1) This had to do with using https:// and not having ssl installed. I did correct this so that it will work anyway now.
2) Yes, you need to install an SSL certificate to not get errors with https:// you will have to talk to your host about getting SSL working
3) Default home page should be set from the hosting control panel and not with .htaccess
4) The shipping isn't working because you are using an invalid API user name... you need to sign up for the api on the usps web site and get a new username to use specifically for this purpose. It is not your normal user name. Use this link to sign up and get the correct user name.https://www.usps.com/business/web-tools-apis/welcome.htm