'Your Connection is not Private' Error after connecting domain to HubSpot - SOLVED
Sep 10, 2020 8:23 AM - edited Sep 10, 2020 8:31 AM
Have you recently connected your domain to HubSpot only to be faced with one of the following errors when trying to load your website:
Why is this error happening?
When a website is hosted on HubSpot it requires the use of a subdomain (e.g. www.mydomain.com) this can cause an issue if the site was previously hosted on the root domain (i.e. mydomain.com ). Usually, a standard 301 redirect can be used to forward the root domain to the subdomain, however, if the root domain also had an SSL certificate applied (i.e. https://mydomain.com ) then the site will fail to load on https://mydomain.com even if a 301 redirect is being used. A secure apex redirect is then needed to forward the secure root domain to the new HubSpot-hosted subdomain. See more info here.
What is a secure apex redirect?
Let's break this down:
- Secure: If the website has an SSL certificate applied to it then it is deemed secure. You'll be able to spot the presence of an SSL certificate by the web address beginning with a "https://" rather than "http://".
- Apex: The apex, or apex domain, is simply a web address that does not contain a subdomain i.e. "https://mydomain.com" rather than "https://www.mydomain.com". Apex domains are also known as base, bare, naked, or root apex but all mean the exact same thing.
- Redirect: A redirect is when a web page is visited at a certain URL, it automatically forwards to a different URL. The most standard type of redirect is a 301 permanent redirect however this cannot be used on the secure APEX domain as 301 redirects only work for HTTP and not HTTPS.
Why does it matter?
There are two main reasons why it is important a secure apex redirect is set up if it is required:
- Organic Search Traffic: Ensure that your organic search traffic is uninterrupted - because Google has indexed the site at the secure root domain, visitors will continue to try to reach your website through this URL via organic search. Alongside setting up this forwarding, we also recommend setting up an account with Google Search Console (if you haven't already), verifying your domain, and submitting your sitemap through GSC, this should be done after your website is fully connected to HubSpot.
- Existing Links: Ensure that existing links to the secure root domain are not broken. These direct links could be bookmarks of the site, links in email signatures, or previous social media posts linking to the site. As long as these links exist, you will want to make sure they properly forward to the new site on the secure subdomain.
Ways to implement a secure redirect
- The .htaccess Method - Most sites on the secure root domain have a system file ('.htaccess') that can be used to set preferences for how to route traffic for that domain. More information on this method is linked here. This method requires the assistance of an experienced developer.
- The third-party Method - These third-party services allow you to set up a secure domain forward without the assistance of a developer.
- You can consider using a paid service such as: EasyRedir. This requires their professional plan.
- You can consider using a free service such as: NakedSSL which is free for one domain or Redirect.pizza which is completely free.
- These services simply require you to add an A Record(s) to your DNS settings much like the process of adding a CNAME record to connect your domain to HubSpot. Once this A record has been added, the third-party will take care of the redirect for you.
How to check to see if the redirect is working
The most obvious way to see if your secure apex redirect is working is if you are correctly forwarded to your HubSpot site after entering 'https://yourdomain.com' into your web browser. However, sometimes network or browser caching can prevent the forward from happening if you have previously been visiting the domain without the forward in place.
A good resource to check the status of your redirect is by using HTTPStatus.io. This site allows you to paste in your domain to see if it is resolving or erroring.
This type of redirection support is not provided by HubSpot at this time so it is best to work with your IT team, web developer, or a technical resource to decide if you need to redirect the secure apex domain, and then determine which option is the best for your setup. I hope this post helps you along the way!