Marketing 3 min read

What to do With SSL Certificate When Merging Domain

Robert Avgustin /

Robert Avgustin /

In a recent tweet, Google‘s John Mueller explained how the search engine deals with SSL certificates when merging domains.

It all began when a Twitter user asked an interesting question about merging domains and SSL certificates. The individual wanted to know whether it was necessary to continue paying for an SSL Security Certificate for an old domain.

The question reads:

“Merging two sites 301 redirects. Old site A will be merged into a new site B. Do I need to continue to pay for an SSL Cert for site A?”

SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. It’s a global standard security technology that allows secure connections from a web server to a browser.

Site owners use SSL to prevent hackers from stealing or tampering with credit card transactions, logins, and data transfer. In other words, it enables a private conversation between the two intended parties.

To get SSL certificates, site owners have to pay Certificate Authorities (CA) to verify their web site’s identity and legitimacy first. Afterward, the CA issues the certificate, which the site owner must renew regularly.

Now to address the question.

How do you Handle SSL Certificates When Merging Domain?

There’s no easy answer to the question. While various individuals shared their opinion on the issue, they couldn’t reach a consensus.

Here’s why.

SSL Certificates and domain merging is technical SEO. It involves browsers and the search engine bots dealing with secure links, redirects, as well as the order of processing such redirects.

Marketing scientist and subject matter expert at Moz, Dr. Pete Meyers, suggested that the site owner keep paying for the old SSL. That way, Google would understand the migration.

Finally, Google’s webmaster and trend analyst, John Mueller, stepped into the conversation. According to Mueller, browsers need SSL certificates for HTTPS, even if you’re just redirecting.

He tweeted:

“Search engines can probably deal with it, but if there’s a chance the old URL is shown to users, just keep the certificate live too. You can get certificates for free nowadays.”

When asked how long the certificate should remain on the old site, the Google Webmaster suggested about six months.

Mueller added:

“We usually recrawl URLs at the latest every half year, so a year gives you min 2 rounds, which is a good starting point. Even without the certificate, I’d try to keep the domain name for the long run to prevent spammers from picking it up.”

Read More: Mueller Provides Insight Into Link Reconsideration Requests

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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