I have been living under a rock for sometime, so far as web-dev is concerned. My day job keeps me busy and the rest of the time is for family. Learned a couple of new tech stuff in the meantime but didn’t follow the news. And I paid the price.
In mid-2012, ICANN announced its intention to release dot-word gTLDs to the world. This means you are no more restricted to use .com, .org, .co.uk, .in among handful of other gTLDs. You can now own .yourcompany or .bank or any other gTLD you may like. The catch is it must be available to general public. That is, if the domain is not wholly owned. What this means is that huge multinational giants can buy a gTLD, for several million dollars, only for themselves. Like, .google. It is wholly owned by Google.
So far so good. And here I am with my local development setup running Vagrant. One of the very few nice things about Vagrant is its ability to run several “sites” inside the same machine. These sites can be accessed from local machine using fancy domain names. These domain names can be configured in
So, I was running
local.dev with no ssl certificate. For my pet-project, I needed traffic over https. I quickly created a self-signed certificate using openssl and configured the site to accept traffic over port 443 (for ssl).
To my surprise, I found that
https://local.dev was not accessible from any major browser. Having spent the next couple of hours trying to fix the issue, I was about to give up hope, until I found the real issue — .dev gTLDs are owned by Google and they implement HTTP Strict Transport Security which prevents use of self-signed ssl certificates.
This is a bit of disappointment as well as shock at my end. For several years, developers around the world relied on using .dev domains for local development. I knew at least 5 people back in 2010 who used .dev (I am sure they have moved to other local domains, having heard about this issue, unlike me). Not only Google is at faults here, but ICANN’s decision to let corporations have full control over a certain gTLD is against the spirit of unrestricted nature of the Internet.