Going fully HTTPS (SSL) fo' free

Published: 2016-04-29

2 min read

A few weeks ago I moved my website over to HTTPS.

iansinnott.com using https

Then, yesterday I moved my blog over to HTTPS.

blog.iansinnott.com running on https

This now means that my two primary web properties are both using SSL, and one of them was completely free to set up.

Free SSL with LetsEncrypt

If you want SSL on your site for free there's a new certificate authority called LetsEncrypt which is completely free! 👏 This is excellent news, and definitely an option for you, especially if you're managing your own server.

My main site, iansinnott.com, actually uses LetsEncrypt under the hood through Netlify, but it's not exactly free because I do pay Netlify to host my site every month.

However, LetsEncrypt is not what I'm talking about today. I just discovered something super cool which is currently letting my host my blog, a GitHub Pages site, using SSL.

All the SSL fo' free using CloudFlare

It turns out if you use CloudFlare for DNS on your domain you can also get SSL completely for free.

CloudFlare Free Cert

The setup is pretty simple as well. CloudFlare has the excellent feature that they will scan your domain and migrate most of the DNS settings for you. So all I ended up having to do to get blog.iansinnott.com running over HTTPS was to move my DNS to CloudFlare. The DNS propagation took overnight, but the time I had to personally spend was less than 30 minutes.

Again, this is completely free, which is why I'm happy to write about CloudFlare and give them what amounts to free advertising. I'm guessing they make their money with enterprise clients as opposed to individuals. Either way, I've found this to be an excellent free service and I'm happy to now have my GitHub Pages site running over SSL for free.

About me

I'm Ian. I'm a software engineer. Here are some things I'm into: javascript, functional programming, simplicity, Mandarin. If you want to chat you can find me on Twitter and GitHub.