Thursday, November 30, 2017

Encryption Everywhere

Anybody who has stood up a web server knows the importance of securing that connection. Watch this video:

While I don't yet use the HTTPS Everywhere add-on, I do make use of Certbot. You can see an example here. This website runs on a LAMP server on AWS (the free tier). From beginning to end, except the coding of the site itself, I had the secured site running in about 15 minutes. Several cool things happen when using Certbot:

  1. It's aware of the multiple hosts you may have configured in your web server and lets you run for specific hosts.
  2. It automatically configures http redirect. This means that even if a user accidentally left of the https:// from the address to your site, they'll get redirected to the https version automatically. When I first did this manually, it took me several days to get it working right. 
  3. The certificates are free because they have a short life span. So, Certbot has to be run regularly to get a new certificate. You don't have to pay attention to that cycle though because you can run the checker daily or weekly and it won't do anything unless the existing certificate is close to expiration.

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