Let’s Encrypt is a service provided by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG) which mission is to reduce financial, technological, and education barriers to secure communication over the Internet. In short, they want to make is safer for us to use the web.
So why is Let’s Encrypt and SSL/TLS Certificates important? Well for one it makes yo>ur site safer, it helps your google rankings and all round makes the web a safer place.
These certificates tell your browser that the website your visiting is safe to use and that your connection is secure from being intercepted whilst on the website. This is especially crucial whenever the site is taking sensitive data such as passwords or credit card information.
So why is Let’s Encrypt good? Well there are a lot of reasons, but chief among them is that it removes the biggest barrier to having a secure site… the price. Whilst competitors to Let’s Encrypt are still offering exorbitant fees (sometimes up to £300/y), Let’s Encrypt offers it’s certificated for free. Why? Well this is because whilst most most SSL certificates are being sold by for profit organisations, Let’s Encrypt is run as a public benefit organisation.
Let’s go over the other reasons why Let’s Encrypt is great as mentioned on their website.
- Free: Anyone who owns a domain name can use Let’s Encrypt to obtain a trusted certificate at zero cost.
- Automatic: Software running on a web server can interact with Let’s Encrypt to painlessly obtain a certificate, securely configure it for use, and automatically take care of renewal.
- Secure: Let’s Encrypt will serve as a platform for advancing TLS security best practices, both on the CA side and by helping site operators properly secure their servers.
- Transparent: All certificates issued or revoked will be publicly recorded and available for anyone to inspect.
- Open: The automatic issuance and renewal protocol will be published as an open standard that others can adopt.
- Cooperative: Much like the underlying Internet protocols themselves, Let’s Encrypt is a joint effort to benefit the community, beyond the control of any one organisation.
All the above points are great reasons to celebrate for developers, clients and users alike. For developers, Lets encrypt has made it easy to install and can be setup in seconds, whilst before it could be a long and arduous that could take up to an hour to install depending on how difficult the certificate was to install on the server. For clients, they no longer have to worry about paying exorbitant fees to make their site secure. And finally customers now have the transparency that the site they are saving their details on are secure and safe from any third party predators.
Since it’s release, Let’s Encrypt has seen a growth in it’s use not only in how many websites are converting to Let’s Encrypt, but also in how many websites are adding SSL to their websites. For example, the percentage of websites loaded by Firefox in 2018 is up by 20% over the last two years. See more statistics here.