letsencrypt.com changes the Internet forever!

letsencrypt.com changes the Internet forever!

Last week SpaceX changed space flight forever by launching, and then subsequently landing, a 15 story tall booster rocket on a moving platform in the ocean.  In a similar (but less dramatic) launch, letsencrypt.com has changed the Internet forever by offering free SSL certificates for everyone! SSL is the protocol that encrypts web traffic between your web browser and websites, making it a lot harder for the bad guys to listen in and steal your data. Let’s Encrypt is a non profit foundation funded by many of the biggest names in technology and their goal is to encrypt all web traffic.  To achieve this goal, Let’s Encrypt offers SSL certificates for free to anyone who asks. The process for getting the free certs is 100% automated with free tools available on Git Hub.  Back in the day, getting SSL certs was expensive and tedious so it is a welcomed pleasure to easily deploy certs for free to all our clients. Outside Open has committed to converting all the sites we manage to SSL by the end of Q2, 2016....
Apple will speed up your home or work network for $20

Apple will speed up your home or work network for $20

Even if your company (or home) doesn’t officially support Apple devices, it’s likely that there are dozens of BYOD Apple devices (BYOAD?) on the network.  When a new OS update or patch is released, all those devices clamor for bandwidth which can have a big impact on your Internet connection. Apple has released a fantastic tool that seamlessly supports all Apple devices on a network, even if they are totally unmanaged BYOD iPhones, MacBooks or iMacs:  Enter the OS X Server app available for $19.99 from the App Store! This is also a great tool in areas where bandwidth is metered or limited – updates or apps are downloaded and cached the first time they are requested and then all future devices that attempt to install that same update or app from the App Store will receive a copy from your local caching server. See the video below demonstrating the massive speed increase downloading a 6GB Mac OS X upgrade from a caching server in under 1 minute! How to set up caching in the OS X Server app Install the OS X Server app on a Mac that is likely to be powered on 24×7. Open the app and select local computer. Scroll down to the Services menu and click on enable Caching. Toggle the service to ON. Set Cache Size to a number that makes sense given available disk space.  80GB – 100GB is recommended. Permissions (this is really powerful) For most simple networks the default of “only local subnets” and “matching this server’s network” are perfect. If you use VLANs with a single outbound NAT IP, select “all networks” and “matching this server’s network”....
The importance of SSL and SEO

The importance of SSL and SEO

Google is constantly making improvements and tweaks to their ranking algorithm (which affects the order of search results) but occasionally, the changes are far more substantial than just a little tweak.  Read on as we focus on two of these major changes: #1 – Is access to your website encrypted with SSL? A substantial change to Google’s ranking algorithm is their focus on improving security across the web by rewarding SSL encrypted web sites with higher rankings. SSL is an inexpensive, painless feature to implement. With SSL in place, you will see a little green padlock icon next to the website address in your browser. For example, see the padlock when you browse to http://google.com. Some organizations take this one step further and opt for an Extended Validation SSL certification (EV Cert) which shows your company name and is often used by banks and other security minded organizations.  We have noticed that as more sites respond to Google’s changes, the lead time for an EV Cert is increasing – get started ASAP if you wish to implement and EV Cert. Studies have also show that having an EV Cert has been shown to increase conversions. All websites hosted and managed by Outside Open will be converted to SSL free of charge as part of your monthly hosting.  Contact us if your site hasn’t been upgraded yet and we’ll move you up the queue. Use this fantastic and free utility from Qualys SSL Labs to test your website’s SSL security status.     #2 – Is your site Mobile Friendly? In April 2015, Google announced that webpage search results would now be ranked based on mobile-friendliness. In other words, if your website is...
pfSense Multisite Backup Tool

pfSense Multisite Backup Tool

pfSense is a secure and proven open source firewall.  As we grow, we find ourselves managing more and more pfSense firewalls across our client base. pfMb is a utility that we have created to automatically backup multiple pfSense firewalls easily and securely.  pfMb can be configured to run on any interval and will keep as many previous backup as you would like.  In case of hardware failure or a bad config, simply restore a previous version from backup and you’ll be up and running in short order. The script is secure and will only connect via SSH using SSH key authentication instead of passwords.  We use pfMb on Mac and Linux but it should work on any *nix under bash. We have release pfMb as open source software under the GPL 2.0 license.  You can download the latest version of pfMb over at GitHub…  enjoy!...
Set up your Mac Step 1 – Install Homebrew!

Set up your Mac Step 1 – Install Homebrew!

There are two fantastic tools to install on you new Mac: After you install iTerm2,  it’s time to install Homebrew! Homebrew is a package manager  – think apt-get for OS X.  It is trivial to install and instantly gives you access to thousands of open source tools and utilities. According to the creators of Homebrew, “Homebrew installs the stuff you need that Apple didn’t.” Visit http://brew.sh right now to get started! Top 10 (or more) useful Homebrew tools to get you started. (Paste this list into your terminal once you get Homebrew installed.) brew install git brew install wget brew install nmap brew install ncftp brew install lynx brew install iftop brew install suricata brew install ccze brew install ansible brew install mtr brew install ssh-copy-id brew install autossh Enjoy! Screenshot showing Homebrew installing mtr on Mac OS X. (mtr is a fun and useful ICMP tool which combines ping and traceroute into a realtime display of packet loss across all the path entries returned by...
Tools to install on your new Mac, Part 1: iTerm2

Tools to install on your new Mac, Part 1: iTerm2

So you just picked up a shiny new MacBook Pro or giant iMac, got your web browser installed, what’s next? There are two fantastic tools that you need to add next: iTerm2 and Homebrew. iTerm2 is a replacement for the Terminal application that comes with OS X.  iTerm2 has some great features like auto updates, unlimited history, mouseless copy, instant replay and tabs but far and above the best feature is the ability to split panes! Split panes allows you to divide your single iTerm2 terminal window both vertically and horizontally. You could split your terminal into a veritable Fibonacci spiral – it is that awesome! To split your terminal vertically: Command + shift + D To split your terminal horizontally: Command + D This allows you to cram all your active sessions onto the same screen, making good use of that giant glossy real estate! Enjoy! #nerdlife Screenshot of iTerm2 in the classic Fibonacci spiral...