Securing your MyBB forums with HTTPS

The Web has been using encrypted WWW connections for over two decades now. First used by entities processing critical information on the Internet like banks and online shops, https:// is progressively becoming the protocol an everyday user would expect as of 2016: the Google Transparency Report shows that the average number of page loads over HTTPS has exceeded 50%, similarly to telemetry data trends from Mozilla, aided by Let’s Encrypt, a new certificate authority issuing free certificates since April.

With the dependency on Internet communications heavier than ever, simple and common mistakes often result in leaks and breaches that endanger not only the security or integrity of services, but also the privacy of their users: passwords, real names, locations, e-mail and IP addresses, browsing patterns and other personally identifiable information. Even static websites receive such data and the argument of not expecting to process sensitive information is not valid.

TLS has exactly one performance problem: it is not used widely enough.
Everything else can be optimized.

The range of possible attacks on unsecured websites is broad and you may not always be aware of the risks of providing and using websites using the unencrypted version of HTTP. Simply launching a rogue Wi-Fi hotspot in a public place can allow anyone to intercept raw traffic without much hassle. Similarly, Internet service providers and mobile network operators can allow governments to put their hands (however tiny they might be — the governments, of course) on your data regardless of intent or permissions, be forced to do so by the law or have their communications eavesdropped by passive interception of traffic.

Besides protecting services and people, upgrading the protocol has many upsides — the new HTTP/2, increasing the speed of web connections, is available only when used with encryption; using HTTPS, Google will prioritize your website in the search results. Encrypted transmissions mean that nobody will be able to manipulate your pages to inject malware or own ads, which is often the case with public access points or airplane connections. In order to push the adoption of encryption, major browsers will start notifying users of the dangers resulting from using unsecured websites. MyBB is proud to support this movement of creating a faster and safer web.

Chrome for Android UI's HTTPS indication

Secure connection to the Community forums — so claims Chrome for Android

The HTTPS setup tools are being constantly improved and the process is getting easier and faster, moreover you can find numerous guides and tutorials for different platforms and scripts. What’s been missing though, is a list of steps specific to MyBB because not every board administrator is experienced enough to make use of instructions that are either very generalized or very specific — for scripts other than ours.
Having jumped into the rabbit hole of technical details of securing our project’s websites and climbed back (which we’ll shed light on soon!), we created a comprehensive guidebook on enabling HTTPS that covers the most vital aspects of securing boards you manage.
We strongly recommend all webmasters and administrators upgrade their installations if they’re not running on HTTPS yet as soon as possible and encourage to consider the security and privacy of their users with utmost importance: every secured location makes a difference in today’s interconnected web.

Setting up HTTPS — MyBB Documentation →

2 thoughts on “Securing your MyBB forums with HTTPS

  1. How do we prevent users from using http links in their posts. Do not tell me I must tell them not to. We have 13k members with thousands of posts per day it would be impossible to prevent mixed content manually. Is there a way to automatically do this, .htaccess perhaps? I am referring to any and all links posted in a thread not just images and avatars.

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