Redirect to Https

Google just announced that starting July 2018 Chrome, their very popular web browser, will start alerting for all websites which are not using Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL encryption. This is huge. The ramifications of such an alert could be quite impactful to traffic, to websites, and especially for the average user. So, what does that mean for you? More importantly, what can you do about it? No worries! Liquid Web has you covered.

In today’s post, we’ll be detailing some of the finer points of SSL encryption including what it is, what it means, and how to employ it. Let’s get started!

What is Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)?

Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, is a means to encrypt traffic. That’s it! They’re no mystery, and there’s no reason to feel daunted by the technical term. The best part is that you’ve probably been making use of SSL encrypted traffic forever and haven’t even noticed it. If you’ve ever browsed to a website and noticed the prefix https:// or a little padlock in the browser bar, you’re using Secure Sockets Layer encryption.

Unencrypted: non-SSL

Insecure Site
Encrypted: Secure SSL
Secure Site

At a very high level, it’s referred to as a key-cert pair, and it’s super easy. The key file and certificate files are installed on your web server. Once installed your visitors browse to the https:// prefix and that’s it! Their traffic is encrypted end to end. If you’re unsure whether or not you’re currently using an SSL, there are some handy tools like  Why No Padock that can help identify your usage.

How does SSL work?

The more technical portions revolve around an encryption algorithm and are a little specific for the average user. At its base, an encryption key and certificate are installed on your web server, as we mentioned earlier. This key is comprised of details about the website. Nothing scary, though! It’s just enough to ensure the site is who it claims to be. Details such as the domain name, the company’s name, the company’s business address; that kind of thing. You know, aspects you’d like to know about a legitimate company with whom you’re choosing to do business and, as a business owner, are proud to announce to the public.

Finally, that information is submitted to a known certificate authority who’ll encrypt the data into the key-cert pair we talked about already. You’ll install the key-cert pair on your server. Then, whenever someone tries to access https on your site, their browser will receive that public cert and compare it to public records for your domain. The browser will verify that your business is legitimate, –because it is!– and will use that certificate to encrypt all the data that’s passed between them and your web server.

This means, whenever there is data moving between them and you, if any bad guys try to inspect or steal it, all they’ll get is a bunch of garbled junk. Your data and your clients’ data are both safe and secure!

Liquid Web has a detailed step by step instruction on server setup at our Knowledge BaseOnce you have an SSL installed on your site, your clients still have two means by which to connect to your site. The HTTP method, which is unencrypted, and the HTTPS method, which is encrypted by your new SSL. The choice is usually denoted by how your clients or your referral traffic structures their link.

Redirecting to Https

Note
This process assumes you’ve already installed an SSL on your site.

The process is referred to as “Forcing SSL Redirection.” Ultimately, you’ll use code to make sure, whenever someone goes to HTTP, their traffic is directed over to HTTPS. Click on the tabs below to learn how the different ways to implement SSL onto your site.

cPanelWordpress.htaccessPlesk
If you’re using cPanel, you’ll need to access your cPanel account and navigate to the “Redirects” menu from the “Domains” group.

You’ll notice the Wild Card Redirect check box. This is a unique function that forces all links to HTTPS, not just the primary domain. I’m very much a fan of this option as it ensures all links will be directed to the SSL secured version which has you covered if someone links to a specific page of your site and not the home page.

Click “ADD” and you’re done!

No need to use cPanel, Plesk or the command line with the very popular Content Management Software, WordPress! Editing can be done straight from the WordPress Admin interface. Log into your WordPress Admin interface navigate to the Settings menu. From there you can simply set your WordPress and Site Address to use the https:// prefix, like so:

Wordpress Admin Section in Settings

Easy Peasy! One last test to make sure you’re using your SSL will show that you are! You could use an SSL checker like SSLShopper, or clear your cache on your browser and reload! See our article on how to clear your browser cache if you are having trouble.

You should be able to see the little green padlock in the browser bar that gives your clients that warm, fuzzy feeling. Even better, the upcoming alert from Google Chrome about unencrypted traffic is no longer a worry.

More advanced users who aren’t using a control panel can use some simple rules in their .htaccess file.

From the command line, navigate to the document root of your domain and use your favorite editor to open or create your .htaccess file. Then add the following lines:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} !=on
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{HTTP_HOST}%(REQUEST_URI) [L,R=301]

Here’s an output of mine:

Example of Redirection Code

The method is very similar for Plesk: Log into your Plesk interface and navigate to the “Hosting Settings” for your domain:

Locating Hosting Settings in Plesk

From the Security subheading of the Hosting Settings, check the SSL/TLS support and Permanent 301 redirect checkboxes. Also, make sure you select the correct certificate. Lastly, click the “Apply” button and you’re done!

Redirection Settings Within Plesk

Mixed Content (Insecure Content)

There is one last part. SSLs are installed on your server. So they can only encrypt and protect objects that are on your server. This means, if you happen to be linking to off-server content, like Facebook posts, YouTube links, or images or other content from some else’s sites, you have to make sure they’re using an SSL too. If they’re not, you’re technically hosting insecure content on that page and Chrome will alert your clients as such (characterized by having https but not the green lock). If you’re unsure about the content on your site, you can use a site like Why No Padlock to check. It’ll give you a nice readout and will list any issues with unencrypted content under the “Mixed Content” heading in the report.

Luckily, big names like YouTube and Facebook are already on board and use SSLs. But there are still a lot of sites on the internet who do not. It’s up to you to help the internet’s security and be diligent in our pursuit to be good net-citizens together.

You’re now familiar with SSLs, Forced SSL Redirection and the upcoming Google Chrome alert. As always, if ever you need help or have issues, our Knowledge Base is here for you to peruse and our Helpful Support Humans are happy to help.

 

Configure VSFTPD with an SSL

How can I configure VSFTPD to support SSL encrypted connections?

In this article we will be discussing how to configure vsftpd to work with SSL encryption. If you do not have vsftpd installed yet you may wish to visit one of the these articles before proceeding.

How to install VSFTPD on CentOS 7

How to install VSFTPD on CentOS 6

How to install VSFTPD on Fedora 23

How to install VSFTPD on Ubuntu 15.04

Ready? Awesome, let’s get started.

Continue reading “Configure VSFTPD with an SSL”

Generating a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) in Ubuntu 16.04

This guide will walk you through the steps to create a Certificate Signing Request, (CSR for short.) SSL certificates are the industry-standard means of securing web traffic to and from your server, and the first step to getting your own SSL is to generate a CSR. This guide is written specifically for Ubuntu 16.04.

Continue reading “Generating a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) in Ubuntu 16.04”

Generating a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) in CentOS

This guide will walk you through the steps to create a Certificate Signing Request, (CSR for short.) SSL certificates are the industry-standard means of securing web traffic to and from your server, and the first step to getting your own SSL is to generate a CSR. This guide is written specifically for CentOS 7.

Continue reading “Generating a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) in CentOS”

Featured Video: Setup an SSL Site with Managed WordPress

There was once a time on the Internet where there were many valid reasons to avoid using an SSL all the time. For example, using an SSL sometimes meant your website isn’t indexed as thoroughly. Or maybe certain types of caching were broke.

It’s 2017 now though and those days are long since passed. Almost any reason to not use an SSL on your site has been changed or fixed. In this Knowledge Base article we feature a video provided by Chris Lema to show how quick you can setup an SSL on Managed WordPress. Continue reading “Featured Video: Setup an SSL Site with Managed WordPress”

Optimizing Your Website in Cloud Sites

optimizing-your-site-cloud-sties-header

To ensure that your site performs at its best, there are a few things you can do to optimize it when using Liquid Web Cloud Sites technology. This article will take you through the top five best practices to optimize your website.

Continue reading “Optimizing Your Website in Cloud Sites”

Will my site be marked unsafe in Chrome 56+?

Lately there’s been a lot of speculation about Googles up-coming changes to how sites without an SSL are going to be treated. As January draws towards a close we have seen an increase in customers with concerns of how this will affect their site. Both in terms of people being able to see it and how it might affect their search ranking.

This article aims to clear up some of the confusion and to demystify the changes. If you are unfamiliar with how SSL/TLS or HTTPS works please take a look at our article on the subject.

If you aren’t interested in how these changes came about feel free to skip down to: How These Changes Affect Your Site
Continue reading “Will my site be marked unsafe in Chrome 56+?”

How does an SSL work?

httpVShttps

Every single day 100s of terabytes of data is being transferred across the internet. In fact, based on Intel’s 2012 report, nearly 640K Gb of data is transferred every single minute. That’s more than 204 million Emails, 47,000 app downloads, 1.3 million YouTube videos watched and 6 million Facebook views. We’re talking about a seriously massive amount of data here. So how do we know if that data is being transferred securely? Enter the SSL/TLS protocols.
Continue reading “How does an SSL work?”

Enabling Let’s Encrypt for AutoSSL on WHM based Servers

With the recent release of cPanel & WHM version 58 there has been the addition of an AutoSSL feature, this tool can be used to automatically provide Domain Validated SSLs for domains on your WHM & cPanel servers.

Initially this feature was released with support provided for only cPanel (powered by Comodo) based SSL certificates, with the plans to support more providers as things progressed. As of now, cPanel & WHM servers running version 58.0.17, and above, can now also use Let’s Encrypt as an SSL provider. More information on Let’s Encrypt can be found here. Continue reading “Enabling Let’s Encrypt for AutoSSL on WHM based Servers”

How To Verify That Your Server Meets PayPal SSL Requirements

As part of an industry-wide effort to adopt strict security standards, PayPal is upgrading the SSL certificates it uses to secure its sites and API endpoints. By June 17, 2016, SSL certificates will need to be signed using the SHA-256 algorithm and VeriSign’s 2048-bit G5 Root Certificate.

At that time, PayPal’s service will discontinue the use of SSL connections that rely on the VeriSign G2 Root Certificate.

You can easily determine whether your server supports this new standard by logging into your server via SSH and running a single command:

openssl s_client -connect api-3t.sandbox.paypal.com:443 -showcerts | egrep -wi "G5|return"

If your server complies with the requirements, you will see a result similar to the following:

i:/C=US/O=VeriSign, Inc./OU=VeriSign Trust Network/OU=(c) 2006 VeriSign, Inc. – For authorized use only/CN=VeriSign Class 3 Public Primary Certification Authority – G5
Verify return code: 0 (ok)

In that output, you will want to note the presence of two specific items:

  • A Certification Authority containing “G5”. Note that you may see several CA lines in your output; as long as G5 is included, your server is compliant.
  • A Verify return code of “0 (ok)”.

If both are present, your server is compliant and no further action needs to be taken.

If neither is present, then your server will need to have the G5 certificate bundle installed. All Managed customers may feel free to contact Heroic Support® to have it installed.

NOTE: CentOS 5 (and earlier) is not capable of supporting the new standard. If your server runs CentOS 5 (or earlier), it will need to be upgraded. A member of Heroic Support® will be able to assist.