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I have a website that is only available via https, but 3rd party images are only available via http. This results in a HTTPS mixed content warning.

I'm thinking of proxying the image serving via an https endpoint, but it this worth the effort for SEO reasons?

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    Have you actually tried linking to the same images without using a protocol? (for example: <img src="//www.example.com/image.jpg" alt="3rd party image" />). – zigojacko May 26 '15 at 10:19
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    @zigojacko There is no https variant available unfortunately. – Ward Bekker May 26 '15 at 10:30
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I'm thinking of proxying the image serving via an https endpoint, but it this worth the effort for SEO reasons?

You are not going to be penalized by algorithms for not using https. As long as crawlers can access the images, they are going to index them and eventually rank them too.

However, the warning message provides a not so good user experience. They may share your site less. Google may notice it on the long run and it might be reflected in rankings too.

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Yes, find a way to fix this. You're not the only one getting these errors, your users will as well.

The indication icon in the URL-bar will show a faulty connection icon because not everything is https, thus it's not 100% safe (assuming full https is 100%).
This will scare off people.

  • You should try to link to //www.example.com/img.jpg, without http(s)
  • If no https variant available, just download the image and show your own version
  • Try to convince the other site to go to https or at least get a 10$/yr certificate to allow basic https

Things get a bit more difficult when you're talking about resources like javascripts and stylesheets. You could make a simple PHP file which downloads it, and presents that file to the user. I would consider this a cheat since that connection might still send some information which can identify the user.

Don't forget to add a "save external resource to file/session/cookie and next load, load that instead of a new file_get_contents()". You will increase your own bandwith (you make the server download it from another server, and upload it to your users browser, two steps that where not there). This trick will limit bandwith abuse.

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