Blog

Introducing Let's Encrypt

Written by Kieran Jones

We are delighted to announce that we have enabled support for Let’s Encrypt across our entire range of shared and reseller Linux hosting services (we haven’t quite got Windows working yet, sorry).

Lets Encrypt Logo

Let’s Encrypt is a public benefit Certificate Authority (CA) run by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG) that makes high quality, trusted SSL certificates available to anyone completely free. By enabling support for Let’s Encrypt in our shared and reseller hosting we’ve made it possible for anyone to secure their website and protect the privacy of their site visitors entirely for free.

What is SSL? Why do I need it?

SSL is what makes an internet connection secure, when you browse to an SSL enabled website the browser will display a padlock to let you know that any data you share with that website is secure and can’t be stolen. This is especially important when accessing your online banking or sending your credit card details to an online store.

These days though it’s not just a case of protecting really sensitive data like your banking or card details, we increasingly share all sorts of personal information online, and that information should be protected. There are no end of people who may want to steal that information, whether they be hackers, scam artists, or even a national government. Using SSL protects the information you share online and makes it impossible for anyone to intercept that data.

cPanel, secured by default.

As of now, if you are hosted on any of our cPanel servers either as a shared hosting customer or as a reseller, then every single website is encrypted by default. Each night our servers check every site on the server and where there is not an existing certificate in place, it will automatically install one. This means that you can rest assured that your website and your visitors privacy are completely protected without you having to do a thing. For as long as your website is hosted with us, we will maintain and renew your Let’s Encrypt certificate completely autonomously.

You may still need to update your website software such as Wordpress or Drupal to use the secured URL for your website, which will generally involve changing http:// to https:// in your website settings. If you aren’t sure what is needed, please get in touch with us via phone or email and we will be happy to help.

Plesk, enable it today.

If you are hosted on our regular Linux web hosting, Let’s Encrypt is available now in your control panel. To enable your website just click the Let’s Encrypt button, enter your email address, and confirm. Once installed the server will automatically check and renew the certificate so you don’t need to do a thing. To make sure your visitors get the secure version of your site you may need to update your website settings to use https:// instead of http:// for the URL of your website.

Can I still use commercial certificates?

Absolutely! If you would like to use a commercial certificate instead such as a wildcard certificate, organisation validated, or even an EV certificate then that is absolutely fine and will still work perfectly. Commercial certificates have many advantages over free certificates, but where the budget doesn’t exist to buy a commercial certificate we can now provide a free one for everyone’s benefit.

What about dedicated IP addresses?

Traditionally, each SSL certificate would require a dedicated IP address, however these days we can make use of a technology called Server Name Indication (SNI) to have multiple SSL certificates on a single, shared IP address. This is what has made it possible for to provide support for Let’s Encrypt and make encryption available to all of our hosting customers.

Unfortunately, the global pool of IPv4 addresses is extremely limited so it isn’t possible for us to give each site its own dedicated IPv4 address as standard. Going forward, if you do require a dedicated IPv4 address for any reason then you can place an order for one as a product add-on for £24 per year or £36 per two years (inc VAT). Although, if you purchase a commercial SSL certificate from us, then we will provide you with a dedicated IPv4 address free of charge.

For customers with existing dedicated IPv4 addresses who have purchased their SSL certificate(s) from a third party, we will continue to provide your dedicated IPv4 addresses free of charge for 6 months. From April 2017 you can either choose to move to a shared IP address or pay the new rates for dedicated IPv4 addresses.

Questions?

As always if you want to learn more about these features or aren’t sure how to use them, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help you out!