SSL and TLS are both cryptographic protocols, and TLS is an evolution of SSL. However, TLS is sometimes referred to colloquially as SSL, such as “SSL certificate”, even though all versions of the SSL protocol are disabled at VIP.
A VIP Go site must have an TLS certificate installed in order to be active. TLS is a requirement because every site uses a custom domain for both the front-end and admin area, and to ensure each site has a secure admin area and login process. The VIP team handles the procurement, installation and renewal of TLS certificates for all VIP Go sites, beginning with the initial site setup process.
TLS certificates can be procured and installed:
- by default from Let’s Encrypt, as a self-service feature of the VIP App Dashboard.
- from a different certificate authority by providing VIP with a custom certificate.
VIP’s TLS implementation is SNI based, which means some legacy browsers will not be fully supported in their access to pages served over TLS.
Whole-site HTTPS is enabled for all sites by default. This means all front-end and all admin traffic requesting the site over an insecure HTTP protocol will be redirected to HTTPS.
If another mode of HTTPS is required, please let VIP know as soon as possible. These modes are available:
- HTTPS Admin/Dual Frontend — Redirect all admin area traffic to HTTPS, but allow HTTP or HTTPS traffic for the front end. If you require certain URLs within your site to be HTTPS only (such as a checkout or donations page), then you can apply the appropriate redirections in WordPress theme or plugin code.
- HTTPS Admin/HTTP Frontend — Redirect all admin area to HTTPS, and redirect all front end traffic to HTTP.
HTTP Strict Transport Security
VIP Go supports and strongly encourages the use of HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) headers, which declares to supporting web browsers that a website is accessible only over an HTTPS connection. HSTS headers are an important security measure as they prevent person-in-the-middle attacks, protocol downgrade attacks, and cookie hijacking. When HSTS is activated, it adds the
max-age=31536000 (or a lower number if needed) header. The
includeSubDomains options are also available.
Please be aware that if you configure HSTS headers for your site and then revert the site to responding over HTTP only, any previous visitors will effectively be blocked from accessing your site as their browser will not allow HTTP requests to be made. This is not a bug; this is how HSTS is designed to work.
If you would like your site to be configured for HSTS, please open a support ticket.