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Can't access server from Fandom (the Wiki)

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11 months 4 weeks ago #65305 by Kristin Darken
Kristin Darken replied the topic: Can't access server from Fandom (the Wiki)
If the internet wants us to shift to using https.... it needs to do a whole lot better about making that process doable without a full time Linux savvy administrator.

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11 months 4 weeks ago #65307 by Kettlekorn
Kettlekorn replied the topic: Can't access server from Fandom (the Wiki)
The internet is aware of that issue and has been working on solutions. In particular, letsencrypt.org and certbot.eff.org come to mind. The former is a free, automated certificate authority, and the latter is one of several client programs that can be run on a server to obtain and install a certificate from Let's Encrypt and then be put in a cron job to automatically update that certificate every couple months.

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11 months 4 weeks ago #65308 by XaltatunOfAcheron
XaltatunOfAcheron replied the topic: Can't access server from Fandom (the Wiki)

Kettlekorn wrote: The internet is aware of that issue and has been working on solutions. In particular, letsencrypt.org and certbot.eff.org come to mind. The former is a free, automated certificate authority, and the latter is one of several client programs that can be run on a server to obtain and install a certificate from Let's Encrypt and then be put in a cron job to automatically update that certificate every couple months.


Getting a certificate is the least of the problems. As you say, it's pretty straight-forward these days. It's the rest of the work that needs to be done that's the problem. That includes checking out the basic frameworks, plugins, configuration files and probably a host of other things I've probably never heard of and don't want to know. My last brush with system administration was on IBM mainframes in the 1970s, which is not particularly relevant to this problem.

Kristen's comment about it requiring a full-time unix system administrator is not that far off the mark: the knowledge base needed to do the job efficiently is that of someone who has been a full-time unix system administrator. Otherwise it's by guess and by golly, and would take a lot longer and create a lot more frustration.

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11 months 4 weeks ago #65311 by null0trooper
null0trooper replied the topic: Can't access server from Fandom (the Wiki)

XaltatunOfAcheron wrote: Kristen's comment about it requiring a full-time unix system administrator is not that far off the mark: the knowledge base needed to do the job efficiently is that of someone who has been a full-time unix system administrator. Otherwise it's by guess and by golly, and would take a lot longer and create a lot more frustration.


Not really. Installing the signed certificates (if the hosting company hasn't already taken care of that) to the correct directories and with the correct permissions may require root access.

Opening port 443 inbound at the firewall likely also requires root access.

Updating the web server's configuration to use SSL isn't as hard as you make it out to be - at least not for the Apache webserver. Once your configuration requires passing some of the requests through to helper/worker threads, and other fun stuff like orphaned software, then it can really take a while.

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11 months 3 weeks ago #65327 by Kristin Darken
Kristin Darken replied the topic: Can't access server from Fandom (the Wiki)
Please don't be dismissive of the difficulty in converting to https. If you have experience with doing so on a Google Cloud Compute Engine (virtual machine server) and you'd like to share your insight and walk me through to prove how easy it is, great. If not, please don't try to compare your experience having 'read about it' or having done this own your own personal physical server. It's not the same and the dismissiveness is insulting. If it were EASY, it would already be done. If it were even a little challenging but just needed some degree of research; I'd probably also have finished it by now. It is NOT simple and may actually not be doable without setting up an entirely new LAMP and migrating the site.

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11 months 3 weeks ago #65335 by Kettlekorn
Kettlekorn replied the topic: Can't access server from Fandom (the Wiki)
Sorry, I wasn't trying to be dismissive. I read the "us" in "If the internet wants us to shift to using https" as collectively applying to society as a whole, which made me think you might have missed some recent developments since https is now pretty easy in most cases. I didn't mean to imply that there aren't edge cases where it's still a pain in the ass or to suggest that we're not in one of those edge cases. I should've been more clear about that.

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11 months 3 weeks ago #65337 by null0trooper
null0trooper replied the topic: Can't access server from Fandom (the Wiki)
I would have to agree that my trivial experience of fifteen years, give or take, as a web admin was not on a Google Cloud Compute Engine platform.

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11 months 3 weeks ago #65343 by Kristin Darken
Kristin Darken replied the topic: Can't access server from Fandom (the Wiki)
I think the key here is to remember that we aren't using a web hosting service. We're using a cloud server provider.

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11 months 3 weeks ago #65384 by XaltatunOfAcheron
XaltatunOfAcheron replied the topic: Can't access server from Fandom (the Wiki)

Kristin Darken wrote: I think the key here is to remember that we aren't using a web hosting service. We're using a cloud server provider.


There may be some light. I've got family members that work in systems administration for major IT service companies. I showed the problem to one of them, and he said: "hm, we've got some people who work with Google cloud compute engine. That's their job. I'll ask one of them if they've got a step-by-step for converting a site from http to https."

We'll see if that bears usable fruit.

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11 months 2 weeks ago #65396 by Kristin Darken
Kristin Darken replied the topic: Can't access server from Fandom (the Wiki)
Appreciate it. Even if nothing comes of it, it's worth having someone ask "do you have a" because it might prompt someone to write one, if it isn't already there (and I don't think it is, I've been digging for one).

And just a reminder for those thinking "I thought Kristin WAS the administrator responsible for this" ... need to remember that, for example, we bring in $300 per month in donations to keep the site functioning compared to the $3000-5000 in upkeep and costs that BigCloset operates on. We are hugely thankful to those who ARE donating... especially because that allows us to do so without the need for advertisements and what limited revenue we get from those (and we get to keep more of it because I don't have to file donations as income like I did ad revenue)... but even on slow months, what's necessary to keep things running falls more on contributed effort than paid worker.

I may be the admin here, but I'm plenty aware that my experience level is at that of a hobbyist... and that most of my 'hardcore' computer experience is woefully outdated (and targeted/specialized in areas other than IT admin).

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