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How to force re-direct a browser to https using htaccess

How to force re-direct a browser to https using htaccess

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Posted on: Thursday, 12 February 2015

So you've bought a shiny new SSL certificate for your website and you've gone through all the instructions from the host provider and the certificate vendor and you type in your URL, expecting to see your lovely address with a padlock beside it in the address bar, and ... nothing.

My first thought when that happened to us was, "What a bloomin' waste of money!" But, a quick search of the internet and I found out how to fix the problem with a minor adjustment to the .htaccess file for the website.

There are great number of things that the .htaccess file is able to help you with, some of which I plan to cover in this blog, but in this case you want to force the browser to redirect users to the secure version of your site. Below I go through step-by-step instructions on the creation of an .htaccess file and include the code you will need for this task. If you already know how to create the .htaccess file, then just skip these steps.

1. Open Notepad or a different text-editor on your computer.

2. Copy and paste this code into the text-editor:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} 80
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [R,L]

3. Change "" for whatever version of your domain name you registered with the certificate vendor. So, if you registered your address with www. then use it, otherwise, do not.

4. In Notepad, you would then click: File > Save As... and click in the box "Save as type", changing this to "All files".

5. In the "File Name" box, type ".htaccess" (without the quotation marks), and click "Save".

All that's left for you to do now is upload the .htaccess file you've just created to the route folder for your website on your server - in our case its httpdocs - and re-visit your website in a browser. You should now see a padlock beside the address.

Job done!

Mark founded PiciScan in 2010, and sold it in October 2015 to Web By Numbers Ltd, who now employ him! He likes Star Wars, playing escape games and looking after his bonsai tree.

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