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Using an SSL certificate for https protection with OptimizePress

OptimizePress is fully compatible with using an SSL certificate. This will require that you already have an SSL Certificate installed on your domain through your web host provider or another 3rd party service.

If you are looking to secure pages for PayPal Pro, Stripe integration, Embedding a page into a Facebook App, or protecting other pages of your site this is a great way to do that. Please do keep in mind that while this method has been tested on some of our own sites, if you do run into issues making this work, then you may have some incompatible plugins or server settings – or an improperly installed SSL.  

It should be noted that the best way to do this would be to either have your entire site setup for using an SSL, or not using an SSL. The reason is due to http and https urls are considered different sites, and in order to ensure that all elements of your OptimizePress installation are fully usable as our licensing system only picks up one or the other.

There are many ways to change your site to using SSL, but this is just one of them. We also have the following guides that may help:
Using Cloudflare\’s Free SSL
Using LetsEncrypt Free SSL

No matter which method you use, just know that once the SSL is operational on your site, any of those guides, as well as this guide can help. We would suggest reviewing all three guides to ensure that you choose the one that bets fits your needs.

If you are using SiteGround, probably the only thing you need to do is update the URLS, so you can just adopt the parts of this guide that pertain to that.

Setting up your OptimizePress site to run on HTTPS:

Once you have your web host install your SSL certificate, you should be able to access a page on your site by going to https://yourdomainnamehere.com – if the site loads then the SSL is likely installed properly and you can proceed with this guide. If you get errors and the site won\’t load with https, then you may need to contact your web host to make sure they have the SSL Certificate installed properly. If you are using the free SSL from CloudFlare, plase see this guide:  http://help.optimizepress.com/article/451-using-free-cloudflare-ssl-with-optimizepress

Note: Please be sure to backup any file you edit to ensure you can restore the site if a mistake is made during this process. OptimziePress is not liable if you mess up your site due to not taking backup files.

Step 1: Get SSL installed through web host and verify you can load site over https 

To verify your site loads over https, just load your site and put https:// in front of it. If it loads at all (even if it looks broken that is fine). 
You may get security warning but that is ok as this guide will help fix those.

Step 2: Change urls of site to start with https://

To change the URLs of your site, the easiest way  would be to go through the WP Dashboard under “settings > General” – Just make sure you only change the http to https (changing anything else will break your access to the site). 

Note that in most cases after you change these you\’ll be asked to login again which is normal.

Step 3 – Fixing Insecure Content Errors:
Install and activate the   “Insecure Content Fixer” plugin which in our testing has worked great. It is a free plugin that you can install right from the WP dashboard or can download from https://wordpress.org/plugins/ssl-insecure-content-fixer/

After installing “Insecure Content Fixer” plugin, you can test whether WP detects the SSL or not by going to “tools > SSL Tests” – If you find any issues please resolve them before making other changes.

After running the SSL tests, if everything is ok, then you can go to “Settings > SSL Insecure Content” and setup settings that will help fix the insecure content errors on your site. We recommend selecting the “Content” setting as you see in the following screen shot:

The sections for “Fixes for specific plugins and themes” we suggest leaving as is, and also HTTPS detection section shouldn\’t be changed.

IMPORTANT steps needed to ensure OptimizePress will continue working without issues after changing to https (follow all necessary steps above, and then do these last steps).

******* SPECIAL NOTE *******
Please do NOT use the “Better Search Replace” plugin from the WordPress plugins repository as that plugin will damage your site and cause issues with live editor content. If you use that plugin you will need to restore your site from a backup

Step 4:
Install and activate velvet blues update urls plugin (link opens in new window) to update urls from http to https

To do this, after the plugin is activated, go to “tools” and “update urls” and the only difference should be the http (for old domain) and https (for new domain). Be sure to put the correct domain down – good idea to copy from settings/general for the new domain.

Running this plugin will change all the standard WordPress tables and update page/post attachments in the media library to run under https.

Please be sure to select all but the last option in the plugin for step 2. See screenshot below:

Step 5: Install and Activate the OptmizePress Helper Tool: http://help.optimizepress.com/article/1085-update-url-references-after-moving-domain

To use the OptimizePress Helper Tools, go to ” Tools > OP Helper Tools” and then click on the “Migrations” tab at the top and fill out the URL fields just like you did with the Velvet Blues plugin.

While the url updates in Velvet blues plugin will help with any standard WordPress URL updates, you should use both of these plugins. Velvet blues plugin will update a lot of things that the helper tool won\’t – because the helper tool is mostly designed to update OptimizePress data and not necessarily all WP data. It does not matter which one you run first.

VERY IMPORTANT STEP – Step 6: Since you changed the URL of your site, you will need to refresh your API key. Just go under your WordPress Dashboard, click “OptimizePress > Dashboard > API key” and then simply re-save the settings on that page. You shouldn\’t have to do anything else with the API key unless the actual URL changed (such as moving the site to a new domain name). 

Extra Tips for sites/pages running https:

Force loading https for entire site:
To force loading
your site over https, just add the following code to your .htaccess file (backup the file first):
This can be useful if you find that you can still load some pages under http as well as https.

# BEGIN Force SSL on site
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]
# END Force SSL on site

Using OptimizePress Pages within an iframe App:

If using an https page with Facebook Apps, please be sure that all links or opt-in thank you pages associated with that page are also protected. This is needed because Facebook requires all elements and links to be protected or they won\’t show or load correctly.

How does changing an existing site to https effect my SEO Ranking?

This is a great question. There really is no right or wrong answer here since Google uses a very complex algorithm to calculate rankings.

Since http and https are basically two different urls, then we would suggest looking into setting up some 301 redirects and also submitting a new sitemap through Google Webmaster Tools. During the process of Google updating the indexed urls, your SEO may be effected somewhat until all the new https urls are indexed. We can\’t really say for sure how this will effect your SEO rankings.

If done correctly through Google Webmaster Tools we see no reason why you wouldn\’t actually come out ahead of where you were since Google is now looking at where a site is https or not as part of its algorithm for rankings.

We obviously can never guarantee how Google will react, but having https will give your users better peace of mind and your site will be more secure. A slight fluctuation with SEO rankings is a small price to pay for building trust with your site visitors. Ultimately if you put out high quality content that Google loves, then there is no reason to be worried.

If you need help finding insecure items:

Sometimes it is difficult to find which items are causing the insecure warnings. Here is a website that can sometimes help with this: https://www.whynopadlock.com (opens in new window).

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