Considering the fact that Google started showing more “results which have https enabled”, SSL certificates are really important especially if you’re running a blog or website.

Not just rankings, but SSL certificates are mainly helpful to encrypt sensitive information that’s transferred between the browser and the hosting servers. You can easily attract more shoppers with HTTPS (i.e Green Padlock enabled) and boost your online conversions if you’ve installed SSL certificates.

5. How good is Bluehost which provides SSL certificates for free?

Bluehost is one of the widely used hosting companies which is trusted by millions of customers around the globe. The #1 reason most people go for Bluehost is its features. You get a wide range of useful features including SSL certificates for free.

The best part about using Bluehost for SSL certificates is that, it automatically assigns them to your domains. If not, you can also manually enable SSL certificates to get https version from the Bluehost cPanel dashboard.

Read: 9 Best Month To Month Web Hosting Sites Along With Their Pricing Plans In 2019 

Final thoughts on using SSL certificates for Moving to https Version

SSL certificates are essential if you want to switch from http to https secured version. Not only they help you increase your overall conversions but they play a key role in improving your search rankings.

Hopefully you found this guide on using SSL certificates to switch from http to https useful. If you still have any questions, do let us know in the comments.

Anil Agarwal

Anil Agarwal

Anil Agarwal who owns Bloggerspassion.com, is a full-time blogger and SEO expert who has been helping people build profitable websites for over a decade. Bloggers Passion has been featured on premium online sites like Forbes.com, Huffingtonpost, SEMrush, Problogger, Crazy Egg, The Next Web and so on.

8 Comments

  1. Thanks for shared a best tips, I follow this tips to upgrade my SSL.

    • Hi Alex, thank for the comment. Yes, make sure to upgrade to SSL ASAP as it’s also a ranking factor in Google. If you still have any questions, please let me know and I’d be glad to help!

  2. Hey Anil.

    This article is really helpful, especially to protect our landing page from hacking. Thanks for sharing and have a great day!

  3. HI Anil, Nice post! I have one basic quest which i am confused at the moment, after i shifted from http to https, i still see google preferring to rank http site only and https page is showing as “duplicate, google preferred to index other page”. Can you guide how to resolve this issue? Else the new pages with https is not showing up in the searches while the other page with http was ranking better previously.

    • Vikas make sure there should be 301 redirect in place from http to https version (from home to home and post to post etc)

      Sharing you a quick checklist you should follow to make sure there should be smooth transition from http to https:

      1. 301 redirect all http pages to respective https pages of the website. You can use SEO tools to check the same.

      2. Update XML sitemap URLs from http to https if you can do it. If you are on WordPress, you can submit new sitemaps to Google via Google Search Console.

      3. Ensure all internal links point to the new HTTPS URLs.

      4. Ensure all Canonical tags wherever available should now point to https version of the page.

      5. Make sure that all resources JS, images and CSS etc also get transferred to https.

      6. Add https website in your Google Search Console account. You will be able to keep track of your website health from here.

      7. Ensure any new external links and new social shares point to the new HTTPS URLs and not http URL.

      8. Change external link from http to https which are in our control (Eg: Footer links from partner websites) once the shift is done.

  4. Bhuvan says:

    This is good!! This article will help us websites to get secure from simple hacking. Thanks for sharing

  5. Hi Anil,

    This article is much more interesting than I could ever imagine, especially for people like me. I remember when I wanted to irate from the HTTP to HTTPS, I had to contact my hosting provider and ask them to do it for me. However, you have made it seems a lot easier. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Moss, most of the times, contacting your web hosting to switch from http to https is the right thing to do especially if you’re not a tech savvy. As they can do it without any hassle but might charge you. That’s why using hosting sites like Bluehost helps so much which are already offering SSL certificates at free of cost. Glad you found this post useful.

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