How to use Better Search Replace to change http to https in WordPress

If you want to learn how to change your WordPress database URLs from http to https then it sounds like you recently applied for a SSL certificate for your domain. Switching your WordPress website from HTTP to HTTPS is a crucial step in securing your online presence.

But manually changing all instances of HTTP to HTTPS can be a time-consuming and tedious task, especially for large websites. That’s where the Better Search Replace plugin comes in handy.

This powerful plugin allows you to easily replace all instances of HTTP with HTTPS in your WordPress database, without any risk of breaking your website. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of using Better Search Replace to make the switch from HTTP to HTTPS as smooth and stress-free as possible.

The purpose of this tutorial is to guide WordPress website owners how to use Better Search Replace to change HTTP to HTTPS. By making this change, website owners can help ensure that their website is secure and protect their users’ sensitive information.

We will walk you through the necessary steps to use the Better Search Replace plugin, as well as highlight additional considerations to keep in mind when making this switch.

SSL certificate and why would you want to switch to https

The fact that you searched for this topic means that you are aware of the changes. Just for the sake of explaining it to those that don’t know yet, getting your SSL certificate and moving your website from http to https is no longer up to debate.

Since Google Chrome started labelling http addresses as not secure putting potential customers away from your ‘unprotected’ website, this is a must, especially for those running ecommerce websites or processing any delicate data.

Not secure warning in Google Chrome
‘Not secure’ warning in Google Chrome.

Websites with SSL certificates are also favoured by Google over those that still use http protocol. In other words, SSL certification for your domain is a must these days.

Anyway, I’m assuming that you have already made the move and applied for your certificate. Unfortunately for you, the migration doesn’t happen automatically and apart from installing the actual certificate on your server, you need to update any old links in your wordpress database that still use http.

Better Search Replace http to https

The good part is that you are using WordPress and there is a fantastic plugin to do this for you. The plugin is called Better Search Replace.

It allows users to quickly and easily search and replace strings of text within their website’s database. This plugin can be a valuable tool for website owners who need to make changes to their website’s content or settings.

How to install Better Search Replace plugin

Installation of the plugin is very simple and straightforward.

1. Install Better Search Replace plugin

Log in to your WordPress admin panel, go to your admin menu to the left, hover over or click on ‘Plugins’ and then ‘Add new’.

Add new plugin.

In the search bar type ‘better search replace’ and click on ‘Install Now’ button to install the plugin. After the plugin has installed, go and click ‘Activate’ button to activate it.

Install better search replace plugin
Activate better search replace plugin
Install and activate Better Search Replace WordPress plugin.

Once you have installed and activated the plugin, you will find it under ‘Tools’ > ‘Better Search Replace’ in the admin menu of the WordPress Admin panel.

Using Better Search Replace plugin to move from http to https

2. Configure Better Search Replace plugin

You want the plugin to search for all http:// addresses in your database and replace these with https://.

Make sure you select all tables and it’s a good idea to run it first as a dry run. This way you can see what needs owerwritting before actually committing to replacing the links.

Better Search Replace http to https
Configure Better Search Replace plugin to move from http to https.

3. Run Search/Replace

Once you’ve done your dry run, the plugin will tell you how many entries needs replacing. Go ahead and untick ‘Run as dry run?’ tick box and click ‘Run Search/Replace’. Done.

While the free version of the plugin works great out of the box, every so often you might come across some issues therefore we recommend having a look at the PRO version of the plugin.

Better Search Replace Pro

In addition to the free version of the plugin, Delicious Brains has also developed Better Search Replace Pro. This premium version of the plugin includes additional features and functionalities that can help website owners with more complex tasks.

  • View exactly what changed during a search/replace
  • Backup and import the database while running a search/replace
  • Priority email support from the developer of the plugin
  • Save or load custom profiles for quickly repeating a search/replace in the future
  • Support and updates for 1 year

Overall, Better Search Replace Pro offers advanced functionalities that can help website owners with more complex tasks, such as migrating a website’s database to a new domain or server. While the free version of the plugin is sufficient for basic search and replace tasks, the Pro version is a valuable tool for those who need more advanced features.

Additional Considerations

When switching from HTTP to HTTPS using Better Search Replace, there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind to ensure that your website is fully secure and functioning properly.

  1. Other Plugins and Settings that May Require Updates While the Better Search Replace plugin is a powerful tool, it may not catch all instances of HTTP within your website. Some plugins and settings may also need to be updated to reflect the switch to HTTPS. Make sure to review your website’s plugins and settings, and update any that still reference HTTP.
  2. Testing the Website After the Switch It’s essential to thoroughly test your website after switching from HTTP to HTTPS to ensure that everything is working correctly. Check that all website pages load correctly and that all website functionalities, such as forms and shopping carts, are working as intended. If you encounter any issues, make sure to address them promptly.
  3. Updating Your Sitemap and Search Engine Console To ensure that search engines can find and index your website’s pages correctly, update your website’s sitemap and search engine console to reflect the switch to HTTPS. This update will help ensure that your website’s rankings are not affected by the switch.

By considering these additional steps, you can ensure that your website is fully secure and functioning correctly after switching from HTTP to HTTPS using Better Search Replace.

Update links to https

In conclusion, using the Better Search Replace plugin is a convenient and efficient way to switch your WordPress website from HTTP to HTTPS. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can make the transition quickly and with confidence, ensuring that your website remains secure and accessible to all users. Whether you’re a seasoned WordPress user or just starting out, the Better Search Replace plugin is an essential tool for anyone looking to make the switch to HTTPS. So, give it a try and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with having a secure website.

Did you find this tutorial useful? Or perhaps you came across a problem while updating your database from http to https? Let me know in the comments below.


As an experienced SEO specialist with a passion for helping photographers and videographers improve their online visibility, I've spent over 10 years in the industry developing a deep understanding of the unique challenges that creative professionals face when trying to rank their websites and portfolios.

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