I note that www.google.com is increasingly being used through https, and this results in no HTTP Referer being provided to my web-sites for hits that originate from Google Search over SSL.

How do I run my web-sites such that if they are to appear as a Search Result for a given search at Google, then an https version is provided, but only if the Google Search itself is accessed through https?

  • Why was this question downvoted?
    – cnst
    Jun 11, 2013 at 2:59
  • Not sure, but the question and body is very confusing and unclear
    – Baumr
    Jun 11, 2013 at 14:51
  • I tried, but couldn't find anything confusing. Jul 28, 2014 at 1:06

1 Answer 1


Running an HTTPS server may allow the full referer header through in some cases in some browsers but it will NOT allow it through in all cases. I have done some testing myself. See: "Not Provided" keywords from Google search: If your site uses https, does Google always send the keywords in the referrer?

Google does not provide a mechanism for you to rank you HTTPS sites for HTTPS search and your HTTP site for HTTP search. At best, you would could redirect between the two based on the referer. You do get a referer of https://www.google.com/ (without keywords) when somebody searches from Google on Google's HTTPS site. You could redirect this request to your HTTPS site because it is has an external referer starting with https://.

  • I don't think your information is correct: if your site is http, you won't be getting any https referrers; I'm not sure I even understand the rationale of your answer: if you already got a hit, and already have a referer of google.com, what's the point of going https? My whole point of going https is because many hits don't have ANY referrers whatsoever, without or without the search keyword.
    – cnst
    Jun 11, 2013 at 3:00
  • 2
    The last time I tested https site referers to a http site I saw they got truncated to just the domain name. I didn't see the "empty referer" phenomenon that you describe. Browsers may have changed since last time I looked into it. Jun 11, 2013 at 12:38
  • It may depend of the browser, then, my SeaMonkey doesn't provide any referers. I still don't understand why would you redirect from http to https, did you tests reveal that it somehow results in the complete referer being passed? Which browser did you test with?
    – cnst
    Jun 11, 2013 at 16:16
  • I did some referrer testing with Firefox several years ago. I just repeated the tests using Firefox and LiveHttpHeaders. It appears that firefox now does not send any referrer, like seamonkey for you. Jun 11, 2013 at 16:31
  • Based on my access log, I see that Chrome/27 (last version of Chrome?) must be doing the truncation thing very frequently; not sure whether Firefox had been doing this in the past or not. I'm still unclear whether a redirect from http to https would bring you the full referer, I think it'll instead show your own http page as being a referer.
    – cnst
    Jun 11, 2013 at 16:39

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