I finally bit the bullet: I put this site on SSL.
I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, though my motives have been a bit unclear unless I count Internet street cred. The idea is to be able to use HTTPS rather than the HTTP protocol, where the “S” at the end stands for “secure:” the connection between my server and your browser is encrypted (using SSL, or TLS for the pedantic), in a way that keeps the data transfered between them secret, while also verifying that the data source is actually me. This comes in handy if we don’t want third parties snooping on our connection, or modifying the data by adding malware or advertisements. I’m not sure how much those are real problems for my little blog, but all the cool kids are moving to HTTPS so I guess I’d better do it as well.
The process was a bit time consuming, but it turned out to be easier and more straightforward than I thought it would be. The verification is done via a cryptographically-signed “certificate” from an already-trusted source (a certificate authority), and getting a certificate — for free — from a trusted source was the hardest part of the process — but even counting my learning curve (but not my fretting/waffling), getting and installing the certificate took all of 10 minutes. There were a few more hoops to jump through with my host (another 10 minutes, plus more waffling), but cPanel did most of the work, and now it’s done: my site communicates via the secure HTTPS protocol, redirecting from HTTP if necessary. You can see the green lock up in the address bar, which indicates the secure connection.
Now you can enjoy my site, knowing that it truly is me, talking to you, in secret…