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:

  1. 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)
  2. 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.

  • 1
    Please stay encrypted for the sake of your users. It's become expected post-Snowden. For a free server cert, see letsencrypt.org
    – Spiff
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 23:56
  • Agree with @Spiff (letsencrypt will not be open for public beta for another week though). But ignoring that, I am guessing your are on some kind of shared hosting setup, which is why you have something listening on port 443? If not, why not completely block port 443 traffic? An error reporting the site is unreachable/unavailable would probably be less confusing then invalid/expired cert error.
    – Zoredache
    Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 0:01
  • We have gone with www.weebly.com which gives us limited options. Their most expensive plan includes an SSL certificate but also includes features we will not be needing.
    – mezoid
    Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 0:13

2 Answers 2


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.

Plan ahead and configure an HTTP redirect several months ahead of time.

  • This is definitely the optimal solution in your case (had you known this when you were planning to move away from https) Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 0:10
  • Our old host was www.bluehost.com which would probably allow us to have done that. Our new host is www.weebly.com which gives us limited options in being able to control HTTP redirects.
    – mezoid
    Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 0:10
  • @mezoid You can do redirects in the apache vhost configuration or in the .htaccess files. You should have at least one of those available through any web hosting provider. Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 0:11
  • @TheGrandPackard I contacted www.weebly.com support and they would not allow changes to be made to the .htaccess files even if I could tell them what changes would be needed. Seems they are quite limited in what help they could offer us.
    – mezoid
    Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 0:15
  • @mezoid After looking at the weebly website that makes sense. They are not a web host in the same terms that bluehost and godaddy/1and1/etc are web hosts and they abstract all of that away. You could have still done it ahead of time while you were on bluehost long enough for any caches to expire and hopefully cover all of the users' cached entries. Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 0:18

I have multiple e commerce website that i manage here is my secrete

1.always set the DNS server in Cpanel to the lowest settings for you website before transfer 1. make sure you have a dedicated ip set in place 2. transfer using WHM to WHM 3. install the same SSL cert using WHM 4. on the server you moved from place a temp popup saying we have moved our website to a bigger better server to provide you the best services possible with a link to the new site as a IP address 5. Make sure you do the transfer around 1am 6. Have staff available the next day to answer the phone 7. if you follow these easy steps you wont have to experience down time or buy a new SSL cert

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