HTTPS Working Group

In WordPress 4.4 and 4.5, various pieces of work were done to improve HTTPSHTTPS HTTPS is an acronym for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP, the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website that you are connected to. The 'S' at the end of HTTPS stands for 'Secure'. It means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted. This is especially helpful for protecting sensitive data like banking information. support in coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress., but not much has been tackled since then. To address this, I’m going to re-start the weekly chats in the #core-http channel in SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/.. Fridays late afternoon UTC/GMT are good for me — does this work for other people who are interested in helping with HTTPS issues?

Although the HTTPS improvements are always ongoing and not tied to a particular releaseRelease A release is the distribution of the final version of an application. A software release may be either public or private and generally constitutes the initial or new generation of a new or upgraded application. A release is preceded by the distribution of alpha and then beta versions of the software., it would be great to get some improvements into 4.7.

If you run a WordPress sitesite (versus network, blog) over HTTPS only, support is very good and there are very few issues to contend with. If you’re running a multisitemultisite Used to describe a WordPress installation with a network of multiple blogs, grouped by sites. This installation type has shared users tables, and creates separate database tables for each blog (wp_posts becomes wp_0_posts). See also network, blog, site networknetwork (versus site, blog) on HTTPS there are a few small issues when adding new sites. However, the main HTTPS issues in core come from:

  • Enforcing the HTTPS scheme on assets (such as embedded images in post content, and enqueued JSJS JavaScript, a web scripting language typically executed in the browser. Often used for advanced user interfaces and behaviors. and CSSCSS Cascading Style Sheets.).
  • Enforcing the HTTPS scheme on links, redirects, and canonical URLs.
  • Migrating an existing HTTPHTTP HTTP is an acronym for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. HTTP is the underlying protocol used by the World Wide Web and this protocol defines how messages are formatted and transmitted, and what actions Web servers and browsers should take in response to various commands. site to HTTPS.
  • Running a site that uses a mixture of HTTP and HTTPS.

The first two points — avoiding mixed content on HTTPS sites — need to be solved via an opt-in system (either via constants or filters) because enforcing these can cause issues with sites that run proxies (for example Cloudflare’s Universal SSLSSL Secure Sockets Layer. Provides a secure means of sending data over the internet. Used for authenticated and private actions.). Overall though, this ought to be a fairly straight forward set of enhancements to implement.

The third point is a potentially complex one which will need a lot of discussion and some ideas putting forward. How can core makemake A collection of P2 blogs at make.wordpress.org, which are the home to a number of contributor groups, including core development (make/core, formerly "wpdevel"), the UI working group (make/ui), translators (make/polyglots), the theme reviewers (make/themes), resources for plugin authors (make/plugins), and the accessibility working group (make/accessibility). life easier for a site owner who wishes to switch their site from HTTP to HTTPS? Should it be a case of being able to change the scheme in the URLURL A specific web address of a website or web page on the Internet, such as a website’s URL www.wordpress.org on the General Settings screen or is there too much risk of breakage? What else can be done post-migrationMigration Moving the code, database and media files for a website site from one server to another. Most typically done when changing hosting companies. to aid the site owner, or will the opt-in enhancements for avoiding mixed content be enough?

The last point is one that, going forward, should be generally discouraged, however it needs to continue to be supported for multisite networks that use domain mapping and can’t serve every domain over HTTPS.

There’s an https keyword on Trac which has been applied to tickets that concern HTTPS issues. We’ll start going through this list in next week’s chat.

Here’s a bunch of further considerations that need to be taken into account while working on HTTPS issues:

  • Differing schemes, domains, and ports in the siteurl and home options.
  • Domain mapping
  • force_ssl_admin() usage
  • Self signed certs
  • No public access to adminadmin (and super admin) URLs
  • Different HTTPS domain on front end (!)
  • HTTP site optionally available over HTTPS

Here’s a list of items that should be considered for enforcing over HTTPS:

  • Enqueued JS and CSS.
  • Post content, images, js, CSS, iframes,srcset, oembeds, forms.
  • How about other fields such as term descriptions, user bios, etc.
  • Force https links. Links to the current site.
  • Force https link in nav menus.
  • Force https redirects and/or canonical.
  • Force HSTS. (Probably not.)
  • Force https rest apiREST API The REST API is an acronym for the RESTful Application Program Interface (API) that uses HTTP requests to GET, PUT, POST and DELETE data. It is how the front end of an application (think “phone app” or “website”) can communicate with the data store (think “database” or “file system”) https://developer.wordpress.org/rest-api/. endpoint.
  • Force https XML RPC.
  • Set https-only on cookies.

Let me know in the comments if you’d like to help out and if Fridays are good for the meeting time!

#https