How to handle SSL Certificates when you merge domains?

An interesting question about merging domains and SSL certificates was tweeted by some. The problem was whether paying for an SSL Security Certificate for the old domain was necessary

Here’s the question:

That’s not an easy question to answer. It’s technical because it deals with how browsers and search robots manage secure links and redirects as well as the order in which those are processed

Those who chimed in took it for granted but there did not seem to be a consensus as to how best to do it.

Dr Pete suggested that MOz continue paying for the old SSL to help Google understand the migration:

Then it was suggested that when a browser opens an HTTPS link it first checks the SSL certificate’s validity and then sees the redirect in that order.

John Mueller then stepped in and confirmed how that situation was handled by browsers and Google:

John Mueller tweeted:

“Browsers definitely need the certificate for HTTPS, even if you’re just redirecting.

Search engines can probably deal with it, but if there’s a chance the old URL is shown to users, just keep the certificate live too. You can get certificates for free nowadays.”

Mueller hedged his answer about how Google handled this site merge scenario by saying “probably.”

John Mueller later added:

But he was unambiguous about how it was handled by browsers, and suggested moving to an old domain free SSL certificate.

Maintaining an SSL certificate active on the old domain sounds like a good way of hedging unforeseen user experience and search engine problems.

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