Note: If you’re using AWS and an Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) this is actually tricky and will not work. I documented that process in my AWS Redirection post.

Note: You’ll need to use sudo for almost all the commands here. Keep that in mind.

With Lets Encrypt making https actually free for the first time, there is a greater desire to use SSL than there used to be. This blog post explains how to enable / disable the mod_rewrite aspect of Apache and also defines a simple rule for transforming all inbound requests to https from http:

To enable mod_rewrite:

a2enmod rewrite

Here’s a Stack Overflow on enabling mod_rewrite.

To disable mod_rewrite:

a2dismod rewrite

The a2dismod is something I’ve never seen before. Thanks to James Lin who wrote about it on his blog.

A simple rule to transform http to https:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off
RewriteRule ^ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI}

Here’s the Stack Overflow where I got this redirect from.

That needs to go into your vhost configuration. After that you need to restart apache:

service apache2 restart

Note: I can’t stress this enough. The Apache directive AllowOverride all means that redirects will not work. Honestly I don’t even understand what AllowOverride all even does but I did confirm, experimentally, that if you have this, redirects simply will not work. So make sure that you’ve got this turned off.

To test your side after, assuming url



curl -v

Here’s a Stack Overflow on curl and request headers that was helpful.

I always strongly recommend testing this kind of change with wget or curl because then you actually see the http header values. Here’s an example showing the http to https auto redirect with wget:

--2017-02-03 15:06:25--
Resolving,, 2406:da00:ff00::36e1:da81, ...
Connecting to||:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 301 Moved Permanently
**Location: [following]**
--2017-02-03 15:06:25--
Connecting to||:443... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 2083 (2.0K) [text/html]
Saving to: 'index.html.12'