In 2014, Mozilla teamed up with Akamai, Cisco, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Identrust, and the University of Michigan to found Let’s Encrypt in order to move the Web towards universal encryption. Today, Let’s Encrypt is leaving beta. We here at Mozilla are very proud of Let’s Encrypt reaching this stage of maturity
Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated and open Web certificate authority that helps make it easy for any Web site to turn on encryption. Let’s Encrypt uses an open protocol called ACME which is being standardized in the IETF. There are already over 40 independent implementations of ACME. Several web hosting services such as Dreamhost and Automattic, who runs WordPress.com, also use ACME to integrate with Let’s Encrypt and provide security that is on by default.
HTTPS, the protocol that forms the basis of Web security, has been around for a long time. However, as of the end of 2015, only ~40% of page views and ~65% of transactions used HTTPS. Those numbers should both be 100% if the Web is to provide the level of privacy and security that people expect. One of the biggest barriers to setting up a secure Web site is getting a “certificate”, which is the digital credential that lets Web browsers make certain they are talking to the right site. Historically the process of getting certificates has been difficult and expensive, making it a major roadblock towards universal encryption.
In the six months since its beta launch in November 2015, Let’s Encrypt has issued more than 1.7 million certificates for approximately 2.4 million domain names, and is currently issuing more than 20,000 certificates a day. More than 90% of Let’s Encrypt certificates are protecting web sites that never had security before. In addition, more than 20 other companies have joined Let’s Encrypt, making it a true cross-industry effort.
Congratulations and thanks to everyone who has been part of making Let’s Encrypt happen. Security needs to be a fundamental part of the Web and Let’s Encrypt is playing a key role in making the Internet more secure for everyone.