Timeline of HTTPS adoption
This timeline describes the gradual increase in websites and clients using HTTPS.
Entity types and qualitative details
HTTPS is an end-to-end protocol. Therefore, it need only be supported by the browser (on the client side) and the server (it could be terminated at the load balancer or proxy or dealt with directly by the process serving the content).
Other intermediaries, like Internet Service Providers (ISPs), routers, networking services, etc. do not need to be upgraded to support HTTPS. The main effects on them from the transition to HTTPS are: (a) the ability of their packet analyzers to sniff traffic reduces, and (b) the volume of traffic they deal with goes up a little bit.
|Entity type||Broad classification||Top entity names||Typical stages||Details|
|Standard||--||This includes standards around client-server communication for HTTPS. Most of these are published by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).|
|Browser||Client-side||Chrome, Firefox, Netscape Navigator||Security warning||Beyond initial HTTPS support (which was present in most browsers from the get-go), the main browser evolution has centered around the way security warnings are presented around HTTP versus HTTPS, mixed content, and problems with HTTPS certificates.|
|Browser extension||Client-side||Firesheep, HTTPS Everywhere||Vulnerability exploit, security improvement||Browser extensions have played some role in identifying and protecting against vulnerabilities of unencrypted (plain HTTP) connections.|
|Website||Server-side||Lots of websites||HTTPS available, opt-in HTTPS-only, default HTTPS-only, HTTPS-only||Websites may start by making HTTPS available, so that people who type https:// in the browser will get the HTTPS website. They may then transition to allowing logged-in users to opt-in to HTTPS-only, so that they will see internal links in HTTPS only and will automatically be redirected from HTTP to HTTPS. The next step is default HTTPS-only, which means that except for users who explicitly opt out, everybody is redirected to HTTPS (this could come in two stages: first rolled out to logged-in users only, then to all). Finally, the HTTPS-only stage is when access over plain HTTP is no longer supported.|
|Webmail||Server-side||Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail||HTTPS available, opt-in HTTPS-only, default HTTPS-only, HTTPS-only||Similar to the stages for website. However, webmail is generally more sensitive, so the importance of switching to HTTPS is higher, and webmail services switched to HTTPS before websites.|
|Search engine||Server-side||Google Search, Bing, Yahoo! Search||HTTPS available, opt-in HTTPS-only, default HTTPS-only, HTTPS-only||Similar to the stages for website. Search engine data is intermediate in sensitivity between websites and webmail, and in terms of the chronological evolution also moved to HTTPS somewhere in between.|
|Proxy/load balancer||Server-side||Amazon Web Services||Early SSL termination||Load balancers can manage the SSL/TLS certificates and forward only plain HTTP requests to the servers that have to actually respond to the request.|
|CDN||Server-side||Amazon CloudFront||Custom SSL||Content delivery networks are used to serve static content at low latency and low cost around the world. CDNs have evolved to allow customers to upload their own SSL certificates for content.|
|Ecosystem||Server-side||Advertising||Various backend ecosystems that power the technology and monetization of the web, such as advertising, need to support HTTPS in order to complete the transition to HTTPS.|
Time period grouping
|Time period||Qualitative summary of developments|
|1994–2007||During this period, many of the standards related to HTTPS (HTTP over SSL, HTTP over TLS, SNI) are published as RFCs by the Internet Engineering Task Force. Certificate authorities (CAs) come into being and the CA/Browser Forum is created. A few sites, generally those related to e-commerce, start using HTTPS.|
|2008–2012||The move to HTTPS begins, with Google taking the lead, and Twitter and Facebook following. Webmail moves first, then search for logged-in users. The general playbook is: HTTPS available, opt-in HTTPS-only, then default HTTPS-only.|
|2013–2014||The move to HTTPS continues, with laggers in webmail and search catching up on encryption, and Google beginning encryption even for non-logged-in users. Toward the end of this period, Google begins aggressively pushing for the whole web to go HTTPS, first by stating that HTTPS will be a search ranking signal, then by declaring that Chrome eventually intends to mark all plain HTTP sites as not secure.|
|2015–2017||This is the period when the move to HTTPS intensifies among a number of ordinary websites. Wikipedia, Wordpress.com (?), Reddit, Imgur, and some major newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, TechCrunch, and Wired go HTTPS. Chrome begins the process of marking plain HTTP sites as Not Secure. Let's Encrypt makes it easy and free for people to move to HTTPS. Google and others set up systematic tracking of the proportion of HTTPS usage, and the period ends with a significant increase in HTTPS use.|
|Year||Month and date (if available)||Entity type||Entity name||Stage||Details|
|1994||Standard||SSL v1.0||Protocol||Netscape Communications creates HTTPS for its Netscape Navigator web browser, originally for use with the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol (SSL version 1.0). Due to security issues, this is never officially published. See w:Transport Layer Security#SSL_1.0.2C_2.0_and_3.0.|
|1995||February||Standard||SSL v2.0||Protocol||SSL v2.0 is released. It has a number of security flaws. See w:Transport Layer Security#SSL_1.0.2C_2.0_and_3.0.|
|1996||Standard||SSL v3.0||Protocol||SSL v3.0 is released and its specification is drafted. IETF would publish this draft as a historical document in 2011.|
|1999||January||Standard||TLS 1.0||Protocol||Version 1.0 of the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol is published as RFC 2246. TLS would replace SSL as the protocol used for HTTPS.|
|2000||May||Standard||HTTP over TLS||Protocol||RFC 2818 of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) describes the standard for HTTPS, using HTTP over Transport Layer Security (TLS).|
|2003||June||Standard||SNI||Protocol||RFS 3546 of the IETF describes a number of augmentations to TLS, including Server Name Indication (SNI).|
|2005||The CA/Browser Forum is founded. Ir is a voluntary consortium of certification authorities, vendors of Internet browser software, operating systems, and other PKI-enabled applications that promulgates industry guidelines governing the issuance and management of X.509 v.3 digital certificates that chain to a trust anchor embedded in such applications.|
|2006||April||Standard||TLS 1.1||Protocol||RFC 4346 defines TLS 1.1, the next version of TLS after TLS 1.0.|
|2008||July 24||Webmail||Google (Gmail)||Opt-in HTTPS-only||Google adds a setting in Gmail for users to always use HTTPS. Even before this, users could (since the inception of Gmail) access it securely by explicitly typing https:// in the browser. With the new setting, users who have opted in to it will be redirected from HTTP to HTTPS.|
|2008||August||Standard||TLS 1.2||Protocol||RFC 5246 defines TLS 1.2, the next version of TLS after TLS 1.1.|
|2010||January 12||Webmail||Google (Gmail)||Default HTTPS-only||Google switches all Gmail users to redirect to HTTPS; users can change their setings to not redirect to HTTPS. Previously, the default option for this setting was to not redirect, and users had to explicitly choose the option to redirect HTTP to HTTPS.|
|2010||June 17||Browser extension||HTTPS Everywhere||Security improvement||The Electronic Frontier Foundation and The Tor Project, Inc launch HTTPS Everywhere, a Firefox extension, to make Firefox use HTTPS where possible. The extension would evolve over the coming years. As of 2017, it is supported on Firefox, Chrome, and Opera.|
|2010||June 2||Browser enhancement||SSL False Start||A Google team comprising Adam Langley, Nagendra Modadugu, and Bodo Moeller propose SSL False Start, a client-side only change to reduce one round-trip from the SSL handshake. Despite tests showing that it reduces latency by 30%, the effort would be abandoned in April 2012 because of incompatibility with some servers doing early HTTPS termination.|
|2010||October||Browser extension||Firesheep||Vulnerability exploit||Firesheep, a Firefox browser extension that uses a packet analyzer to intercept unencrypted session cookies over Wi-Fi networks, is released. The extension highlights the need for greater security, both in terms of websites moving to HTTPS (end-to-end security) and improving security of Wi-Fi.|
|2010||October 14||Proxy/load balancer||AWS Elastic Load Balancing||Early SSL termination||AWS Elastic Load Balancing announces support for SSL termination. This means that websites hosted on AWS, behind AWS load balancers, can upload their certificates to the load balancer, and have the load balancer take care of the SSL certificate, so that the servers that receive the actual traffic only have to handle HTTP traffic.|
|2010||November 3||Website||GitHub||Default HTTPS-only||In response to the release of Firesheep, GitHub moves to HTTPS for all users; previously full-session SSL was only available to paying users.|
|2010||November 9||Webmail||Hotmail (Microsoft)||Opt-in HTTPS-only||Microsoft lets users of its web-based email service, Hotmail, set HTTPS by default.|
|2011||January||Website||Opt-in HTTPS-only||Facebook begins allowing logged-in users to opt in to have all their Facebook browsing encrypted by HTTPS.|
|2011||January||Standard||OCSP stapling||RFC 6066, introducing OCSP stapling, is published. OCSP stapling is an alternative approach to the Online Certificate Status Protocol llows the presenter of a certificate to bear the resource cost involved in providing OCSP responses by appending ("stapling") a time-stamped OCSP response signed by the CA to the initial TLS handshake, eliminating the need for clients to contact the certificate authority. RFC 6961 would cover the case of multiple OCSP stapling.|
|2011||March 15||Website||Opt-in HTTPS-only||Twitter begins allowing logged-in users to opt in to have all their Twitter browsing encrypted by HTTPS.|
|2011||July 15||Proxy/load balancer||Nginx||GlobalSign, DigiCert, Comodo and NGINX Inc. announce a joint effort to add OCSP-stapling support to Nginx.|
|2011||October 18||Search engine||Google Search||Default HTTPS-only||Google makes HTTPS (using SSL) the default option for its search users who are logged in on google.com (its US site; regionally branded sites are not affected). In particular, webmasters receiving traffic from Google Search will no longer be able to know the search terms that led to a specific visit.|
|2012||February 13||Website||Default HTTPS-only||Twitter makes HTTPS the default for all logged-in users.|
|2012||March||Search engine||Google Search||Default HTTPS-only||Google makes secure search the default globally for signed-in users. Previously, the change was limited to users on google.com.|
|2012||July 31||Webmail||Outlook (formerly Hotmail) (Microsoft)||Default HTTPS-only||With the rebranding of Hotmail as Outlook.com, Microsoft moves to default HTTPS-only for all usersof the web-based email service.|
|2012||October 9||Website||Quora||Opt-in HTTPS-only||On or before this date, question-and-answer website Quora allows logged-in users to opt in to HTTPS-only.|
|2012||November||Website||Default HTTPS-only||Facebook rolls out its transition to HTTPS by default for all users, beginning with North America. The move is reported to be completed on August 1, 2013.|
|2012||November 19||Standard||RFC 6797||Default HTTPS-only||The HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) standard is published, after being approved on October 2. The standard allows a website to set a header specifying a time period over which the client must connect to the website only via HTTPS. This protects against protocol downgrade attacks and cookie hijacking, and also avoids the extra latency involved in redirecting HTTP to HTTPS.|
|2013||February||The Certificate Authority Security Council is founded by the seven largest certificate authorities: Comodo, Symantec, Trend Micro, DigiCert, Entrust, Entrust, GlobalSign, and GoDaddy.|
|2013||August 21 (actual release), August 1 (announcement)||Website||Wikipedia||Default HTTPS-only||Wikimedia Foundation turns on HTTPS for all logged-in users (announcement August 1).|
|2013||September||Search engine||Google Search||Default HTTPS-only||Google Search moves all searches, even those by users who are not logged in, to HTTPS. The only exception is ad clicks. The change is believed to be a response to concerns about privacy triggered by relevations about PRISM, a United States federal government surveillance program.|
|2013||September 26||Website||Imgur||HTTPS available||Image-hosting service Imgur makes HTTPS available sitewide.|
|2013||October 14||Webmail||Yahoo!||Default HTTPS-only||Yahoo! Mail moves to a default of HTTPS-only.|
|2013||October 24, 25||Website||Internet Archive||Default HTTPS-only||The Internet Archive announces that its websites archive.org (which includes the Wayback Machine at web.archive.org) and openlibrary.org are defaulted to HTTPS-only, though they will still be available over HTTP.|
|2014||January 22||Search engine||Yahoo!||Default HTTPS-only||Yahoo! Search makes HTTPS-only the default. The change is initially rolled out on yahoo.com, but is expected to be rolled out to other regions as well.|
|2014||January||Website||YouTube||Some move to HTTPS||YouTube begins sending traffic over HTTPS, significantly increasing the volume of traffic sent on the web via HTTPS. By September 2014, 50% of YouTube traffic would be sent via HTTPS.|
|2014||March 5||CDN||Amazon CloudFront||SNI custom SSL, HTTPS redirection||Amazon CloudFront announces support for customers to use their own SSL certificates through the implementation of Server Name Indication, as well as HTTP to HTTPS redirection (via 301 redirect).|
|2014||July 29||App||Default HTTPS-only||In response to reports about a zero-day security vulnerability, Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger reveals that the app is being moved over to HTTPS, with some parts of the app already 100% HTTPS.|
|2014||August 6||Search ranking||Google Search||HTTPS boost||Google announces search results will give preference to sites using HTTPS. This added ranking signal would be a "lightweight" ranking boost.|
|2014||September 8||Website||Opt-in HTTPS-only||Reddit gives logged-in users the option of using the site purely on HTTPS.|
|2014||November 18||Certificate authority||Let's Encrypt||Free HTTPS certificates||Let's Encrypt, a certificate authority service that can issue HTTPS certificates for three months for free (with some limitations on the types of certificate and the conditions under which certificates can be issued), is publicly announced. The service would issue its first certificate on September 14, 2015, and leave beta on April 12, 2016.|
|2014||December 18||Browser||Chrome||Security warning||Google Chrome announces its intention of adding warnings for users visiting non-HTTPS websites. More details are announced in late January 2015.|
|2015||January 18||Report/Observatory||HTTPSWatch||State of HTTPS adoption||The oldest Internet Archive snapshot of HTTPSWatch appears to be on this date. The snapshot says that it is inspired by Alex Gaynor's blog posts that were published in November and December 2014, so it is likely to be pretty close to the actual start date.|
|2015||February||Browser||Chrome||HTTP/2||Chrome begins rolling out support for HTTP/2. Chrome supports HTTP/2 only over HTTPS, even though the standard allows for HTTP/2 outside of HTTPS (through the selective use of encryption).|
|2015||March 12||Website/App||Default HTTPS-only||Pinterest announces that it has moved over to HTTPS, describing the challenges it faced along the way. With the increased security in place due to HTTPS, Pinterest also introduces a paid bug bounty program for the white hat hacker community to find security flaws.|
|2015||March 25||Ecosystem||Advertising||Exhortation||Writing for the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), Brendan Riordan-Butterworth calls for the advertising ecosystem to move to HTTPS.|
|2015||April 13||Browser||Firefox||Security warning||Mozilla announces plans to deprecate plain HTTP in their browser, Firefox.|
|2015||June 8||Website||United States government||Default HTTPS-only||The White House Office of Management and Budget issues the HTTPS-Only Standard directive requiring that all United States federal government websites provide service only via HTTPS, with a deadline of end of 2016.|
|2015||June 12||Website||Wikipedia||Default HTTPS-only||The Wikimedia Foundation publishes a blog post stating that all properties (including Wikipedia) are being switched over to HTTPS; previously, HTTPS was used only for logged-in users. It seems the switch is being made immediately.|
|2015||June||Search engine||Bing||Default HTTPS-only||Microsoft announces that it will make HTTPS-only the default on Bing, its search engine.|
|2015||June||Website||Default HTTPS-only||Reddit switches to HTTPS-only, with users being automatically redirected from HTTP to HTTPS.|
|2015||June 30 (deadline), April 17 (announcement)||Ad network||Google AdWords||HTTPS availability||As part of Google's HTTPS Everywhere initiative, Google AdWords announces, on April 17, some of it progress already made on moving ads to HTTPS (specifically, moving YouTube ads to HTTPS). Also, it is stated that the vast majority of mobile, video, and desktop display ads served to the Google Display Network, AdMob and DoubleClick publishers will be encrypted by June 30, and advertisers using any of the buying platforms, including AdWords and DoubleClick, will be able to serve HTTPS-encrypted display ads to all HTTPS-enabled inventory.|
|2015||October 14||Browser||Chrome||Mixed-content||With version 46, Chrome kills off its HTTP-HTTPS "mixed-content" address bar warning. Now, HTTPS pages that load some auxiliary resources (such as images, calls to ad networks, etc.) over HTTP will say https in the address bar without the secure lock or green coloring. The change is based on the idea that mixed HTTP-HTTPS is in fact more secure than pure HTTP, and therefore should not appear scarier, and is intended to "encourage site operators to switch to HTTPS sooner rather than later."|
|2016||February||Website||Wikipedia||Referrer policy||The Wikimedia Foundation rolls out an update to the HTTPS meta referrer policy, that reveals the Origin rather than the full path of the referring domain. This means that websites that receive traffic from Wikipedia can once again calculate how much traffic they are receiving from Wikipedia, an ability that was lost in the switch to HTTPS. However, unlike the pre-HTTPS situation, full referral paths are not accessible, so websites cannot know what Wikipedia pages are sending traffic to them. For more, see Research:Wikimedia referrer policy.|
|2016||March 15||Report/Observatory||Google Transparency Report||State of HTTPS adoption||Google announces that it is adding a new section to its Transparency Report to track the progress of HTTPS adoption.|
|2016||March 23||Google provides a list of certificate authorities it does not trust.|
|2016||June 15||Website||TechCrunch||Default HTTPS-only||Technology new website TechCrunch announces that it has gone HTTPS-only.|
|2016||August 1||Website||YouTube||State of HTTPS adoption||YouTube announces that it serves 97% of traffic over HTTPS.|
|2016||August||Website||Netflix||Default HTTPS-only||Netflix announces that it is adding TLS encryption to all its video streams, and expects to finish the process by year-end.|
|2016||August 25||Report/Observatory||Mozilla||State of HTTPS adoption||Mozilla, the organization that manages the Firefox browser, creates the Mozilla Observatory to track the web and its security. Among other things, this tracks the state of HTTPS adoption.|
|2017||January 10||Website||New York Times||Default HTTPS-only||The New York Times announces that it has made a number of its articles default to HTTPS, including the home page, section and topic pages, and all articles published 2014 or later, and that it plans to make the rest of its site HTTPS as well.|
|2017||January||Browser||Chrome||Security warning||With version 56, Google Chrome begins marking as "Not Secure" (in the address bar) any webpages collecting sensitive data such as passwords or credit-card information without using HTTPS.|
|2017||March 30||Website||Pornhub||Default HTTPS-only||Pornhub, the world's largest pornographic video site, switches to HTTPS-only. Sister service YouPorn is scheduled to go HTTPS-only on April 4.|
|2017||May 22||Website||Stack Overflow||Default HTTPS-only||Stack Overflow announces that it has migrated to HTTPS, after four years of work on the migration. All other Stack Exchange websites are also moved over to HTTPS.|
|2017||September 13||Website||Imgur||Default HTTPS-only||Image-hosting service Imgur defaults to HTTPS-only for all users (both logged-in and others).|
|2017||October||Browser||Chrome||Security warning||Starting with version 62, Chrome begins marking all non-HTTPS webpages as "Not Secure" for users in incognito mode.|
|2017||Report||Research at Google||State of HTTPS adoption||Research at Google publishes a paper titled Measuring HTTPS adoption on the web.|
|2017||Standard||TLS 1.3||Protocol||The standard for TLS 1.3 is under discussion, but not finalized. Browsers support it for a while as the default but then stop due to issues. See w:Transport Layer Security#TLS_1.3_.28draft.29 for more.|
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