As of today, the site is now secured with Let’s Encrypt again. The old site the cert had expired for, and since I planned to migrate it to Jekyll and a new server, I didn’t bother renewing (hence the expired cert for a while).
Also, I have configured Disqus comments for the site again. Old comments have been removed, and this is a fresh start from that perspective. The reason for Disqus is it allows comments from users that have actually activated their accounts which helps with both spam and bots. Also, Disqus is pracitaclly the defacto standard for comments on blogs these days. It is a great system, and definitely saves from the need to reinvent the wheel. Additionally, rather than users that comment needing to join each blog they visit to comment, Disqus allows for a centralized account.
In regards to Let’s Encrypt (https://letsencrypt.org/), it is also a fantastic system. In the old days, certifcates for SSL/TLS were a pain in the ass to say the least. You had to have your own dedicated IP address on your host (more money), you had to usually have a special hosting package (more money) if you didn’t have a VPS, and you had to pay for the certificate (usually lots more money). Let’s Encrypt changes all of that, well mostly anyway. For starters virtual private servers (VPS) are very cheap these days. For example Digital Ocean (https://www.digitalocean.com/) who I host through, is another great company. A base droplet (server) costs about $5 per month. While you have to configure everything yourself, something I prefer to do anyway, it is a fantastic alternative to a big hosting company. This is not to say that big hosting is a bad way to go, for the non server-savvy user, it is definitely the safer course of action.
Back to Let’s Encrypt, they provide FREE (yes free as in beer) SSL/TLS certificates! Their goal is to allow every site to be secured even if they do not need the advanced proof of identity that some industries require from their certificates. This allows sites that are entirely non-profit (such as this blog) to secure the connections of their visitors for no additional cost. Another great aspect of Let’s Encrypt is they make it super simple to use, especially if you have a VPS. I believe it was three commands I had to run to secure the site.