Plan to provide a sub domain for non-technical minded web users to manage the install of SHA-2 Certs



Plan to provide a sub domain for non-technical minded web designers, and web users to manage the install of SHA-2 Certs. (Support offered free. Certs offered free).


Seeking help brings one to which can be a very intimidating section if you are new to web matters. What I propose is a SPECIAL SECTION with STEP BY STEP text (a sort of “IKEA construction guide” to getting https on your new site) and phone support.


This 101 support would be offered on a sub domain which could be designed ( I am willing to offer 10 hours per month free - and I am sure many others would join me) pro bono.

Call-in support would be via a US 800 number. Funding for this number and basic charges would be easy to obtain. And possible access to SKYPE call-in added. I am willing to offer 2 hours per month - and I am sure many others would join me and use a sign-up form on this new site to offer their time to give over the phone tech support.

Related: where you will see a special section that proposes this idea to Google. In an ideal world of “web-caring” this could be run by Google, EFF and others. Each running their support site and hotline (either jointly or as separate projects).


I am of the opinion that certbot is already quite intuitive for basic tasks (and if you want to do non-basic taks, you will not need such a guide), and the process is documented fairly well.

While this may sound somewhat elitist, I think that someone who doesn’t know how to include /etc/letsencrypt/live/... in their nginx.conf or whatever, shouldn’t be running a web server in the first place and ought instead to seek a hosted solution.

Let’s Encrypt is a great tool. A great tool for companies to provide free SSL for those whom they host, and for self-hosters to do their thing, but an intelligence check is somewhat needed.

And you do realize that people rining up the support number will inevitably be asking us random unrelated crap complainng about issues already covered on github and whatnot.


I generally agree with the you-must-be-this-tall-to-ride mindset. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you belong on a managed plan.


Hi @ardanblum! Thanks for the feedback. We definitely want to offer documentation for all levels, including people who aren’t experienced with requesting and installing certificates. I think the documentation you’re looking for is at, linked from the main page. Did you check that and find it insufficient? Or did you miss the link? The current styling makes it somewhat easy to miss, in my opinon, so we may want to change that.


Speaking as a legally-blind person, I had no problems finding either the full /docs/ page or the getting started one. The only way to make it more obvious would be to put it in the menubar next to the docs and make it flash and sparkle.


Great to hear it @Ersatz, thanks for the input! :sparkles:


Yes.The page is found with ease. But the CONTENT is the issue.
One of the drawbacks to certain free IT niche services is that they are being used by a limited number of geeks.

There is room to make a BASIC information and step by step guide.
Still willing to work on this. Let me know.


I think this type of service is best implemented further down the chain. The possible configurations are so complex and in many cases so technical, that even with hand-holding, it would be very difficult to offer a level of support sufficient to the need, especially at no cost to the user. Not to mention issues with liability when the advice/help inevitably causes damage.

Luckily, common web control panels are now offering dedicated modules for using LE, making usage of the service as simple as a few clicks. We already have support inside cPanel and Plesk. Many hosts with custom software are beginning to include support for LE. At least in my mind, it is probably better to direct energy in integrations and automations for other common products. That will give the best results for the effort expended.

If someone is managing a server manually, they should already have enough knowledge that some guides would be perfect for their skill level. Having some easy-to-find guides on generic configuration and conversion to common formats (jks, for example) would be perfect for this set.


@ardanblum: Good point about needing more user-friendly content. If you look at again, do you think you could tell me where it lost you? We can then work to expand whatever part is not detailed enough.



As an experiment, I have brought the /getting-started/ page to several individuals with whom I work, particularly the ones who don’t have web dev experience or, preferrably, much of any dev experience. All have said to me that the instructions on the page are clear, and I even had someone install the client and get a cert for me with no prior knowledge of nginx and basic unix skills. The only ambiguities on the page, as noted by my interviewees, were the terms “ACME protocol” and “shell access”, and to be honest, the first is understandable, and if you don’t know the second, you shouldn’t be anywhere near a server.

Even so, even not knowing what “shell access” even meant, these people were nevertheless able to at-least partially understand the instructions.


Thanks for the feedback, @Ersatz!


I think it boils down to “It’s too hard for ME, so it must be too hard for everyone, so it needs rework”. It’s apparently too hard to acknowledge that one’s own skills are lacking.


I second TCM

but that same logic cisco,juniper and other firewall vendors should make it easy to do ACLs and other controls

SSL is about security and doing it well. It is a skill and if people don’t have the experience then hire someone to do it


If they don’t have the experience, so hire someone to do it for them, how are they supposed to get the experience? Still, yes, for a live production site, do it well, or get it done.
I am self-taught and still learning. I know that “I don’t know.” Yet I’m willing, and trying, to learn. Toward that aim I have my home system “serving” the web and play with that. The worst that could happen, should I somehow compromise my system’s security, is that my box is bricked and I have to rebuild my system, again. :-}
So far the deities which protect fools have kept the wolves outside the gates, and I continue to learn. With the help of information posted here and Google I have learned a lot, and only have 98% left to learn. :slight_smile: Someday, may 2 or 3 centuries hence, I’ll even reach Guru status.
'Till then, maybe my footprints in the sand can lead others to their own Nirvana. :smiley:


With these abilities, one should be able to understand the docs, even if they don’t understand them straight away… Search info about things which are a mystery and it should all work out.

IMHO, only people who immediately throw in the towel when reading something then don’t understand, have troubles with the docs…


Kinda-sorta the point I was trying to make: [quote=“gypsypriest, post:14, topic:22095”]
With the help of information posted here and Google I have learned a lot, and only have 98% left to learn.

Agree with this, and have expressed similar ideas before:

I have found it a minor hassle to dig out needed info from the forum. On the other hand, info I just find laid out in 1, 2, 3 steps are easy to follow, and as easy to forget and I end up looking for the same answer repeatedly. Things I “learn” by gathering information and making the connections and developing my own 1, 2, 3 steps I don’t have to look it up repeated, I now know it myself and don’t have to be carried on the backs of others.


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