Resolving Mixed Content Warnings On Your Website

Elisa Keller
Digital Marketing Strategist
January 03, 2024

Have you stumbled across warnings about mixed content on your WordPress website? Understanding these alerts is crucial for the safety and success of your site. Mixed content warnings are a red flag, threatening not just security but also the trustworthiness and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of your platform. In this guide, we will delve deep into what mixed content is, and the risks it holds. We'll cover how to identify these issues, fix them effectively, and ensure they don't resurface. Whether you're a seasoned IT professional or just sharpening your skills, the step-by-step guidance, complemented by practical code examples, will equip you to secure your WordPress site with confidence.

Understanding Mixed Content Warnings

When you're browsing a website, your browser is your first line of defense against a variety of security risks. One such risk manifests as mixed content warnings, and they occur when a secure webpage (served over HTTPS) includes elements such as images, videos, or scripts served over an insecure HTTP connection. These warnings are your browser's way of telling you that not everything on the page is secure, potentially exposing your data to eavesdropping or man-in-the-middle attacks.

To better grasp this issue, let's differentiate between two types of mixed content: active and passive. Active mixed content, sometimes called active content, includes things like JavaScript, CSS, or fonts—stuff that interacts with the web page and can significantly alter its behavior. An example would be a form submission script fetched over an insecure HTTP link. Browsers tend to block this type of content outright because it poses a higher security risk.

On the other hand, passive mixed content refers to elements that don't interact with the rest of the page – think of images or videos. While they're less risky than active content, they can still be exploited to manipulate the look of a site or trick a user into giving away sensitive information.

The presence of mixed content undermines the security of your entire site. Even if the transmitted data isn't sensitive, allowing mixed content can erode users' trust and harm your site's credibility, making it critical to address any issues promptly.

The Impact of Mixed Content on WordPress

If you've managed a WordPress website, you're likely familiar with the unnerving mix of HTTPS and HTTP content, often referred to as mixed content. This prevalent issue arises when a secure page (one that uses HTTPS) includes elements like images, videos, or scripts that are fetched from insecure HTTP sources. This mix can lead to warnings in the user's browser, sometimes causing certain page elements to be blocked, creating an inconsistent and potentially troublesome user experience.

User Experience and Site Integrity Whether it's a broken padlock icon next to the website’s URL or an outright warning message, mixed content alters visitors' perceptions of your site. The seemingly minor issues, like an image not displaying, can erode trust. More serious consequences could include the exposure of sensitive data over insecure connections.

As web browsers are pushing towards universal encrypted communication, they have begun to be more stringent about mixed content. You may have noticed certain browsers block mixed content by default, which can prevent your website from functioning properly if not resolved.

SEO and Trustworthiness Search engines favor secure websites. When your site harbors mixed content, it sends a signal to search engines that it might not be entirely secure, which can negatively affect your site's ranking. Moreover, visitors are becoming more security-conscious. A website with mixed content issues might be viewed as less trustworthy, compelling users to bounce off to competitors with more secure websites. As a result, both your site’s SEO rankings and its credibility could suffer, impacting your traffic and conversion rates in the long term.

Identifying Mixed Content on Your Website

Once you understand what mixed content warnings are, the next step is identifying them on your own website. Here’s how you can easily locate these issues so you can begin to address them.

First, you can manually check for mixed content warnings by using your browser’s developer tools. In Google Chrome, for example, right-click anywhere on your webpage and select Inspect. Next, click the Console tab. Here, you will see if there are any mixed content warnings, which commonly look like Mixed Content: The page at '...' was loaded over HTTPS, but requested an insecure resource '...'. This request has been blocked; the content must be served over HTTPS. If you see these messages, take note of the URLs mentioned as you’ll need them to fix the issues.

WordPress plugins also offer a more automated solution. Consider using a plugin like Really Simple SSL to automagically detect and fix mixed content issues. After installation, these plugins will highlight where the insecure content is located, often with an option to fix these automatically.

Lastly, staying ahead of these warnings is crucial. Use online monitoring services that will alert you to mixed content problems. These services constantly scan your website and send you notifications when a mixed content warning arises, helping you to maintain the integrity and security of your site.

By proactively using these tools, you can ensure a more secure browsing experience for your visitors while improving your site’s overall performance.

Fixing Mixed Content Warnings in WordPress

Once you've identified the causes of mixed content warnings on your WordPress site, it's time to channel your inner handy-person and start fixing these issues. Let's walk through the practical steps you can take to correct mixed content URLs, flex your .htaccess file, and harness the power of plugins to ensure everything runs over HTTPS.

To modify your WordPress database, you might need to perform a search and replace for http URLs and switch them to https. This can be achieved with a SQL query but must be done with utmost caution—always back up your database before making any changes. Here's an example code snippet you might execute via tools such as phpMyAdmin:

UPDATE wp_posts SET post_content = REPLACE(post_content, '', '');

This will update all references from the non-secure http to the secure https for your domain. However, the syntax will depend on your actual database table and field names.

To update your .htaccess file for HTTPS enforcement, ensure you have access to your root directory and proceed to add the following lines at the top of your .htaccess file:

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} 80
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [R,L]

Lastly, resolving mixed content can be a breeze with plugins specially designed for this purpose. Really Simple SSL is a popular choice amongst WordPress users; it handles most of the HTTPS redirections for you and corrects mixed content errors. Installation of the plugin is straightforward, and once activated, it'll scan your site and configure it to run over HTTPS with minimal fuss on your end.

Preventing Future Mixed Content Warnings

To sidestep the aggravation of mixed content warnings down the road, it's crucial to secure all new content by utilizing HTTPS from the get-go. Always ensure that any external resources you add to your WordPress site—be they images, scripts, or stylesheets—are called via HTTPS URLs. A consistent habit to check the URL in the address bar when uploading content can save you the headache later on. Adhering to this practice is essential for maintaining a secure and trusted environment for your users.

Regular site maintenance is paramount in avoiding mixed content warnings. Every now and then, conduct thorough checks of your website to ensure compliance with HTTPS standards. This includes reviewing your site’s media library, theme files, and plugin settings. For a hands-on approach, you can update your wp-config.php file to enforce HTTPS for all admin and login pages, by adding the following line of code:

define('FORCE_SSL_ADMIN', true);

In addition, automating the monitoring process will ensure you're immediately alerted to mixed content and other site issues. Many website monitoring services offer the capability to setup alerts that notify you when your site experiences SSL errors or mixed content warnings. By configuring these alerts, you’ll be able to react swiftly and address issues before they escalate or affect your user experience or SEO standing. This proactive approach to monitoring is a cornerstone of robust site maintenance and security.


In wrapping up, addressing mixed content warnings is paramount for preserving the security and integrity of your WordPress website. Not only does this bolster user trust, but it also strengthens your site's reputation in the eyes of search engines. You've learned that mixed content warnings stem from serving HTTP and HTTPS content together, with active content posing more risk than passive. We've gone through methods to uncover mixed content using browser tools, WordPress plugins, and online services. You've seen the steps to fix warnings by updating URLs in your database, modifying your .htaccess file, and through the use of helpful plugins. Remember, prevention is better than cure. Assure all new content is secured over HTTPS and adopt regular site maintenance practices. By implementing these preventive measures and configuring alerts for prompt detection of issues, you'll maintain a robust, secure web presence—keeping mixed content warnings at bay.