In the first half of this year, FANDOM has been steadily rolling out HTTPS to more and more of our network.
HTTPS is a protocol that encrypts data being sent through a webpage, as compared to normal HTTP, which sends data in plaintext. FANDOM has already been encrypting and securely transmitting personal data - such as your login and password details - for many years, but it’s increasingly a web standard to transmit all parts of a website over HTTPS. That’s why we’ve been working to get our entire website HTTPS-compliant.
Progress Thus Far
A few months ago, we finished making logged-in users able to use HTTPS on all single subdomain wikis (i.e.wikis without a language identifier, such as community.wikia.com, compared to ru.community.wikia.com), first using an opt-in preference and, with no major bugs discovered, made the HTTPS default.
Since then, we’ve been working to enable HTTPS for logged out users on those same single subdomain wikis. We’re nearing the end of that milestone and will begin rolling that change out to the network shortly.
While we finish that phase up, we’d like to introduce the beginning of the next stage of our rollout, which is allowing our international wikis to use HTTPS as well.
URL Migration for International Wikis
In order to make this migration happen, we will need to tweak the URL of our international communities. This is because our current URL structure does not lend itself to transitioning to HTTPS, since SSL certificates - the mechanism needed to prove a website is capable of using HTTPS - only cover one subdomain of a website and not multiples. To keep our current structure, FANDOM would need to purchase tens of thousands of certificates, which would be expensive and unscalable.
As such, we will move the language identifier from the leading subdomain to a path after the domain.
- ru.community.wikia.com will become community.wikia.com/ru
- es.drama.wikia.com will become drama.wikia.com/es
- fr.onepiece.wikia.com will become onepiece.wikia.com/fr
In other words, the domain itself will not change, just the language identifier will be moved.
English (en) wikis will not have the /en path show by default but if you include it in any URL you type, it will redirect you.
An exact date for this change is not set - we are announcing to the community now as it is possible you will begin to see and hear about some wikis with the new URL structure in the coming weeks. Once tests are complete, we anticipate first having freshly-created wikis use the new URL structure and then migrating the existing URLs. We currently project this to happen in early autumn.
- Will old URLs still work? Yes, typing in or clicking a link that still uses the old domain structure will redirect you to the proper wiki.
- How will this affect SEO? We have some new SEO engineers whose first task with us is to quantify the effect this change will have. It is probable there will be some negative impact for a week or two while search engines adjust, but preliminary estimates indicate this will be on the smaller end of impact. Additionally, documentation provided by Google indicates this URL structure is preferred by its crawler and should, long-term, increase search engine rankings for these communities.
- How will interwiki links work? We anticipate interwiki links should, just like typing in an old URL, redirect you smoothly to the proper article. It may make technical sense later to change interwiki syntax but we would use bots to migrate those links.
- Are any other parts of the URL path changing? No, we do not anticipate any other changes to the rest of the URL path - so you will still have /wiki and /d as part of the URL where applicable.
Timothy Quievryn FANDOM Staff
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