How to Handle SSL Certificates When Merging Domains?

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Before merging domains, we need to have a look at multiple websites. If you manage multiple website domains, you might want to merge them and manage your domains from one account. It makes your task as a webmaster simpler. Moreover, there are other benefits of merging the domains.

When you combine several domains, you will also be combining the content and links from all those domains. As a result, you can have one domain. Also, the certificate manager can manage all domains and subdomains under a single certificate so, there will be no chance of missing renewal dates. Visitors on your site can enjoy seamless security.

But if you have implemented SSL certificates on your websites, you might want to know how to handle the SSL certificates when merging domains.

Is it necessary to keep the old site’s SSL Certificate live? Do you still have to pay for the SSL certificate for the old site? These questions have been asked by other web owners as well. This article will answer the question based on the advice given by Google’s webmaster and trend analyst, John Mueller.

But before we dive in, make sure that you are obtaining your SSL certificate from a trusted CA to avoid unnecessary complications and issues. You can consider getting it from global SSL providers like SSL2BUY and you will get the same quality SSL certificate.

Back to our topic,

How Do You Handle SSL Certificates When Merging Domains?

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Here are the expert tips on how to manage your SSL certificates when merging domains:

Keep the certificates live on all your domains

Combining SSL Certificates and domain is technical SEO. Your browsers and the search engine bots will be dealing with links that are secured by the SSL, redirects, and the order of processing such redirects.

Dr. Pete Meyers, Marketing scientist and topic expert at Moz, proposed that as a site owner, you should continue to pay for the old SSL. If not, Google may fail to understand the migration.

It was further suggested that once a browser opens an HTTPS link, the first thing it does is to check the validity of the SSL. It will then view the redirect in that order.

But here is what John Mueller, Google’s webmaster & trend analyst, has to say.

As per the webmaster, even when you are just redirecting, the browsers will require SSL certificates for HTTPS.

Though the search engines can probably deal with it, if you are going to show your old URL to your users, you require the certificate.

Implementing an SSL certificate on the old domain may evade amazing user experience and search engine issues.

However, instead of obtaining a digital certificate for each website, the best option is to obtain a multi-domain SSL certificate to secure several domains using only one certificate.

Since a multi-domain cert provides single security for multiple domain names, you will get a primary cert with additional alternative domains that you can use to secure your older sites.

Allow the certificate to remain on the old site for about six months

John Mueller also advised allowing the certificate to remain on the old site for about six months.

This is because Google normally recrawls URLs every half year (at the latest). In a year, your website will be recrawled by the search engines two times.

Moreover, even when you are not using the certificate, John Mueller advises retaining the domain name for the long haul.  It will avert spammers from picking it up and using it for malicious purposes.

Wrapping Up

Combining your website domains and managing it from a single website can be advantageous for those contents that are not getting enough organic traffic.

But while you are at it, keep the SSL certificate running in your old domains and as suggested by the Google webmaster, John Mueller.

Muller advises allowing the SSL to remain on the old site for about six months. Even after the completion of the six months, you can keep the domain name to deter scammers from using it.