When navigating throughout SE, can't the protocol be carried over, based on the previous page visited?

I know in Rails (which SE is not written in), you can link to sites as //example.com, which will use the protocol from the originating page. I wonder if the same can be done for SE.

Based on this 2014 meta question, SE has been working on full HTTPS support for nearly four years. I guess the estimated delivery is about 6 to 8 years instead?


  1. Visit StackOverflow as HTTPS
    • Affected
      • Chat and meta links in the navbar
      • Meta links in sidebar
    • Unaffected: careers link in navbar
  2. Visit SO chat as HTTPS
    • Affected
      • Footer: SO logo, privacy policy, and legal
      • Tags in room description
    • Unaffected: all other links (excluding starred items)
  • From what I can tell, a <a> with a href starting with //host.com will use the same protocol. So if you're on https://meta.stackexchange.com, a link to //chat.meta.stackexchange.com will link to https chat. See this image Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 15:49
  • @UniquekekitteanateUnidoggy So it is not just a Rails thing. Interesting to know! Maybe it is possible then for SE devs to do this...
    – user261278
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 16:08

1 Answer 1


Yeah, we know. It's something of a sore point right now. Although I'm not privy to the design decisions to not link to HTTPS where it is available if you are already on HTTPS, it's most likely related to the fact that not all meta sites work over SSL right now.

Go on and try it: https://bicycles.meta.stackexchange.com/ - not such a pretty experience.

On that topic, just yesterday I posted something on the Server Fault blog that covers some SSL topics, and I touch on the topic of SSL/TLS on our sites as well there, but honestly it's mostly a rehash of what we've been saying already.

Source: I'm an SRE for Stack Exchange (I just don't have a diamond).

  • Great blog article. When I first heard of Let's Encrypt!, it seemed shady, especially for being in beta. But it's from EFF, which I absolutely support. (TIL...)
    – user261278
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 16:16
  • 1
    @onebree I agree, I suspected shadyness as well. But I've done some personal tests with it and it was all good :) Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 16:35

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