Moving 6 websites to HTTPS & WordPress 5.0

This is a journal of my process.

I have my new services site which I altered to an HTTPS site.  So I want to move my other sites to HTTPS. A couple of reasons for this.

 1. SEO on the other sites, especially my blog site

2. Sitemap and SEO updates in Search Console & Bing Console. Currently the search results to my sites are not pretty. So I get lots of impressions but very low click rate. I.e. my pages turn up on peoples searches but no one clicks on my site links. My Meta Descriptions are pretty rubbish.  I have been steadily updating them and want to submit new sitemaps but I get the following on Search Console:

The DataIKnoW.infosite which is HTTPS uploads sitemap (generated by Yoast SEO plugin (earlier version was Google sitemap XML plugin)) and its status is a success. So at sometime Google will update the site’s links.

But on blog site it will not upload and the status is “Couldn’tfetch”. I have checked it on the old Search Console (where you can do tests) and the Sitemap.xml’s results are no errors after doing the test. But the New Search console (and Bing) wont accept them.

Process, part 1

I followed an article for the website that required me to go into every page on the site and force it to HTTPS for about 12 pages. A long process. My site has over 150 posts so I do not want to go down that route.

I found the following video online that I thought was very good, and I’m following that process:

VPS Windows Server SSL Certificates Issues

Where he has, in the video,  host providers, I am running on my Windows server, so am using a windows Server. For this I set up Certify SSL Manager on my server.

As you can see 3 of them are in red. I think this is because the certificates are created but do not come into effect until a specific time. It says at 10.15pmGMT. My server is in Germany which is GMT +1 so I need to wait an hour to see if it will take effect.

The other surprise I got was the free version only allows 5 certificates. You then have to purchase the software for $45US and it will then work on 3 servers. At this point I will just have 5 sites.

I had problems with this as the certificates were not coming up so I went to the following video:

On my VPS windows server.  For PKI Sharp/win-acme go here to get latest release of programme .After getting the right files (and also clicking Properties> UNBLOCK box for the Zip file , I extracted the files and  using Explorer just clicked on the Letsencrypt.exe and it opened a command prompt window and I could then run it on the command line.

This worked great on the first site I tested, the PIR2.TK. Got that up and running with a new certificate, no problem. BUT, then I tried the Apriori & Cr8ivewebsites and they both errored out. I had issued too many certificates to those sites (me playing with the Certify programme) so I have to wait a week to do these. I have set a calendar reminder for this.

I then tried the website and it issued a certificate for that one, so that is great. I will head on and change that site over as I’ve already made a backup of it.

Process, Part 2

  1. First of All BACKUP. I have taken a mirror of the 3 sites, & and a Dump of their databases.
  2. I am going to try and update all the sites to WordPress 5.0 at the same time. I have tried it on one site already and it seemed to go OK. I’ll need to bite the bullet with the new text editor as well.

In the first video his recommendations are:

  1. Clear Cache
  2. Deactivate Cache plugin
  3. Go to Settings> General and change the WordPress & Site addresses from HTTP to HTTPS
  4. Add Really Simple SSL plugin and activate
  5. Better Search Replace Plugin and activate then Search, in all database tables for Http:// and replace with Https:// This sorts out the issue of all your photo links going to an Https and not to the original Http (something that caused me quite a bit of grief  when I was doing the dataIknow site.
  6. Any issues after you try going to Https://…… your site (brown triangle you can use the following resources, 1.  or 2/  For both of these put your site URL in and they’ll look for issues.
  7. If it all works check out the External Services like Google Search Console (create new for HTTPS:// sites , and just rename in Google Analytics under Admin at bottom in left side panel. Don’t forget BING as well.

State of play at the moment

WordPress5 Updates & Theme updates (to match WP 5.0) – With “GOTCHA” of not transferring the Google Analytics code across. OOPS!!!

Remember, on Theme update to make sure analytics is still operational. I should write a post on that as I constantly  forget the analytics in the header.

  1. Cr8ive
  2. Apriori
  3. Pir2

HTTPS updates complete


Half way house for HTTPS

  1. Still not doing sitemap.xml upload, I have to check “Force HTTPS” so add Really Simple SSL plugin and also check Dashboard>settings>general Site & WordPress url’s are HTTPS. Altered but sitemap still not accepted
  2. – have to wait 7 days for certificate
  3. have to wait 7 days for certificate

Updated Google Analytics, Search Console & Bing Console

  3. DataIknow

 Sitemaps accepted by Search console & Bing?

  1.    YES
  2.                   NO
  3. cr8ive                  NO
  4. Apriori                NO
  5. Image4              NO
  6.      NO

End thoughts for today Tue 11 Dec 2018

A bit messy. I had a feeling it would not be a smooth process. Not a nice place to be. I was hoping to get them all done and was expecting a long day of work to do it.A win on getting most of my sites onto WordPress 5 and updating the themes.

The certificates on the 2 sites are holding me up.The other sites went well. I think I prefer the command line tool to the Certify Tool, I find their interface weird and not at all logical. The command line is straightforward and the video clear.

 I need to do some more research on the Search Console to see if I can get the sitemap.xml’s up and running. This was the reason I am moving to HTTPS and it seems I have had no wins on this front at all.

It took me awhile to update bits of the theme for mt CV site as I didn’t use a child theme and a couple of things got lost in the update. I need to revisit this site for tidying it up

I lost all the portfolio pages on my image 4 site and am reconstructing those now. The photos are there, although they do not all appear so its a matter of selecting the photos for the categories. Quite fun going back and looking at them again.

TheDataIKnoW site is a bit buggy on the Mobile view, I need to have another look at this. It doesn’t seem to have improved on the WP 5 and theme update either.Maybe another theme? I want to re-image the front slider in Gimp. Maybe that will be a change and a task for tomorrow. My brain hurts after today’s effort.

WordPress Update and Theme issues

The DataIKnow site has been giving issues. The homepage does not render properly on Mobile, Chrome or Edge. I just emulated on Safari using this site  and it is the same there. Not too pretty. And different bugs on different sites. Chrome says it cannot get /envelope-border.png and that image doesn’t exist in the theme after a search, nor is it in the images folder. I have tried with and without Cache and same issue in both cases. This is ongoing. I may have to change theme.

I’m also having issues with my block theme after updating too. I thought I had resolved the issues yesterday but there are a few more. This is the Ribbon Lite theme that I have been using. I updated the theme when moving to WP 5.0

WordPress Post Issue on changeover to 5.0 & Gutenberg bug

A couple of issues arose. 1/ I was doing this post prior to updating to WordPress 5 which had classic editor. On updating I went to Gutenberg editor.  The post ended up half in classic and half in Gutenberg. When I published it only the classic part showed. I tried cutting/pasting to a new post but that did not work. The solution was to paste into WORD then paste into new post. Issue 2/ I have noticed when you are pasting into Gutenberg Editor some words join onto the next word in the sentence. This may occur anywhere in a paragraph and may happen 2-4 times in the same paragraph. You have to go into that block and click between the words and add a space. Remember to click twice on the first time in a block otherwise it goes to the front and puts a space at the front.

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