CLOUDFLARE HAS provided all of the two million websites under its watch with secure socket layer (SSL) encryption as standard and for free.
Such a move is welcomed. SSL is a worthy addition to a security architecture in a regularly targeted industry.
Websites have recently warmed to SSL and many have adopted it. Cloudflare is now joining them, and it reckons that its involvement will have an immediate and dramatic effect.
"This morning we began rolling out the Universal SSL across all our current customers. We expect this process to be complete for all current customers before the end of the day," it said.
"Yesterday, there were about [two] million sites active on the internet that supported encrypted connections. By the end of the day today, we'll have doubled that."
While existing and new customers will ultimately all have the SSL option Cloudflare is limiting it somewhat. It said that it had some concerns about the scale of the service, and it mentioned IPv4 exhaustion as a likely spanner, and will limit free availability to those websites that run in the more recent web browsers.
"Modern browsers include support for ECDSA, where many legacy browsers do not. Modern browsers also support an extension to the SSL protocol called Server Name Indication (SNI). SNI sends the web site name (the equivalent of the host header) unencrypted, which allows us to return different certificates on an IP address depending on what customer's site is requested," it added.
"This allows us to serve multiple customers' sites from the same IP. Generally, if you're running a browser that is less than [six] years old, your browser is modern and Universal SSL on Cloudflare's free plans will work."
Two "problem child" web browsers are highlighted as lacking by Cloudflare and they are Internet Explorer on Windows XP and any version of Android that came before Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
Cloudflare reckons that about 80 percent of its base uses modern web browsers, but added that it will support anything that paying customers bring to it. µ
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