Good news, everyone! As of this week, we’re offering free, automatic, instant HTTPS for your custom domains on 5apps Deploy!
There’s no need for any manual steps in the whole process. As soon as you add a custom domain and point it to our servers, your app will automatically receive a certificate upon the first time it is visited via that domain.
Certificates are issued by Let’s Encrypt, a free, automated, and open Certificate Authority (CA). They are renewed automatically every few weeks by our configuration management systems.
In short: lean back and rest assured that your apps are delivered securely by an always-up-to-date infrastructure without you having to lift a finger, ever! Read on for some more details on the benefits of HTTPS (specifically for client-side web apps), and how to upgrade your existing apps on Deploy.
Let’s encrypt the whole Web
The reasons for going HTTPS all the way by default are many:
Privacy & Censorship
Another problem with bad actors in the middle being able to read user connections in plain text is that it’s easy to log hostnames and URLs being requested. That makes it possible for ISPs (and in turn authoritarian governments) to both store detailed profiles of users’ browsing activity, as well as block specific content by its domain name or URL (without having to block everything hosted under the same IP address).
Deploy supports HTTP/2 for modern clients (and SPDY for older ones). However, browsers only enable HTTP/2 when TLS/HTTPS is used. That means in order to enjoy the significant performance benefits of multiplexing requests, your site needs to be delivered via HTTPS.2
Access to Web Platform APIs
With most of the Web community being in consensus about wanting to encrypt the whole Web using HTTPS for the above-mentioned reasons3, browser vendors recently began restricting access to certain Web APIs for sites on insecure origins in their browsers (e.g. Geolocation and getUserMedia in Chrome). Likewise, new APIs will require HTTPS from the start, if they are sensitive to users’ security or privacy. The best way to ensure the uninterrupted functionality of apps using these features is to upgrade them to HTTPS as soon as possible.
Upgrading your existing apps to HTTPS
Existing apps on Deploy without a custom domain (using
yoursubdomain.5apps.com) have been HTTPS by default for over 3 years now. If you previously considered using a custom domain, but didn’t want to pay extra for a certificate, now you can set it up for free.
Apps with a custom domain, for which you subscribed to our previous HTTPS add-on service, have been switched to the new, free certificates. The paid add-on will automatically expire and you will not be charged for renewal.
If you were running an app with a custom domain but no SSL certificate on Deploy, we have set up all of your apps for HTTPS already. However, in case you are relying on Web Storage, calls to HTTP APIs, or unencrypted WebSocket endpoints, we disabled automatic redirects to the HTTPS version of your app. Please check your email, as we have notified you in case your app is among those.
Part 2: AppCache, Web Storage, and upgrading to HTTPS origins
We’ll soon publish a follow-up post about how we dealt with updating your cached offline apps using AppCache from HTTP to HTTPS. It will also include information on how to deal with migrating Web Storage data between HTTP and HTTPS origins. Subscribe to this blog or follow us on Twitter if you’re interested.
- While it is possible to attack HTTPS connections as well, it requires a lot of effort and usually specific targeting of single users, whereas attacks on HTTP can be done on a large scale in addition to being easy to attempt for anyone.
- We saw up to 35% load time decrease over HTTP 1.1 for apps delivered over SPDY and HTTP/2. Especially mobile clients with high-latency connections benefit considerably, when they can use a single TCP connection to load all resources.
- Also see the W3C Secure Contexts spec draft