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When we change the base unsecure URL to https does this also update the rel -canonical tag on pages. My concern is how are these changed to HTTPS as these will also need to be changed to HTTPS for the full site to be indexed correctly.

Secondly does changing the unsecure base url to HTTPS also create an automatic 301 redirect from the old HTTP page to the new HTTPS page or is this done in the htaccess?

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after just running into this issue myself

I found if you configure the admin correctly with the below config then it will update the pages from a previously non SSL and force the entire site to be SSL

SYSTEM > CONFIGURATION > GENERAL > WEB

Auto-redirect to Base URL > No

Use Web Server Rewrites > No

Unsecure & Secure BASE URL set to https://

Use Secure URLs in Frontend > Yes

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