How To Fix the “HSTS Missing from HTTPS Server” Error?

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HSTS Missing from HTTPS Server Error

It is widely accepted that HTTPS is far more secure than HTTP. But if you notice the indication “HSTS missing from HTTPS server,” this protocol may be leaving your website at risk.

The good news is that it is simple to fix this significant security flaw. Any website that switches from HTTP to HTTPS is susceptible to this attack, even if you haven’t seen this error message. As a result, it makes sense to address this weakness now and be proactive.

This article will explain what the “HSTS missing from HTTP server” issue means and why any HTTPS redirection website should be highly concerned about it. Then, in five simple steps, we’ll show you how to resolve this issue and stop the hackers.

What is “HSTS Missing from HTTP Server” Error?

The missing HSTS response header and command from the web server’s response causes the error and alert “HTTPS Server Missing HSTS” or “Missing HSTS.” End-to-end secure online surfing and website sessions are offered to users by HSTS.

Users’ privacy and online security are at risk when HSTS is missing. Websites protect users by redirecting them from HTTP to HTTPS. A user may inadvertently use an HTTP link through copying and pasting or manual typing. Users of HTTP URLs risk being subjected to online security threats, including Secure Sockets Layer Stripping and Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks.

An intruder who uses the MITM can send visitors to a fake website to get user data. Moreover, HSTS stops hackers from stealing data and stops these kinds of attacks. Hence, Missing HSTS Warning and Error is essential for online security and SEO.

Another exploit known as “cookie hijacking” allows hackers to take control of a session cookie over an unprotected connection. These cookies may hold confidential data, such as payment card numbers, passwords, and usernames.

We advise turning on HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) to defend your visitors from these threats. This protocol compels the browser to load your website via HTTPS and overlook direct requests.

The Reasons for Using the HSTS Protocol

HSTS is a web security protocol and server directive. HSTS specifies guidelines for user agents and web browsers on handling connections for a website operating over HTTPS. These guidelines were provided by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in RFC 6797.

Recommended: What is HSTS Certificate and How to Enable It?

Your site may occasionally be flagged as “missing HSTS” or “HTTP Strict Transport Security” headers by an IT security check. This issue indicates that your website is not employing HSTS, implying that your HTTPS redirects could endanger users.

This vulnerability is categorized as medium-risk. Nonetheless, it’s very prevalent and offers attackers easy pickings. You must fix this mistake if you run across it.

You may compel your website to load over the HTTPS protocol using the HSTS security header in your server configuration. By doing this, you can defend your website from protocol assaults and cookie hijacking. Your site could load faster byeliminating a redirect during the loading process.

You may compel your website to load over the HTTPS protocol by using the HSTS security header in your server configuration. By doing this, you can defend your website from protocol assaults and cookie hijacking. Your site could load faster because of perhaps eliminating a redirect during the loading process.

It’s possible that you are still worried about HSTS even though you haven’t experienced this issue. You may use a tool like Security Headers to scan your website and find out if HSTS is enabled. All you must do is type the URL of your website and select Scan.

All the applied headers will be shown in the Headers section after Security Headers has checked your website. You know your website is secure if Strict-Transport-Security appears.

What Risks are associated with the Error “HSTS Missing from HTTPS Server”?

The following is a list of risks associated with the HSTS Missing from the HTTPS Server issue.

Cookie Hijacking:

Using an HTTP connection, a hacker can take advantage of cookies while a user is visiting a website. Additionally, usernames, passwords, and other crucial private user data can be found in cookies.

MITM:

HSTS MISSING FROM HTTPS SERVER issues can lead to man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks. Furthermore, hackers can divert visitors from an HTTP URL to a clone website to obtain their data.

The HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security) response header should be used by a website that switches from HTTP to HTTPS to prevent these kinds of missing HSTS error threats.

Essential Ideas for Recognizing and Resolving HTTPS Server HSTS Missing

Lack of HSTS from an HTTP Server is a concern for user privacy, search engine optimization, and site security.

The response headers can be changed to remedy the HTTP Server error “Missing HSTS.”

To protect website visitors who are first-time HSTS users, Google maintains an HSTS Preload List.

It is essential to comprehend response headers, online security concerns, user agents, web browsers, web servers, and HTTPS Strict Transport Security principles to diagnose and resolve the Missing HSTS Error.

Redirecting from HTTP to HTTPS 301 is connected to missing HSTS from the HTTP server.

Session cookie hijacking and man-in-the-middle attacks are prevented when the HTTP server’s HSTS is missing.

The Missing HSTS from Web Server Errors could be fixed using SEO crawlers, Response Header Audit tools, & Manual Audits from Chrome DevTools.

How Can I Fix the HTTP Server Error HSTS Missing?

Use the five procedures listed below to resolve the HSTS Missing from the HTTP Server issue.

  • Before adding the HTTP Transport Security Header, entirely back up your website.
  • Utilize a 301 Status Code HTTP to HTTPS Redirect.
  • Increase the Web Server’s HSTS Header to Compulsorily Use HTTPS
  • Include the website in the Google HSTS Preload List for security.
  • Check and Verify the Website’s HSTS Header.

1. Before Adding the HTTP Transport Security Header, Back up your Website

A website’s web server configuration has to be modified to implement HSTS and HTTP Strict Transport Security. A website backup must be made to protect against potential web server change errors.

By appending a response header such as “Strict-Transport-Security,” the backup offers protection against potential data loss. An automated weekly backup or a manual server backup could be used to create a complete website backup before adding HSTS to the web server.

For HSTS addition and website complete backup, use cPanel or equivalent hosting setup tools for web servers.

2. Utilize a 301 Status Code HTTP to HTTPS Redirect

The website needs an SSL certificate and an HTTPS connection to use HSTS. A website cannot be accessed using HSTS if its SSL certificate is invalid. To install an SSL certificate for an Always-on SSL certificate, a website, or a Cloudflare CDN service.

Because company-level SSL certificates add relevance to trustworthiness, they improve users’ and potential search engine algorithm confidence.

However, any valid SSL certificate with a valid CRT or CER is sufficient to use HSTS.

server {
listen 80;
server_name example-domain.com www.example-domain.com;
return 301 https://example-domain.com$request_uri;
}

Use the code block below to reroute all HTTP connections to HTTPS so WordPress websites can use the HSTS.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} !=on
RewriteRule ^(.*)$
https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301,NE]

3. Increase the Web Server’s HSTS Header to Compulsorily Use HTTPS

Use the “set” command with the “Header Always” approach to add the HSTS Header to the Apache Web Servers. Use the code block below to fix the Missing HSTS from the Web Server issue on WordPress and other Apache web servers, including a “htaccess” file.

Header always set Strict-Transport-Security max-age=31536000

Use the code block below to add the HSTS Header for Nginx Web servers to fix the missing HSTS from the web server.

add_header Strict-Transport-Security: max-age=31536000; includeSubDomains; preload

4. Include the Website in Google’s HSTS Preload List for Security

Since it offers security to websites utilizing HSTS for the first time, adding the website to the HSTS Preload List is significant. The web browser must open the webpage at least once more to activate the HSTS on that website.

Therefore, the website is utilized from the HSTS Preload List during the first initial web session for user safety. The Google search engine creates the HSTS Preload List.

Domains are added to the HSTS Preload List using “hstspreload.org“. Even when a website is accessed for the first time, any website added to the HSTS Preload list is utilized using HSTS.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools may alert you about 307 redirections if your website appears on this list. This redirection happens when someone uses an unsafe HTTP protocol to try to visit your website.

As an alternative to a permanent 301 redirect, this causes a 307 redirect. Should this worry you, check whether a 301 redirect is taking place on your website by using httpstatus to scan it.

Provide the Following Criteria for Adding a Website to the HSTS Preload List and Fix the Missing HSTS from Web Server Issues:

• Maintain a Valid Certificate.

• Change the website’s HTTP to HTTPS redirect.

• Serve the website’s subdomains all over HTTPS.

• If there is a DNS record for the “www” subdomain, support HTTPS.

• For HTTPS queries, provide an HSTS header on the base domain:

• The maximum age requirement is 31536000 seconds or one year.

• You need to specify the “includeSubDomains” directive.

• It is necessary to specify the preload directive.

5. Check and Verify the Website’s HSTS Header

The final step in resolving the Missing HSTS from the Web Server challenge is auditing and validating the HSTS Header from the website. Use an SEO crawler that retrieves the website’s response headers and manually evaluates them using a web browser like Google Chrome to verify and audit the HSTS Header from the website.

Wrap up!

One of the best practices for security is to switch from HTTP to HTTPS. However, since technology has limitations, these reroutes can increase your website’s vulnerability to potential SSL attacks.

FAQ’s

How does HSTS Work?

Websites have protection from HTTP to HTTPS redirection via HSTS. An HSTS redirection is a forced browser session location change rather than a redirection. As a result, although users’ user agents and web browsers detect the HSTS redirections, search engine crawlers do not. Read the HTTPS Strict Transport Security to comprehend HSTS.

How do I fix the Missing HSTS Header?

Make a manual website backup.

Configure a redirect from HTTP to HTTPS.

Add the header for HSTS.

Add your website to the preload list for HSTS.

Check the header for your strict-transport-security.

What Other Online Privacy-related Issues are there besides HSTS Missing?

The Missing HSTS from HTTP Server issues is not the only Web Security-related challenge. The following list of the primary and associated web security problems to the Missing HSTS Error from the HTTP Web Server.

Protocol-relative URLs

Missing X-Frame Options Header

Missing X-Content Type-Options Header.

Unsafe Cross-Origin Links

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Janki Mehta

Janki Mehta

Janki Mehta is a Cyber-Security Enthusiast who constantly updates herself with new advancements in the Web/Cyber Security niche. Along with theoretical knowledge, she also implements her practical expertise in day-to-day tasks and helps others to protect themselves from threats.

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