Switching a site to HTTPS
HTTPS (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure) is an extension of the HTTP protocol. It significantly reduces the risk that personal data (usernames, passwords, bank card numbers, and so on) could be intercepted, and also helps prevent content substitution, including ad replacement, when loading the site.
Before sending data, information is encrypted using the SSL and TLS cryptographic protocols. To use the HTTPS protocol, you need to get a certificate, configure your site's server and make changes to the site.
We recommend switching to HTTPS as a more secure protocol, although you can leave the HTTP version of the site available.
When you switch the protocol, the website address changes. The address may also contain the www prefix. Examples: http://www.example.com, https://www.example.com, http://example.com, https://example.com. This means a single domain can have multiple addresses.
The Yandex robot treats such addresses as different websites. That's why they can be included in the search as separate websites. As a result, such addresses can compete with each other in search results. This may cause one of the addresses to lose traffic and fail to reach desired positions. This situation may remain unchanged until the robot determines that the content on the websites is the same. After that, they are merged into a group of mirrors.
When merging, the main mirror is selected automatically. This address is then included in search results. You can speed up merging and specify the main mirror by following the instructions below.
Merging website addresses into a group of mirrors also allows you to transfer some accumulated metrics from the old site to the new one. For example, external links of the old site are treated as external links of the new one. At the same time, on the External links page in Yandex.Webmaster, you can see URLs specified on a third-party site. However, merging doesn't guarantee that the number of website pages in search results, the page ranking, or traffic will remain the same.
- Step 1. Prepare the SSL certificate
- Step 2. Change internal links on the site
- Step 3. Check if the site can be accessed via HTTPS
- Step 4. Set a redirect or specify canonical URLs
- Step 5. Use the “Relocate site” tool
Step 1. Prepare the SSL certificate
- Obtain and install the SSL certificate on the server
SSL certificates differ in the level of verification:
Certificate Description Legal entity Individual DV (Domain Validated) Confirms the domain OV (Organization Validation) Ensures that the domain belongs to a specific company EV (Extended Validation) Requires advanced verification of a legal entity and is included in the global financial industry standards Certificate Description Legal entity Individual DV (Domain Validated) Confirms the domain OV (Organization Validation) Ensures that the domain belongs to a specific company EV (Extended Validation) Requires advanced verification of a legal entity and is included in the global financial industry standards
The choice of certificate may also depend on the number of sites it is needed for:
Number of sites Certificate Note One domain All certificate types can be used For a site with or without the www prefix Multiple domains A pre-determined limited list of URLs Subdomain DV (Domain Validated) — Number of sites Certificate Note One domain All certificate types can be used For a site with or without the www prefix Multiple domains A pre-determined limited list of URLs Subdomain DV (Domain Validated) —
The SSL certificate is issued by the certificate authority. There are several recognized centers. Check with your hosting provider to find out which ones they work with.
After you install the certificate, set up your server. You can usually get the instructions for certificate installation and server setup from the hosting provider.
Make sure that the certificate is installed correctly. Go to the Server response check and enter your site URL in the field, for example https://example.com.
If the SSL certificate contains errors, the message about this will be shown.
To resolve problems with the SSL certificate, contact your certification center or your hosting provider.
Step 3. Check if the site can be accessed via HTTPS
Open your site in the browser with the URL that looks like https://example.com. If the settings are correct, the page will load and the browser will notify you of the secure connection. Check other site pages the same way. For example, in Yandex Browser the connection status icon looks like this:
For more information about connection statuses, see Help for Yandex Browser.
Step 4. Set a redirect or specify canonical URLs
On your server, set a permanent or temporary redirect (for example, with a 301 or 302 HTTP code) from the old website's pages to the corresponding pages on the new website, which should be included in the search.
If possible, don't set a redirect from all pages of the old site to the main page of the new one. Such redirects are inconvenient for users and, consequently, slow down the new site indexing by the Yandex robot.
This allows you to transfer certain accumulated metrics (such as original texts and external links) to the new site URL.
Step 5. Use the “Relocate site” tool
The robot learns about the protocol change the next time when it crawls the site. To speed up detection of changes, add both website versions (HTTP and HTTPS) to Yandex.Webmaster and report the need to move using the Relocate site tool:
- Go to Yandex.Webmaster and choose the website you want to move from.
- On the Add HTTPS option.page, enable the
- Click Save.
Yandex tries to take into account all data related to site quality. Security is important for users, and the use of the HTTPS protocol is one of the security indicators. By choosing the secure protocol, the site owner protects the user's data. This can influence the ranking.
According to Yandex research, traffic levels remain the same if you follow the above recommendations when moving to HTTPS.
When moving you need to set the regions again. You can set one region for each website through Yandex.Webmaster and an unlimited number of branches in Yandex.Business.