Troubleshooting with Really Simple SSL

If you are experiencing problems on your site that you do not have when Really Simple SSL is deactivated, there are some steps you can take to track down the cause.

Note: this article aims to help resolve issues when migrating your site to SSL/HTTPS. If you experience an issue with the Really Simple SSL plugin itself, e.g the Dashboard does not load correctly, please visit this article instead: “Debug a blank Settings page in Really Simple SSL”.

Clear your browser history

Most issues are caused by the cache in the browser. Try using a different browser, incognito mode, or try from a different device to check if you really have this issue.

Deactivate caching plugins, security plugins, multi-language plugins

These plugins tend to keep http links in the database, or in the cache. Resaving the settings might sometimes help as well.

Check your certificate

Is your SSL certificate valid, and grade A? You can test this with

If you have chain errors on your certificate, it is possible your site gets redirect loops in some browsers, and not in others. Your certificate should score at least an A.

Check common issues

Common issues with SSL are

Check if there are other redirect rules in your .htaccess file

In some cases, a hosting environment, plugin, or developer has inserted redirect rules of their own. Check your .htaccess file for rules outside the Really Simple SSL comments that contain http:// or https://.

Check if another plugin causes the issue

Always deactivate caching, security, and redirect plugins when moving to SSL. These sometimes do redirects as well, and might also cache old http URLs. Some caching plugins need to be cleared, then deactivated for the cache to go away.

Log-in plugins can also cause issues, as these might redirect the user away when the login URL has changed.

Deactivate as many plugins as possible to make sure none of these things apply.

Make sure that deactivation of Really Simple SSL solves the issue

Please make sure the issues go away when you have deactivated Really Simple SSL. This doesn’t mean the plugin is the cause. It’s also possible that your site being on SSL causes issues.

Step-by-step deactivating functions of Really Simple SSL

The certificate is valid, and you’ve verified that the problem seems to originate from activating the plugin. So, it’s either SSL or something that the plugin does.

For troubleshooting purposes, we need to know what the plugin does:
– It changes your siteurl to https
– Fixes your mixed content
– Redirects your site to https, either with a .htaccess redirect or with javascript
– Adds necessary fixes to your wp-content.php in some cases
One of these things is causing the issue, so let’s try deactivating these features one by one.

Follow these steps with Really Simple SSL activated, and check if something improves between each step:

  1. Open your FTP client and enable “show hidden files” if necessary (if you can’t see the .htaccess in your webroot)
  2. In wp-content/plugins/ rename the Really Simple SSL plugin folder.
  3. In the webroot, open the .htaccess file and remove the redirect rules between the RSSSL comments
  4. Check your wp-config.php to see if any changes were made (look for RSSSL comments), and comment them out by adding // in front of them.

Your siteurl and homeurl are now still on https, but all other functionality of RSSSL has been removed or deactivated. If you still have the issue, the problem is your site being on SSL. If the problem disappears, one of these items caused the issue.

Site being on https is causing the issue

If you still experience the issue when on https, but with Really Simple SSL removed, the problem might be that a plugin still has http links saved in the database that are causing issues. A full migration from http to https using Duplicator might solve this.

Another possible cause is the server configuration. There are a few things you can try:

  • Migrate your site to your https domain using Duplicator. That way, any http URLs that might be used by other plugins are changed to https as well, maybe solving the issue.
  • Deactivate hotlink protection
  • Track down the plugin or theme that is having this issue, and contact the theme or plugin author, or deactivate it
  • If your server uses Varnish, ask your hosting company to clear Varnish for you. Varnish often causes redirect issues when moving to https.
  • Contact your hosting company

Did you learn something that isn’t listed here? Please let us know, so that we can update this article!

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