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Google Chrome Headaches? Is your development environment working? Chrome 63

Having issues with your development environment?

Hopefully the following will keep you from throwing your machine out a window or smashing it into a million pieces. I was on the verge. 

If you are a developer, chances are you work on a local environment server like WAMP or MAMP. You might also use the gTLD `.dev` for your development sites, keeping the `.com` open for the live site. This allows you to bounce between the two environments easily while working on things. I started up WAMP yesterday to make some changes to a client's site they requested. To my surprise, I was unable to access the development site. I kept being redirected to the HTTPS protocol. I spent the entire day debugging, inspecting, and figuring out why this was happening.

So... Why was it happening?

At first, I thought I had a redirect causing issues in my .htaccess file. There wasn't anything there so I moved on to my CMS settings. Nope. Next was crawling through my configs for WAMP, Apache, etc.. Again, nothing. To my surprise, I found this commit on the release of Chrome 63 and the recent inclusions for their HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) preload list. I took a deeper look into things and found that Google is forcing all of their TLD's to be secure. I reviewed the ICANN list of approved TLD's and saw where `.foo`, `.app`, and many more were in the same boat. 

What can you do?

My first thought was to simply add a self-signed certificate to my local development server and keep on trucking. I downloaded Let's Encrypt and OpenSSL, created a certificate to allow the site to be accepted, however, it didn't matter where I uploaded the certificate to, it wouldn't allow me to view the site due to HSTS security settings. I went through the Chrome advanced tools using chrome://net-internals/#hsts deleting all of the domain security policies for that site, but being this is now set explicitly, there is no bypassing it.

So the future is bleak?

Not really. I was hoping to find a better solution for this being that all of my sites to this point were established using the .dev/.com format. It isn't that hard to go edit all of the sites with a new gTLD, which is what I ended up doing. I read up a bit more to find that many others are adapting .localhost as a solution in hopes to have it accepted as a standard for local development environments. 

Hopefully this helped you solve a similar issue or a struggling quest to figure out what was happening with your development settings. All developers know that the web is an ever evolving beast. Sometimes we just have to roll with the punches.

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