If you have podfic, fanvids, or other works with embedded media, users who currently opt to browse the Archive over HTTPS (e.g. via a browser extension) may be unable to access your work. Before we move the Archive to HTTPS, we'll be making some changes to existing audio and video embeds to prevent more widespread issues, but there are also steps you can take now to ensure your content loads for everyone.
Many of the media players in AO3 works use HTTP links to embed Flash files for playing back audio or video. For example, here's the code for an audio player that uses an HTTP URL as its
<embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" flashvars="mp3=MP3_FILE_URL" src="http://archiveofourown.org/system/dewplayer/dewplayer.swf" width="200" height="27" allowscriptaccess="never" allownetworking="internal"> </embed>
If someone uses HTTPS to access a work with code like that, their browser will notice a mismatch between the page they're on (HTTPS! secure!) and the content it's being asked to display (HTTP! not secure!). When this happens, many browsers will err on the side of security: they won't load or display the embedded media.
Most browsers do allow users to override this behavior and display insecure content, but how easy that is varies a lot from browser to browser, and the process can change from one browser version to the next. (A web search for "display mixed content" plus the name and version of your browser should provide the information you need.) Whenever possible, it's easier -- and safer -- to tell the browser to load the file over HTTPS.
What you can do
To help the browser out, you can simply add that little "s" to the relevant bit of your embed, which will create a secure connection to the file in question. The vast majority of our whitelisted multimedia players already offer HTTPS support. If you only have a few works with audio, video, or even image content which link to external media, you can edit your works, look for the
src part and turn the
http bit into an
https. That's it!
This will ensure that everyone can access your podfic, fanvid, art, or other media, even if they're browsing the Archive in HTTP mode. (Browsers are cool with that mismatch.)
What we will do
Since we can't expect all our users to edit all their multimedia works by hand, we will ensure that all embeds use the correct linkage by doing one big find-and-replace on our end. Because we only allow embeds from a few sites, we can easily find the affected works by searching our database for specific HTML. Then we can run a few simple commands to update the embed code's
src from http to https.
This will not touch the content of your work in any way, or alter anything about your work that isn't neatly bracketed by a pair of very specific quote marks. When it's all done, your content will be accessible to users browsing the Archive in secure mode, if it wasn't before. \o/
We are planning to do this on October 4th, right before we switch to HTTPS mode on the AO3.
To make sure that works posted from now on won't run into this problem, we've updated our code to ensure embeds use https links where available, and edited our documentation for audio player embeds.
Edit 09:24 UTC on 05 October, 2017: The update to embedded media files has been completed, but attempts to move the Archive to HTTPS were unsuccessful. HTTP will remain the default for a little while longer, and we'll update you via our Twitter account when we're ready to try again.
Edit 19:16 UTC on 12 October 2017: We successfully made the switch to HTTPS for a few days; however, the extra strain from encrypting all traffic proved too much for our servers at peak times. Until we have installed additional servers (coming soon!), HTTP will remain the default protocol. (Of course, you can still elect to use a secure connection, e.g. via a browser extension like HTTPS Everywhere.) Please follow @AO3_Status on Twitter for futher updates.
Edit 22:15 UTC on 14 October 2017: We have implemented the caching needed to reduce server strain and are currently back on the secure protocol by default. We believe we'll be able to remain on HTTPS, but if it proves too much, we will switch back until our new frontend servers arrive.