Install Let’s Encrypt SSL on Debian 9 with Apache webserver

Estimated reading time: 1 min

What you’ll learn

In this tutorial, you will learn the procedure of TLS/SSL certificate installation on Apache web server running on Debian 9 Stretch. Once you are finished, all traffic between server and client will be encrypted and safe. This is a standard practice of securing e-commerce websites and other financial services online.

What you’ll need

Before you begin working with this guide you’ll need these:

  • SSH with non-root but sudo user access to the Debian 9 Stretch VPS
  • The apache web server with properly a domain and vhost configured


Step 1 — Installing Let’s Encrypt certbot

The first step to using Let’s Encrypt to obtain an SSL certificate is to install the certbot Let’s Encrypt client on your server. To install run this:

$ sudo apt-get install certbot 

Step 2 — Create and install the SSL certificate(s)

Generating the SSL Certificate for Apache using the Let’s Encrypt client is quite straightforward. The client will automatically obtain and install a new SSL certificate that is valid for the domains in our Apache configuration. To execute the interactive installation and obtain a certificate for all of the domains de ned in your Apache configuration, type:

$ sudo certbot --apache

Step 3 — Check the SSL certificate(s) configuration

At above stage your certificates are created and configured. Now check your domain virtualhost config file with the ssl is like this or not. If not then put these manually on virtualhost’s ssl configuration:


SSLCertificateFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/<your-domain>/cert.pem
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/<your-domain>/privkey.pem
SSLCertificateChainFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/<your-domain>/chain.pem

Now need to test as our configuration goes right with this –

$ sudo apachectl configtest

Finally, restart Nginx and You can taste that your SSL is working. 🙂

$ sudo service apache2 reload

Step 4 — Setting up for the auto renewal

The Certbot packages on your system come with a cron job that will 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

Finally

You have just secured your apache web server by implementing the most anticipated security feature – free SSL certificates! From now on all traffic between your domain web server and client is secure, you can be assured that no one could intercept the communication and alter or steal crucial information. 😀

Happy Hacking!

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