Premium Redirect Hosting with SSL
Redirecting your old domain the right way
There are two key components that you must have in place to maintain both your existing traffic and search engine rankings. Two things that are NOT included with domain name forwarding:
Without these two things, you may find that nobody can get to your website and your traffic slowly dries up.
That’s why we offer premium redirect hosting with an SSL certificate in addition to our Premium WordPress Hosting, so you can rest easy knowing that everything is taken care of and your site will continue working as expected.
Why is it so important to have an SSL with my redirect hosting?
You probably already know that your site needs to have an active SSL certificate to avoid the infamous “Your connection is not private” error. To that end, I’m sure you had an active SSL certificate at your old domain name.
Over time, all of the links across the web that point to your website take note, and link directly to the “httpS” version of your website, which uses the SSL.
Having an SSL in place ensures that no errors happen and that the visitor is redirected exactly as expected.
Not only will this enable your visitors to get redirected to your new site, but it also has huge search engine ramifications.
When you host your redirect with us, we set up the SSL for you and you get to keep all of your backlinks throughout the web, ensuring that your search engine rankings stay as high as possible.
What will happen if I don’t have an SSL certificate for my domain redirect?
If you just set up basic domain forwarding without an SSL certificate, what happens when people click that “https” link to your website?
They get a big, scary error message, warning them that the website is dangerous. They won’t be redirected to your new domain name, and they may even be scared to do business with you in the future, thinking you either aren’t a legitimate organization, have gone out of business, or just don’t take your security seriously.
You might be thinking, “but my new domain has an SSL certificate, right?”
That may be, but it doesn’t matter. The redirect will not work without an SSL certificate at the old domain. They won’t ever make it to the new domain.
While Google may claim that the impact of backlinks will be reduced in the future, the fact remains that backlinks are critical to your search engine rankings. And a backlink that’s broken because of a lack of an SSL certificate won’t count for anything.
If all of your backlinks use “https”, you may lose every single one of them when switching domains if you don’t have the SSL in place at your old domain.
You may lose nearly all of your SEO value and rankings, in addition to all of your referral traffic.
The impacts could last for many years, since many of those old backlinks are likely to last for years to come.
What is .htaccess hosting, and why is it important?
An “.htaccess” file is a special file in a hosting environment that allows you to specify certain rules for redirects.
So, for example, rather than redirecting all of the traffic from your old domain to the home page of your new domain, you could actually retain the full path.
That way, those who navigated to your old “Contact” page, would get redirected to your new “Contact” page. Using a single rule, you could even set it up so that visitors to any page would be redirected to the corresponding page at your new domain.
This is critical for search engine purposes. This transfers all of the relevant rankings for each page to their new corresponding pages. If you have a page that was ranking highly for certain terms, you want to make sure it will keep doing so even after the domain change. And setting up redirect rules in an .htaccess file is how you do it.
Additionally, it’s critical for visitors. Anyone coming from a referral link at a third-party website to a subpage of your website will expect to end up at the right spot. The search engines themselves will even continue linking to your old domain for weeks or even months after the switch, and you want to make sure that somebody looking for information found on a subpage actually end up at that page; not your home page.
What happens if I don’t host an .htaccess file?
If you just use domain forwarding from your registrar and you don’t invest in proper redirect hosting, what will happen is that all traffic to your website – regardless of the page – will be redirected to the home page of your new domain.
Visitors will be confused when, instead of seeing the content they were looking for, they just end up on your home page.
Search engines will also be confused and may treat your new domain as an entirely new website. Your search engine rankings could disappear overnight, devastating your organic traffic and potentially ruining your flow of new business.
You’re also likely to simply lose most of your backlinks, since the owners of those websites may see that their link no longer goes where it’s supposed to go, and delete it instead of trying to search through your site and figure out where it went.
It may take many years to recover your rankings, if you ever do.
How long should I have the redirect set up?
Common wisdom says 2 years is a good minimum, but I would generally recommend leaving it longer if you’re able. It’s not expensive, and the impact can be substantial.
If you’re not sure, use a tool like SEMrush or Moz to take a look at what backlinks still remain for the old domain. If you find that there are no more backlinks left, then it should be fine to eliminate the redirect hosting. Feel free to reach out to us and we can use our tools to take a look for you at no charge.
If you still have a large number of backlinks, though, I would go ahead and keep the hosting going.
Regardless, I would personally never let the domain expire. If you’re absolutely sure you no longer need the full redirect, you can reduce it to just a basic domain forwarding. But if you let it expire, someone will snipe up the domain and put whatever they want there and perhaps damage the business.
Plus, you won’t even have a choice as to what you do with the domain at that point.
Premium Redirect Hosting with SSL and .htaccess for only $5/month
At the end of the day, proper redirect hosting that includes both an SSL certificate and .htaccess file hosting is very cheap, and absolutely critical, so there’s no reason not to do it.
We’ve offered this service to our clients for many years and it has proven invaluable.
Reach out today to talk about your website needs. We provide our premium redirect hosting for only $5/month in most cases.
We would love to speak with you more and discuss what you need. We’re happy to help you figure out if Redirect Hosting with SSL is the right choice for you.