For the last few years I have had a website that has had an SSL certificate because we were operating an online store. As a result, visitors arriving at our website were always taken to https://www.example.com.
We decided to move our site to another host and since we no longer operate an online store we decided against purchasing an SSL certificate on the new site since we won't be needing it.
Once we performed the migration, we started getting reports from some visitors that they were being told the website was unsafe by their browsers. This only occurred for visitors that had visited the site before the migration.
What seems to have happened is that visitor's browsers have cached information about the site and are automatically redirecting the visitors to https://www.example.com even when they type http://www.example.com into their search bar.
The only solutions I have been able to identify are:
- Recommend that visitors clear their cache (many will not know how to do this and are concerned by the warning message saying our site might not be trusted)
- Buy an SSL certificate from our new host so that we don't inconvenience our visitors
In the end, we were forced to buy the SSL certificate in order to resolve the issue quickly without continuing to impact our visitors.
Is there any other option we could have tried? Surely it must be possible to switch off SSL from a site without causing so much trouble to site visitors.