The EFF has released a new client, called CertBot, to help site owners quickly obtain HTTPS certificates from the Let’s Encrypt certificate authority, making it even simpler to offer encrypted connections for users.
Let’s Encrypt is an initiative started by the EFF and many other sponsors to deploy encrypted connections in as many places as possible. It comprises a certificate authority that offers free TLS certificates for site owners and is designed to work without much in the way of human interaction. The Let’s Encrypt effort grew out of the reaction to the revelations about mass surveillance by the NSA and other government agencies, and the EFF has been expanding the initiative gradually.
The release of the CertBot client is the latest step in that process. CertBot is based on the ACME protocol and the EFF has set up a site that enables users to download OS and web server-specific versions of the client. The software is a renamed version of what used to be called the Let’s Encrypt client, but EFF officials said the name change shouldn’t cause any technical issues.
“While a new name has the potential for creating technical issues, the Certbot team has worked hard to make this transition as seamless as possible. Packages installed from PyPI, letsencrypt-auto, and third party plugins should all continue to work and receive updates without modification. We expect OS packages to begin using the Certbot name in the next few weeks as well,” Brad Warren of the EFF said in a blog post.
“On many systems, the current client packages will automatically transition to Certbot while continuing to support the letsencrypt command so you won’t have to edit any scripts you’re currently using. Despite the rename and Certbot’s new home at EFF, the client will continue to work as it always has. It will still get certificates from Let’s Encrypt and automatically configure HTTPS on your webserver.”
The Let’s Encrypt effort has been used by a number of large organizations, and in April WordPress turned on HTTPS for one million sites with Let’s Encrypt. CertBot will simplify the process of obtaining and deploying SSL certificates for site owners, something that can be a significant challenge.