Magento is one of the most widely used e-commerce platforms today and the number of online stores built on it is increasing with every passing day. Despite the impeccable features that the platform comes with, you still have to take adequate steps to ensure the security of the website. E-commerce selling lays a great emphasis on the safeguarding the confidential personal and financial details that the customers share with the business. Magento merchants, therefore, need to take stringent security measures to keep the information safe from cyber attacks. Moving the store from HTTP to HTTPS is one of the effective measures as it not only strengthens the store security but also fetches higher Google rankings for the store. So if you are contemplating the big move, here is all that you need to know.
HTTP and HTTPS: Understanding the difference
HTTP, which refers to HyperText Transfer Protocol, is a set of rules that regulate the sharing of information across distributed and collaborative systems. It establishes a link that connects the client to the server and enables them to send a request and the server to provide a response while following a pre-defined protocol. HTTPS, which stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure, is the encrypted version of HTTP. The communication protocol in HTTPS is secured with the help of Transport Layer Security (TLS), which offers an additional layer of security for the website.
The tech-savvy online shopper knows well enough that stores with HTTPS in their URLs are better from the security point of view. They prefer to shop at such sites rather than the ones that endanger their critical data. Switching your Magento store from HTTP to HTTPS is, therefore, essential for encrypting the personal information of the customers and building their trust in your brand. You may have invested a massive sum in Magento e-commerce development but best results will come only if you ensure the security of the store with HTTPS protocol.
Key steps of transitioning from HTTP To HTTPS
Moving your Magento store from HTTP to HTTPS is a complicated job yet the benefits far outweigh the efforts that go into it. The best way to do so is to hire professional Magento developers to handle the various aspects of the move. Here are the steps to be taken for the transition:
1. SSL Certificate: The initial step involves the procurement of a security certificate, which serves as a warranty for the customers who access the store. The certificate is issued by an authority that charges a certain sum as the certification fees. The authority first establishes the identity of the Magento store and also ensures that it follows a certain level of encryption to be deemed fit for getting the certificate.
2. Base secure URL: Once the SSL certificate is issued, you need to configure your Magento store by adding the secure base URL to it. The steps to be done are System > Config > General > Web. Preceding the URL with the HTTPS does the rest of the job.
3. 301 HTTP redirects: Now that the store is set to utilize secure URLs, the unsecured links need to be dealt with. This is done by using the server-side 301 HTTP redirects to redirect the visitors and the search engines to the HTTPS page. This can be done with the help of Magento extensions.
4. Implementation of HSTS: HSTS stands for HTTP Strict Transport Security and is a useful web server command which directs the browsers to automatically force HTTPS pages. Additionally, it tells Google to show HTTPS URLs in the search results. Along with 301 redirects, HSTS ensures secure browsing experiences for the visitors.
5. Identification of unsecured URLs: A full scan of the store’s code is needed to identify the URLs that are unsecured. Rewrite the HTTP ones by replacing it with HTTPS. Do not ignore the hard-coded URLs which are the ones that are written as text rather than being generated dynamically.
6. Creation of new GSC Property: Once all the aforementioned steps are done with, a new Google Search Console (GSC) property has to be created for the HTTPS version of the Magento store.
7. Generation of a new sitemap: After the HTTPS URLs are set for the store, a new sitemap has to be created for it. This gives the necessary information to the search engines so that they can crawl the website.
8. Checking the Robots.txt file: In addition to sitemap.xml, Robots.txt is a file which is crawled by search engines. The file includes such pages that you would not want to be visited by robots. Ensure that the file does not have any HTTPS pages.
9. Avoiding non-safe images: Since the images on the Magento store comes from someone else’s server, they have to be sourced from a secure source to strengthen the HTTPS page even further.
10. Other considerations: Besides following these steps for HTTP to HTTPS transition, there are some other considerations that have to be borne in mind so that everything works smoothly. An upgrade is needed if the store is running an outdated version. Similarly, you should opt for Magento security patch installation for enhancing the level of security. There is also a need to get updates for Magento extensions being used in the store. Also, ensure that the SSL certificate has not expired.
Even though you may have to invest a hefty amount for procuring an SSL certificate to move your Magento store to HTTPS, the expenditure is completely justified considering the benefits it can bring. However, you may face some challenges such as improper 301 redirects impacting your search rankings. The best way to overcome such risks and get the best benefits of this transition is to engage a professional Magento agency for the job. At Magento India, we are a leading name in the Magento development domain. We build custom online stores and empower them with the best features according to the requirements of the client. Connect with us and upgrade the security of your business store with the HTTPS advantage.