About 13 months ago we bought an SSL certificate for harmsboone.org. Recently we upgraded our SSL configuration for harmsboone.org and all our subdomains (except wedding.harmsboone.org, we’ll get there). Now you can browse Greg and Danielle’s blogs,and Danielle’s new writing project, 1000 Wednesdays, with confidence that nobody, not the government, not your internet service provider, not your crazy neighbor with a WiFi Pineapple is interfering with the words and photos your see on these pages.
We upgraded the base three, this site and the two blogs a couple months ago with certificates from SSLMate. You can get some sense of how I did it from my friend and colleague Eric Mill’s blog where he has posted an excellent walkthrough. You can also check our work at SSL Labs where we get an A+.
1000 Wednesdays I did this weekend, the same day we registered the domain. It was fully encrypted before we put any content on it at all. It, too, gets an A+,. We also snagged a cert for International Underground, with an A+ configuration, while we were at it.
Both of these last two sites are extra hip for being encrypted with a free certificate from Let’s Encrypt, a new non-profit, open Certificate Authority run by the Internet Research Security Group (ISRG). Their goal is to lower the barriers to entry for enabling encryption on web servers so that everybody can be serving content safely to everybody using the Internet. That means, even sites that are more or less dormant like International Underground can ensure that whoever happens upon it is getting content they can trust.
Things that were tricky about converting these sites over:
- We migrated from a shared hosting environment to a virtual server on NGINX. Let’s Encrypt does not officially support NGINX yet, so we had to install them manually.
- We had to solve some pretty big mixed content problems. For the most part they were ameliorated by changing the protocol in our various config files.
- For International Underground, we had to patch a plugin that served a remote file over http. This may have broken the content (it’s a Flash video and I didn’t bother checking to see if it worked.
- I missed the memo that Let’s Encrypt certificates don’t support the www subdomain by default and we (temporarily) lost www on International Underground and haven’t configured it for 1000 Wednesdays. I’m tempted to leave it that way, especially the latter never responded to www, but the redirect isn’t hard to set if you have the cert to cover it.
Overall, even though it took a few steps more than SSLMate, I was pretty impressed with Let’s Encrypt. For a public beta it is a great service that’s only going to get better. I hope to move all our sites to LE eventually but I’m going to get my money’s worth on the certs I paid for first.
Inspired by some of the work I’m doing at my new gig where we are an all https shop, I took the $15 plunge and bought a ssl certificate this morning for HarmsBoone.org.
Honestly, given how easy it is these days on top of security concerns, Google giving preferential treatment to HTTPS sites, and the NY Times issuing a challenge to all news sites to go HTTPS by 2015, it only makes sense.
Now, whenever you browse this site you can do so with the comfort of knowing that all the communication between you and this site is private, secure, and authentic. I’ll be doing the same for the other HarmsBoone sites, and for International Underground in the coming weeks, but decided to get the flagship, the oldest and, honestly, most trafficked of our sites locked down and secure first. The next step will be going through the site and making sure that all images and script files linked on our blog posts are also done with
https so you know that those are coming through uncontaminated, too.
And that’s about it.
The biggest thing you can do as a user is remember to type https when linking to any website. The worst case scenario is the site hasn’t configured it and you fall back to an insecure connection. For the most part, though, you’ll be sending your friends and family to secure, trustworthy locations on the Internet.
Seeing as this is a blog written by two travelers who can’t seem to write about their destinations fast enough, we thought it would be a good idea to map our travels. Now, you can see all our destinations at once—everywhere we’ve been in the entire world (though we’ve been so many places in the motherland that we only included a few), and click on them to learn more information. If there are blog posts about that place, you will see them listed below the place description, and if we happened to snap a photo while we were there, you’ll see one of those two. There are still some bugs to be worked out, and any suggestions—style, functionality, or otherwise—are more than welcome either in the comments here or by email. And now, without further ado, we present the map:
Click here for a map of the places we have visited, and learn more about them.
Cross-posted: Harms-Boone Admin Blog, Schoolhouse: ROK, Keeping up with the Magyars
Greetings Loyal Readers,
The real news with this update is an announcement related to another project both Danielle and I are working on called International Underground. We blogged about International Underground once before, alerting you of its existence, but now we are glad to announce it is up and running. Continue reading International Underground
Greetings everyone, it’s been a while since you last heard from us, and even longer since you heard from me. We’ve been pretty busy getting things in order around here, on the personal side of things, we have both been inexplicably busy lately. We’re thinking about the future, and trying to get things in order to apply for our next job. Those of you who follow me on twitter probably know I was at home for about two weeks over the Thanksgiving holiday. My grandma was undergoing surgery for pancreatic cancer and my return home was an emergency trip to be with her and my family while she prepared for and recovered from the Whipple Procedure. Now that it’s Christmas, Danielle is at home with her family, and my brother Tony arrived earlier this week to visit during my winter break.
In addition to working on some backend upgrades on this site, we’ve been collaborating with Anna and Andre (Seoulful Adventures) on the first of a series of journalism projects. We are currently putting together a story about the large Filipino community in and around Seoul and Incheon, centered around the weekly Filipino Market in Hyewha. Last weekend the four of us went out to the market and put in about five hours of interviewing and learning about the market, and the people who work and visit it. The project is the first of many to be produced under the umbrella of a new organization called International Underground. We hope to have the Filipino Market story up, and launch the full site soon. We’ll have more details here for sure. In the mean time, you can subscribe to the email list or the site’s RSS feed in the reader of your choice.
Creating International Underground does not mean that Schoolhouse: ROK will disappear. On the contrary, it means we will be able to focus on bringing you news and analysis from this site, but also do more broadly targeted, and more in-depth journalism, reporting unique stories, from among a community of journalists located in the Seoul area, and eventually around the world.
Thank you for reading, happy holidays, and stay tuned.
Congratulations, you found us! After far too long of freeloading server space from some old friends, we finally broke down and bought some web space. This will be our new home, and the home of any and all future projects upon which we endeavor. I’ve spent most of the night tinkering around with everything, changed the oil, replaced a couple leaky spark tubes, and now everything under the hood should be tip top, as good as new.
Have a look around and see what is new. We’re looking into some fancy new gizmos to add to our site soon so be sure to check back often. Danielle should have a post coming your way soon.
Hey everyone, we added a nifty little gizmo to our webpage today that lets us make our content more accessible to all your wired readers of ours out there. Now, whenever you go to our page on your iPod touch or Iphone, Android, or blackberry browser, you should get a fancy looking mobile page. We’ve been trying for a while to find a good way of delivering our content to mobile users without compromising our site’s overall style, look, and feel, and we are glad we can do it now. Have a look around the site, and leave a comment letting us know what you think.
As always, thanks for reading.
We disappeared for a few weeks there. Not sure what happened back in St. Peter, but the server hosting our site went down and we were out of commission for a while. We’ll have more posts up as soon as we can get them out to you. While we were out I wrote some fiction and might hand it over to you later this week to see what you think of it. Keep it tuned here.
When most people who know what a podcast is think about podcasts they usually think of a downloadable radio show, but podcasts can have many different files embedded within their code, including PDFs. Since we’re generating a PDF “printable version” of our site anyway, we decided to make it easier for you to receive our updates right on your home computer, and are now offering our site as a podcast.
To subscribe to our podcast, use the following url in your favorite podcast or feed reading software: http://harmsboone.org/feed/
If you do not know how to podcast, visit this great explanation from the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/help
Hope you’re enjoying the site.
In the interest of making self-publishing, and making this feel less like a blog and more like an online magazine, we will be publishing a PDF version of all posts alongside the web version. Feel free to download and print or just keep them to admire the photos.
Also, expect a new entry soon.