This fall CLAS IT will begin migrating WordPress sites to our new web server infrastructure. The new infrastructure will bring about some important changes, the most important of which will be the deprecation of non-secure HTTP.
Originally, the only way to transfer data over the web was over an unencrypted protocol, called HTTP. This meant that the unencrypted traffic could be intercepted by a third party and viewed with little difficulty. Because e-Commerce required a way to protect payment information, an encrypted version of the HTTP protocol, called HTTPS, was developed in the 90s. You may have recognized the little “lock” icon when purchasing an item online, that is an indication that you were using the HTTPS protocol.
Although the majority of content on the web is still using the older HTTP protocol, this year both Mozilla (FireFox) and Google (Chrome) have announced a plan to start notifying people that the content they are viewing may be intercepted whenever they view an unencrypted site. With newer versions of their browsers, these alerts will become more pronounced; if you have ever tried to login to Canvas using an “unsupported browser,” you may have an idea of how invasive and annoying the alerts may become. Google and Mozilla are doing this to try and encourage web-site owners to move all content to the encrypted protocol, which is really a good thing, and CLAS IT plans to move to encrypted HTTP this fall to help usher in the new era of encrypted HTTP everywhere.