Long live HTTPS!

HTTPS encrypted connection

I’ve started from the scratch and get rid of blog sub-folder.


Then I’ve tried to add again the http to https redirect in .htaccess and got the server unavailable error from CloudFlare. This is because Altervista hosting server was not presenting to CloudFlare any certificates. Soooo… screw redirect, if you want to browse in http, for now, I’ll not force you to go https. Let’s concentrate on flawless https experience by fixing ‘Mixed content’ warning.


occurs when initial HTML is loaded over a secure HTTPS connection, but other resources (such as images, videos, stylesheets, scripts) are loaded over an insecure HTTP connection.

Again several solutions:

  • Using the CloudFlare http to https redirect was kinda working, but post featured image was still loaded over http.
  • Finding all http occurrences and replacing with https in entire WordPress source code was again kinda working, but post featured image and add plugin preview frame were still loaded over http. Also, each time when a new version of WordPress came out I need to do update manually, so go back to pristine source code.
  • Using a http to https plugin was kinda working, but external links, like one to gravatar avatar, was still loaded over http. Easily fixed by adding another replace in plugin source, but still kinda hacky.

In extremis I’ve tried the simplest solution: set the WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) to https://… and it worked! No more ‘Mixed content’ warning! And with added benefit of automatic redirect from http to https!


If you deal with a free hosting, don’t overthink and do the simplest thing you can. Otherwise, you get in troubles that you can’t debug and loose your precious time.
If you want to tweak all parameters at your will, get yourself a virtual server, or at least a paid hosting with a good reputation and many personalization options.

In the beginning there was HTTP…

Signage: one way, wrong way, do not enter
…but we are in 2017 now

and HTTPS is a must standard, and the fact is, I wanted to have this blog running entirely on a secure connection. My initial plan was to leave the root folder for a future personal website with portfolio, about me and etc. sections and a link to blog in separate folder where I’ll install WordPress.


With my plan in one hand and FileZila in other I’ve installed WordPress in a couple of minutes. For SSL encryption I need a valid certificate, Altervista hosting can give you a free HTTPS certificate, although it’s not generated by them but by their partner CloudFlare and to get it you must also enable the whole CDN (Content Distribution Network) stuff supplied by CloudFlare. So this was also done.


Now we must enable automatic redirect from root to blog folder and .htaccess with mod_rewrite seemed like a reasonable way to go. After a bit of googling and trial and error this is what I came:

BTW follow this link for an excellent mod_rewrite cheat sheet by Dave Child.

Get rid of HTTP

Next step was to redirect each HTTP request to it’s HTTPS counterpart.
Googling the simplest solution is to set the WordPress Address (URL) and Site Address (URL) from http to https. Doing this made the site go in redirection loop.
An alternative was to use .htaccess with another rewrite condition added right after the previous redirect:

Doing this made the site go in redirection loop, again.
Other solutions failed too, and as I found the problem was not my scripts, but the CloudFlare and how they manage https connection.
Remember that I was forced to enable CloudFlare to have a https connection? As it turns out after Altervista made partnership with CloudFlare all connections and request go to CloudFlare over https/http connection, and then CloudFlare contacts Altervista on regular http. And only CloudFlare is allowed to contact Altervista servers over http.


Sometimes it’s really a pain to bump against free hosting limitations… Next time I’ll see hot to fix it!