How to Secure HTTPS Connection in Nginx Server with Let's Encrypt

Let’s Encrypt is a Certificate Authority (CA) that provides an easy way to obtain and install free TLS/SSL certificates, thereby enabling encrypted HTTPS on web servers. It simplifies the process by providing a software client, Certbot, that attempts to automate most (if not all) of the required steps [ref].

If you following preview post about How to Install Nginx and Setting Up Server Block, you’ll have an nginx configuration file called like example.com, for me is api.budidev.com. The file should be saved in directory /etc/nginx/sites-available and linking to /etc/nginx/sites-enabled.

In this post, I’ll show you how to enable HTTPS (SSL/TLS) connection for domain or subdomain in nginx server block configuration file. The configuration will automatically generated using Certbot by Let’s Encrypt.

You can see the official instruction by Let’s Encrypt to using Certbot here.

First of all, you have to connect to the server, if you use AWS EC2 instance as a web server, you can follow this post to connect to EC2 instance

Add Certbot PPA and Install Certbot

Add the Certbot PPA to list of repositories with the commands below

sudo apt-get install software-properties-common
sudo add-apt-repository universe
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:certbot/certbot
sudo apt-get update

Install Certbot with the command below

sudo apt-get install certbot python3-certbot-nginx

Get an SSL Certificate and Automatically Configure

Run the command below to get a certificate and let Certbot edit Nginx configuration automatically

sudo certbot --nginx

If this is the first time running certbot, you’ll be prompted to enter an email address and agree to the terms of service

Certbot Email and Agreements

Certbot Email and Agreements

Choose the domain or subdomain you want to activate HTTPS

Certbot Choose Nginx Configuration File

Certbot Choose Nginx Configuration File

Choose the options you preffer, choose option 1 so you can access web server via HTTP and HTTPS, choose option 2 to redirecting HTTP to HTTPS

Certbot Choose Redirect or No

Certbot Choose Redirect or No

If everything works fine, certbot will print a success message with the important notes like the example below

Certbot Success Install Certificates

Certbot Success Install Certificates

Now the certificates are installed, try to access web server in a browser using https connection, for me is https://‎api.budidev.com

Success Secure HTTPS Connection

Success Secure HTTPS Connection

Test automatic renewal

The Certbot packages on your system come with a cron job or systemd timer that will renew your certificates automatically before they expire. You will not need to run Certbot again unless you change your configuration [ref].

You can test automatic renewal for your certificates by running this command:

sudo certbot renew --dry-run
Certbot Success Test Renew Certificate

Certbot Success Test Renew Certificate

#nginx   #server   #network  


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