What is Let’s Encrypt all about?
Introduced in 2016, Let’s Encrypt represents a free open certificate authority (CA), which provides website owners with digital certificates for enabling HTTPS (SSL/TLS).
It was launched, by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG), a public-benefit organization sponsored by the Mozilla Foundation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Cisco Systems, with the aim of making HTTPS encryption both affordable and user-friendly.
Their main goal is to create a more secure, privacy-driven web.
Let’s Encrypt certificates are:
- free to use: each domain name owner can obtain a trusted certificate at absolutely no cost;
- automatic: the certificate setup and renewal procedures are fully automated; no human intervention is needed;
- simple to use: there are neither payments to make, nor validation emails to respond to;
- secure: Let’s Encrypt serves as a platform for implementing the latest security practices;
- fully transparent: all issued certificates are publicly available for anyone to view;
- open: the issuance and renewal protocol is published as an open standard that can be adopted;
- self-regulated’: Let’s Encrypt is a joint community effort, beyond the control of any organization;
The idea and history behind the Let’s Encrypt project
The Let’s Encrypt project was launched in 2016. During the first month alone, more than 200,000 certificates were issued and this number increased a hundredfold in just 1 year.
More than 20,000,000 active certificates are currently supported by Let’s Encrypt.
This explosive growth has been fuelled by the efforts of the Internet Security Research Group (the organization behind Let’s Encrypt) to help create a fully encrypted web.
Supported by a large community, this small group with only 9 full-time employees has managed to raise awareness among site owners about the need for investing in a more secure web.
The results speak for themselves – according to statistics provided by Mozilla’s Firefox Telemetry, the past year has seen a 10-percent increase in HTTPS page loads – from 39% in 2016 to 49% in 2017. This means that half the web is now encrypted, which makes everyone safer.
Today, Let’s Encrypt is trusted by the likes of Google, Apple and Mozilla.