What is Let’s Encrypt
Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated, and open Certificate Authority which is used to enable HTTPS on the websites.
Let’s Encrypt wants to create a more secure and privacy-respecting Web. Anyone who owns a domain can use Let’s Encrypt to obtain a trusted certificate at zero cost.
Before we begin, let's first understand key technical terms: HTTPS, Certificate Authority (CA), and SSL.
What is HTTPS, and why is it important ?
HTTPS stands for "Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure" is the secure version of HTTP. Visually, it is the green lock icon in the address bar in a web browser.
HTTPS is a protocol over which encrypted HTTP data is sent in a clear text between your browser and the website that you are visiting to over a secure connection. Using HTTPS means all communications between your web broswer and the websites are encrypted, secure and the privacy and integrity of data are maintained.It is used to protect confidentials web transations such us internet banking and online shopping.
In addition, it provides privacy for web browsing as well whihc means people cannot see what you are searching for on Google.com because Google uses HTTPS.
What is Certificate Authority (CA)?
A Certificate Authority (CA) is a trusted central administrative entity that issues electronic documents that verify a digital entity's identity on the Internet. The electronic documents, which are called Digital Certificates, are verifiable small data files that contain identity credentials to help people, websites and devices represent their true online identity. Moreover, the certificates are an essential part of secure communication, and used to protect information and encrypt online transactions. SSL Certificate is a popular type of Digital Certificate.
What is SSL ?
In online businesses, customers’ privacy and data integrity are one of the important components. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) establishes a secure connection that allows confidential information such as credit card numbers and login details to be transmitted securely. It is a cryptographic security protocol that provide communications security over a computer network. SSL Certificate is needed to establish a secure connection.
Getting Started with Let's Encrypt
To enable HTTPS on your website, you need to get a certificate from a Certificate Authority (CA). Let’s Encrypt is a CA. There are two ways to use Let's Encrypt:
- With Shell Access: If you have shell access, Let's Encrypt recommend to use the Certbot ACME client. The advantage of Certbot is that is is easier to use, works on various Operating Systems, and automates the Certificate issuance and installation without any downtime. Check out its great documentation.
- Without Shell Access: If you don't have shell acces, ask your hosting provider to request a free certificate on your behalf and install it. Check Let's Encrypt list of hosting providers to see if yours is on it, and follow their documentation foe the set up.
If Let’s Encrypt is not supported by your hosting provider, you can ask them to request Let’s Encrypt support.