This page answers frequently-asked questions about EFF's HTTPS Everywhere project. If your question isn't answered below, you can try the resources listed here.
- What is DuckDuckGo Smarter Encryption? Do I have to do anything as a user?
- What if HTTPS Everywhere breaks some site that I use?
- Why is HTTPS Everywhere preventing me from joining this hotel/school/other wireless network?
- Will there be a version of HTTPS Everywhere for Microsoft Edge, Safari, or some other browser?
- How do I get rid of/move the HTTPS Everywhere button in the toolbar?
- When does HTTPS Everywhere protect me? When does it not protect me?
- What does HTTPS Everywhere protect me against?
- How do I get support for an additional site in HTTPS Everywhere?
- What if the site doesn't support HTTPS, or only supports it for some activities, like entering credit card information?
- Why should I use HTTPS Everywhere instead of just typing https:// at the beginning of site names?
- Why does HTTPS Everywhere include rules for sites like PayPal that already require HTTPS on all their pages?
- What do the different colors of the HTTPS Everywhere icon mean?
- I'm having a problem installing the browser extension.
- Why is HTTPS Everywhere asking for my website data?
- How do I uninstall/remove HTTPS Everywhere?
- How do I add my own site to HTTPS Everywhere?
- Can I help translate HTTPS Everywhere into my own language?
- Now that Firefox 83 includes a new HTTPS-Only Mode, should I continue using HTTPS Everywhere?
- Is HTTPS Everywhere still useful with DNS over HTTPS (DoH) enabled?
What is DuckDuckGo Smarter Encryption? Do I have to do anything as a user?
HTTPS Everywhere now uses the DuckDuckGo Smarter Encryption, which provides wider coverage of HTTPS by providing a much larger list of domains through the extension. We also cross check with the Majestic Million list of sites to leverage an optimized set of domains.
More detail about Smarter Encryption can be found here: https://spreadprivacy.com/duckduckgo-smarter-encryption/.
As a user, you won't have to do anything to reflect this change. For more information: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2021/04/https-everywhere-now-uses-duckduckgos-smarter-encryption
What if HTTPS Everywhere breaks some site that I use?
This is occasionally possible because of inconsistent support for HTTPS on sites (e.g., when a site seems to support HTTPS access but makes a few, unpredictable, parts of the site unavailable in HTTPS). If you report the problem to us, we can try to fix it. In the meantime, you can disable the rule affecting that particular site in your own copy of HTTPS Everywhere by clicking on the HTTPS Everywhere toolbar button and unchecking the rule for that site.
You can also report the problem to the site, since they have the power to fix it!
Why is HTTPS Everywhere preventing me from joining this hotel/school/other wireless network?
Will there be a version of HTTPS Everywhere for Microsoft Edge, Safari, or some other browser?
As of July 2020, this is under review due to recent announcements.
As of January 2020. HTTPS Everywhere has been released into the Microsoft Edge store.
Default HTTPS in Browsers
With the web becoming increasingly encrypted, we have a post explaining the importance of HTTPS Everywhere in today's current landscape.
Read more here: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/12/how-https-everywhere-keeps-protecting-users-increasingly-encrypted-web
How do I get rid of/move the HTTPS Everywhere button in the toolbar?
The HTTPS Everywhere button is useful because it allows you to see, and disable, a ruleset if it happens to be causing problems with a site.
But if you'd rather disable it, you can right-click and the option to "remove from toolbar" or "unpin" should be present.
When does HTTPS Everywhere protect me? When does it not protect me?
HTTPS Everywhere protects you only when you are using encrypted portions of supported web sites. On a supported site, it will automatically activate HTTPS encryption for all known supported parts of the site (for some sites, this might be only a portion of the entire site). For example, if your web mail provider does not support HTTPS at all, HTTPS Everywhere can't make your access to your web mail secure. Similarly, if a site allows HTTPS for text but not images, someone might be able to see which images your browser loads and guess what you're accessing.
HTTPS Everywhere depends entirely on the security features of the individual web sites that you use; it activates those security features, but it can't create them if they don't already exist. If you use a site not supported by HTTPS Everywhere or a site that provides some information in an insecure way, HTTPS Everywhere can't provide additional protection for your use of that site. Please remember to check that a particular site's security is working to the level you expect before sending or receiving confidential information, including passwords.
One way to determine what level of protection you're getting when using a particular site is to use a packet-sniffing tool like Wireshark to record your own communications with the site. The resulting view of your communications is about the same as what an eavesdropper on your wifi network or at your ISP would see. This way, you can determine whether some or all of your communications would be protected; however, it may be quite time-consuming to make sense of the Wireshark output with enough care to get a definitive answer.
You can also turn on the "Encrypt All Sites Eligible" feature for added protection. Instead of loading insecure pages or images, HTTPS Everywhere will block them outright.
What does HTTPS Everywhere protect me against?
On supported parts of supported sites, HTTPS Everywhere enables the sites' HTTPS protection which can protect you against eavesdropping and tampering with the contents of the site or with the information you send to the site. Ideally, this provides some protection against an attacker learning the content of the information flowing in each direction for instance, the text of e-mail messages you send or receive through a webmail site, the products you browse or purchase on an e-commerce site, or the particular articles you read on a reference site.
However, HTTPS Everywhere does not conceal the identities of the sites you access, the amount of time you spend using them, or the amount of information you upload or download from a particular site. For example, if you access
http://www.eff.org/issues/nsa-spying and HTTPS Everywhere rewrites it to
https://www.eff.org/issues/nsa-spying, an eavesdropper can still trivially recognize that you are accessing www.eff.org (but might not know which issue you are reading about). In general, the entire hostname part of the URL remains exposed to the eavesdropper because this must be sent repeatedly in unencrypted form while setting up the connection. Another way of saying this is that HTTPS was never designed to conceal the identity of the sites that you visit.
Researchers have also shown that it may be possible for someone to figure out more about what you're doing on a site merely through careful observation of the amount of data you upload and download, or the timing patterns of your use of the site. A simple example is that if the site only has one page of a certain total size, anyone downloading exactly that much data from the site is probably accessing that page.
If you want to protect yourself against monitoring of the sites you visit, consider using HTTPS Everywhere together with software like Tor.
How do I get support for an additional site in HTTPS Everywhere?
You can learn how to write rules that teach HTTPS Everywhere to support new sites. You can add these rules in your own browser (under "see more" in HTTPS Everywhere menu > "Add a rule for this site") or send them to us for possible inclusion in the official version.
What if the site doesn't support HTTPS, or only supports it for some activities, like entering credit card information?
You could try to contact the site and point out that using HTTPS for all site features is an increasingly common practice nowadays and protects users (and sites) against a variety of Internet attacks. For instance, it defends against the ability of other people on a wifi network to spy on your use of the site or even take over your account. You can also point out that credit card numbers aren't the only information you consider private or sensitive.
Why should I use HTTPS Everywhere instead of just typing https:// at the beginning of site names?
Even if you normally type https://, HTTPS Everywhere might protect you if you occasionally forget. Also, it can rewrite other people's links that you follow. For instance, if you click on a link to
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EFF_Pioneer_Award, HTTPS Everywhere will automatically rewrite the link to
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EFF_Pioneer_Award. Thus, you might get some protection even if you wouldn't have noticed that the target site is available in HTTPS.
Why does HTTPS Everywhere include rules for sites like PayPal that already require HTTPS on all their pages?
HTTPS Everywhere, like the HSTS spec, tries to address an attack called SSL stripping. Users are only protected against the SSL stripping attack if their browsers don't even try to connect to the HTTP version of the site even if the site would have redirected them to the HTTPS version. With HTTPS Everywhere, the browser won't even attempt the insecure HTTP connection, even if that's what you ask it to do. (Note that HTTPS Everywhere currently does not include a comprehensive list of such sites, which are mainly financial institutions.)
What do the different colors of the HTTPS Everywhere icon mean?
The colors are:
Blue: HTTPS Everywhere is both enabled and active in loading resources in the current page.
Red: All unencrypted requests will be blocked by HTTPS Everywhere. Also known as "EASE (Encrypt All Sites Eligible) Mode".
Gray: HTTPS Everywhere is disabled.
I'm having a problem installing the browser extension.
Some people report that installing HTTPS Everywhere gives them the error: "The addon could not be downloaded because of a connection failure on www.eff.org." This may be caused by Avast anti-virus, which blocks installation of browser extensions. You may be able to install from addons.mozilla.org instead.
Why is HTTPS Everywhere asking for my website data?
We need to access requests for http+https+ftp. Firefox and Chrome decided it was sensible to ask the user for "website data", which in this context means your requests to pages. So HTTPS Everywhere can properly upgrade the request to an encrypted one. This can be misconstrued often and we wish the permissions prompt would clarify this. You're appropriately concerned when seeing this prompt. Since we intercept requests to see if they are insecure or have any other issues, that is included in what entails "website data" according to their permissions guidelines. We do not intercept and store data for credit cards, passwords, or any other sensitive information.
The permissions we ask, are for properly routing insecure requests:
- webNavigtion: Properly switch extension state
- webRequest: Secure network traffic, upgrade insecure requests, and error handling
- webRequestBlocking: The permission to block requests is required for blocking HTTP requests in EASE (Encrypt All Sites Eligible) mode.
- cookies: Cookies (small data chunks sent with each request) supports a flag to send them only over TLS connections. Cookies are used for managing sessions on top of stateless HTTP to allow things like logging into a website, store preferences or tracking. This permission is required to set the flag to sent cookies only via TLS if the server does not set it by itself.
- storage: Properly convey extensions state and load proper user created rules
- Host Permission: domain matches
- tabs: Properly convey extensions state and load proper user created rules per tab
How do I uninstall/remove HTTPS Everywhere?
In Firefox: Click the menu button in the top right of the window at the end of the toolbar (it looks like three horizontal lines) > click "Add-ons" (it looks like a puzzle piece) > scroll until you see HTTPS Everywhere > Click the 3 dot menu at the top right of the extension > Click "Remove".You can then safely close the Add-ons tab.
In Chrome: Click the menu button in the top right of the window at the end of the toolbar (it looks like three vertical dots) then click "Settings" near the bottom. On the left, click "Extensions". Scroll until you see HTTPS Everywhere, and then click "Remove" button, and then confirm removal with the popup dialog box. You can then safely close the Settings tab.
How do I add my own site to HTTPS Everywhere?
We're excited that you want your site in HTTPS Everywhere! However, remember that not everyone who visits your site has our extension installed. If you run a web site, you can make it default to HTTPS for everyone, not just HTTPS Everywhere users. And it's less work! The steps you should take, in order, are:
- Set up a redirect from HTTP to HTTPS on your site.
- Add the Strict-Transport-Security (HSTS) header on your site.
- Add your site to the HSTS Preload list.
These steps will give your site much better protection than adding it to HTTPS Everywhere. Generally speaking, once you are done, there is no need to add your site to HTTPS Everywhere. However, if you would still like to, please follow the instructions on writing rulesets, and indicate that you are the author of the web site when you submit your pull request.
Can I help translate HTTPS Everywhere into my own language?
We are reviewing our process around translations and currently discussing ways to improve. Translations are still processed under the same entity and those who have an account already, do not need to take action at this time. Thank you for your contributions.
Is HTTPS Everywhere still useful with DNS over HTTPS (DoH) enabled?
Absolutely. The Domain Name System (DNS) looks up a site’s IP address when you type the site’s name into your browser. A DNS request occurs before the site’s server connection is made; DoH occurs at this layer. After the DNS request has been made, the connection to the site’s server is next. That is where HTTPS Everywhere comes in: it is able to secure your traffic to the requested site.
DNS request = request for I.P. site’s address
HTTP request = request communication with site's server/website content
DoH & HTTPS = encrypted request for site’s I.P. & encrypted request with site's server/website content respectively
Now that Firefox 83 includes a new HTTPS-Only Mode, should I continue using HTTPS Everywhere?
Ultimately, the project's goal is to not be needed in major browsers once they make HTTPS the default! That said, due to the longevity of the extension, we have some features that are a little more granular. Features like being able to have a list of sites you can make exempt permanently, update channels that host not only HTTPS Everywhere rulesets but others as well, and the ability to add user based rules from the menu. There may be some redundancy in the future having both the extension and HTTPS-Only on at the same time, and it's up to the user what feels more beneficial. A potential way to "have both" would be to turn EASE mode off and leave HTTPS-Only Mode on. That way major conflicts won't interrupt your experience and you can still utilize HTTP Everywhere's rulesets. This is a new and welcome feature in Firefox, so we are still watching for any potential conflicts that could disrupt user experience.