Generate Website SSL Certificate Using Lets Encrypt

Let’s Encrypt is a new certificate authority. The service will automatically generate SSL certificates that you can use to secure your web and email server connections. The certificates are free.

Recently Google has started using https as a ranking signal so it’s useful for your SEO that you do offer an encrypted version. It’s also really important if you’re requesting personal information from your users. Signed SSL certificates should stop man-in-the-middle attacks where traffic to and from your site is monitored by an unknown third party. Login forms etc on your site should certainly be encrypted.

As of December 2015, Let’s Encrypt has entered public beta. There are plans to have more easily installed packages available for most systems, but for now you have to clone the Let’s Encrypt Client from GitHub. Installation instructions are available here.

A new SSL certificate can be generated from the command-line using a simple command such as ./letsencrypt-auto certonly --standalone -d example.com -d www.example.com. This requires that your web server is stopped whilst the certificate is validated. Other options are available that do not require this.

The new certificates are valid for 90 days. Let’s Encrypt suggests you renew them every 60 days.

Full documentation is available here.

It should be noted that simply serving your site over SSL doesn’t guarantee it is secure. It’s worth running something like SSL Server Test on your domain to flag up any common problems.

Create Breadcrumb Trail in Harp Template

Harp is a static web server with built-in preprocessing. It serves Jade, Markdown, EJS, CoffeeScript, Sass, LESS and Stylus as HTML, CSS & JavaScript without any configuration required, and can be used to output a static website. I’ve been writing a template that can be used to include a breadcrumb to any page in the site.

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Livereload in Foundation for Apps and Gulp

This guide shows how to implement LiveReload when developing using Foundation for Apps.

One of the most useful tools I’ve found when developing a website is the LiveReload utility. Whenever you make changes to the code of your site, be it HTML, CSS / SASS or Javascripts, the webpage that you are working on automatically refreshes to include your changes. This guide would also be valid for any site being built using Gulp. Continue reading

Using libsass with Foundation for Apps

By default Foundation for Apps uses Ruby Sass to compile your SCSS to CSS. This guide covers the conversion to libsass

I accept there are quite a few reasons that you might continue to use Ruby Sass, but if some of the missing features aren’t going to cause you any problems it’s much faster to compile using libsass. My compilation times dropped from around 8.3s using ruby sass to 1.4s using libsass. A huge benefit when you’re repeatedly waiting for your new style to show up during development. Continue reading

Migrating a Virtualmin Server from Apache to Nginx

A long while ago, I installed virtualmin to manage my web server. At that time, the only web server available was Apache 2. Recently, I’ve been running some tests on Nginx, and feel it could be much faster, especially for cached pages on my site. This post covers how to migrate your existing Virtualmin Apache servers over to Nginx. It’s not the easiest task, and will involve some down time for your servers.

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Ubuntu Menu Entries

[GARD]

To create a menu entry in Ubuntu / Xubuntu, copy and paste the following into the file ~/.local/share/applications/eclipse.desktop

In this case the entry is for my install of Eclipse, but you’ll need to edit the Icon and Exec paths for your installation.