Automatically enable HTTPS on your website with EFF’s Certbot, deploying Let’s Encrypt certificates.

Setup for Apache on CentOS/RHEL 7

Certbot is packaged in EPEL (Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux). To use Certbot, you must first enable the EPEL repository. On RHEL or Oracle Linux, you must also enable the optional channel.

After doing this, you can install Certbot by running:

$ sudo yum install certbot-apache

Certbot’s DNS plugins are also available for your system which can be used to automate obtaining a wildcard certificate from Let’s Encrypt’s ACMEv2 server. To use one of these plugins, you must have configured DNS for the domain you want to obtain a certificate for with a DNS provider that Certbot has a plugin for. A list of these plugins and more information about using them can be found here. To install one of these plugins, run the installation command above but replace certbot-apache with the name of the DNS plugin you want to install.

Get Started

Certbot has a fairly solid beta-quality Apache plugin, which is supported on many platforms, and automates certificate installation.

$ sudo certbot --apache

Running this command will get a certificate for you and have Certbot edit your Apache configuration automatically to serve it. If you’re feeling more conservative and would like to make the changes to your Apache configuration by hand, you can use the certonly subcommand:

$ sudo certbot --apache certonly

If you want to obtain a wildcard certificate using Let’s Encrypt’s new ACMEv2 server, you’ll also need to use one of Certbot’s DNS plugins. To do this, make sure the plugin for your DNS provider is installed using the instructions above and run a command like the following:

$ sudo certbot -a dns-plugin -i apache -d "*.example.com" -d example.com --server https://acme-v02.api.letsencrypt.org/directory

You’ll need to replace dns-plugin with the name of the DNS plugin you want to use. You may also need to provide additional flags such as the path to your API credentials as described in the documentation for the DNS plugin linked above.

To learn more about how to use Certbot read documentation.

Automating renewal

Certbot can be configured to renew your certificates automatically before they expire. Since Let’s Encrypt certificates last for 90 days, it’s highly advisable to take advantage of this feature. You can test automatic renewal for your certificates by running this command:

$ sudo certbot renew --dry-run

If that appears to be working correctly, you can arrange for automatic renewal by adding a cron job or systemd timer which runs the following:

certbot renew

An example cron job might look like this, which will run at noon and midnight every day:

0 0,12 * * * python -c 'import random; import time; time.sleep(random.random() * 3600)' && certbot renew

More detailed information and options about renewal can be found in the full documentation.

Setup for Nginx on CentOS/RHEL 7

Certbot is packaged in EPEL (Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux). To use Certbot, you must first enable the EPEL repository. On RHEL or Oracle Linux, you must also enable the optional channel.

After doing this, you can install Certbot by running:

$ sudo yum install certbot-nginx

Certbot’s DNS plugins are also available for your system which can be used to automate obtaining a wildcard certificate from Let’s Encrypt’s ACMEv2 server. To use one of these plugins, you must have configured DNS for the domain you want to obtain a certificate for with a DNS provider that Certbot has a plugin for. A list of these plugins and more information about using them can be found here. To install one of these plugins, run the installation command above but replace certbot-nginx with the name of the DNS plugin you want to install.

Get Started

Certbot has an Nginx plugin, which is supported on many platforms, and certificate installation.

$ sudo certbot --nginx

Running this command will get a certificate for you and have Certbot edit your Nginx configuration automatically to serve it. If you’re feeling more conservative and would like to make the changes to your Nginx configuration by hand, you can use the certonly subcommand:

$ sudo certbot --nginx certonly

If you want to obtain a wildcard certificate using Let’s Encrypt’s new ACMEv2 server, you’ll also need to use one of Certbot’s DNS plugins. To do this, make sure the plugin for your DNS provider is installed using the instructions above and run a command like the following:

$ sudo certbot -a dns-plugin -i nginx -d "*.example.com" -d example.com --server https://acme-v02.api.letsencrypt.org/directory

You’ll need to replace dns-plugin with the name of the DNS plugin you want to use. You may also need to provide additional flags such as the path your API credentials as described in the documentation for the DNS plugin linked above.

To learn more about how to use Certbot read documentation.

Automating renewal

Certbot can be configured to renew your certificates automatically before they expire. Since Let’s Encrypt certificates last for 90 days, it’s highly advisable to take advantage of this feature. You can test automatic renewal for your certificates by running this command:

$ sudo certbot renew --dry-run

If that appears to be working correctly, you can arrange for automatic renewal by adding a cron job or systemd timer which runs the following:

certbot renew

An example cron job might look like this, which will run at noon and midnight every day:

0 0,12 * * * python -c 'import random; import time; time.sleep(random.random() * 3600)' && certbot renew

More detailed information and options about renewal can be found in the full documentation.