Let's Encrypt is a nonprofit organization promoting universal adoption of HTTPS by offering free SSL certificates.
- [Instructor] In the last movie, we talked about some of the paid certificate authorities you can use in order to get an SSL certificate. It's also possible to get free certificates now using Let's Encrypt, and we all like free, so let's talk about what that is. Let's Encrypt is a free certificate authority, you can access it at letsencrypt.org, of course that's HTTPS because of course it's gotta be an encrypted site. It's a nonprofit organization that's promoting the adoption of HTTPS. They would like everyone on the web to be using HTTPS all the time, and to help make that happen, they're providing free certificates that are easy to set up.
Now, these work exactly like the certificates you get from paid authorities, but there are a couple of small differences. One, you can't get all the same kinds of certificates that you could at all the paid authorities, and we'll talk about different certificate types in a moment. But we have limited choice among the types that we have, and the certificates from Let's Encrypt are valid for 90 days, but they're auto-renewable. At the paid certificate authorities, you typically get one that's good for like a year, maybe more, and then it just sits there on your server and every year you go back and you renew it and you update it again.
These certificates are good for a shorter period, but they make it easy for them to auto-renew. It's almost automatic. So they're good for a very short period of time, but they auto renew, they recommend you auto renew every 60 days so that you don't actually run out of time. So six times a year, your certificate will need to auto renew. Let's go to their website and take a look. So this is letsencrypt.org, their website may change over their time as they update it but hopefully there will still be a nice big Get Started button. And we'll come back to that later and find out how we can actually install certificates using Let's Encrypt, but they try to make it as easy as possible.
So a couple of other things to note here. First of all, it is a nonprofit, so you can donate to them. There's also documentation to help you out, and then I wanna come over here to About Us, where they have some statistics. Let's take a look at those, because they show some of the points that I've been making. This is a chart on the growth of Let's Encrypt, and you can really see how Let's Encrypt has taken off since the project first started in 2016. So in just a very short amount of time, it has just skyrocketed. It looks like it's going to continue. And then if we look at the percentage of web pages loaded by Firefox using HTTPS, we can also see the enormous growth there.
So the blue line is showing all users, the green, orange and red lines are breaking it down by USA, Germany, and Japan. So look at the blue line there, and notice that it's gone from 30% and it's climbing up there and it's at 70%, and it's still climbing. So we're getting there very quickly. And a lot of that growth has happened in 2016, as a result of Let's Encrypt. If you scroll down just a bit more, you can get an idea for how many certificates Let's Encrypt is issuing per day. There's a couple of big spikes in there, but overall, you can see that they're issuing pretty steadily over half a million certificates every single day.
So Let's Encrypt offers a great opportunity for us to get free certificates that are easy to set up. We'll come back and talk about how to set them up in the next chapter.
- What are SSL certificates?
- Choosing a certificate
- Installing a certificate
- Configuring a web server to require HTTPS
- Using HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS)
- Renewing certificates