Let’s talk about LetsEncrypt.org
You have seen the little ‘lock’ that an SSL certificate gives you. For instance, any time you go to Google.com, you will see a lock followed by https://www.google.com.
It means the site is secure. It means that you really are at Google.com and any typing you do is encrypted. No one else can see what you are typing or what you are looking at.
There are a couple reasons you would want secured communication:
- Google gives you priority in any web searches. If you want your web site to be in the search results, you want to be at the top of the list.
- If you are doing online banking, you don’t want anyone eavesdropping. Criminals can easily pick up your account number, login and password.
- If you are purchasing anything online, you don’t want your credit card number exposed.
Ever checked into the price of an SSL certificate? You would see that the price goes from $100 to $500 per year. They are available from companies like Symantec, DigiCert, Verisign, Comodo and many others. And, you need about an hour to install it.
There is a new contender in this market: LetsEncrypt.org. This is an open source type company that gives their software away – FOR FREE. That’s right. You can get an SSL certificate just by reading their web page and following the instructions.
How do they make money? It’s easy. They solicit donations – and companies really do donate. On their home page, they list some of the sponsors. This includes companies like Cisco, Facebook, Akami, Mozilla, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Hewlett Packard, and lots of others. Why would they do it? Because it makes the internet a more secure place. People will trust the internet more. People will do more business online. These companies will sell more stuff.
Not everyone likes the idea. The biggest losers are the NSA and the criminals. But, we don’t feel sorry for them.
Installing a certificate from Let’s Encrypt is a 15 minute procedure (if you have done it before).
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You need root access to your Apache server. And you need to have access to a shell prompt. Then, you run a script from Certbot. The Certbot script automates the process. You are done in about 15 minutes.
Of course, these instructions are for a Linux server (why would you want to use anything else?). But, there are instructions for pretty much any other server available.
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To sum things up, it is simple, free and has some real benefits. We already use it on our servers and the Webtix servers.
What are you waiting for?