Configure Apache with Let’s Encrypt


This guide shows how to configure Apache with Let’s Encrypt.


To follow this guide, your server needs to have the following dependencies installed:


This guide assumes two things:

  1. That you are using Ubuntu Linux 18.04. If you are not using Ubuntu 18.04, please adjust the instructions to suit your distribution or operating system.

  2. That your ownCloud installation is configured using a VirtualHost (vhost) configuration instead of being configured in the main Apache configuration, and

  3. That the vhost configuration file is stored under /etc/apache2/sites-available/. Not all distributions use this location, however. Please refer to your distribution’s Apache documentation, to know where to store yours.

Create and Configure a Diffie-Hellman Params File

When using Apache 2.4.8 or later and OpenSSL 1.0.2 or later you can generate and specify a Diffie-Hellman (DH) params file. If not already present in your VirtualHost (vhost) file, add an SSLOpenSSLConfCmd directive and a new certificate with stronger keys, which improves forward secrecy.

The OpenSSL command may take a quite a while to complete, so please be patient.

You can place the generated SSL certificate into any directory of your choice, by running the following command, and changing the value supplied to the -out option. We recommend storing it in /etc/apache2/ in this guide, solely for sakes of simplicity.

sudo openssl dhparam -out /etc/apache2/dh4096.pem 4096

Once the command completes, add the following directive to your common SSL configuration:

SSLOpenSSLConfCmd DHParameters /etc/apache2/dh4096.pem

Let’s Encrypt ACME-Challenge

After that, add an Alias directive for the /.well-known/acme-challenge location in your HTTP VirtualHost configuration, as in line four in the following example.

<virtualHost *.80>
  ServerName mydom.tld

  Alias /.well-known/acme-challenge/ /var/www/letsencrypt/.well-known/acme-challenge/
  <Directory "/var/www/letsencrypt/.well-known/acme-challenge/">
      Options None
      AllowOverride None
      ForceType text/plain
      RedirectMatch 404 "^(?!/\.well-known/acme-challenge/[\w-]{43}$)"

  # ... remaining configuration

Create an SSL VirtualHost Configuration

We recommend creating a separate file for storing the SSL directives. If these directives already exist in this Virtual Host, delete them and include the file instead. This is because, when the certificate has been created, you can use this file in any SSL-enabled VirtualHost configuration for which the certificate is valid, without reissuing the SSL certificate.

cd /etc/apache2/
sudo mkdir ssl_rules
touch ssl_rules/ssl_mydom.tld
# Eases letsencrypt initial cert issuing

SSLEngine on
SSLCertificateChainFile  /etc/letsencrypt/live/mydom.tld/fullchain.pem
SSLCertificateKeyFile    /etc/letsencrypt/live/mydom.tld/privkey.pem
SSLCertificateFile       /etc/letsencrypt/live/mydom.tld/cert.pem

To improve SSL performance, we recommend that you use the SSLUseStapling and SSLStaplingCache directives. Here’s an example configuration:

SSLUseStapling on
SSLStaplingCache         shmcb:/tmp/stapling_cache(2097152)

With the files created and filled-out, update your HTTPS VirtualHost configuration:

<virtualHost *:443>
  ServerName mydom.tld

  # ssl letsencrypt
  # Include /etc/apache2/ssl_rules/ssl_mydom.tld

For the moment, comment out the Include directive, as the certificate files do not, currently, exist.

Test and Enable the Apache Configuration

With the configuration created, test it by running one of the following two commands:

sudo apache2ctl configtest
sudo apache2ctl -t

It should not display any errors. If it doesn’t, load your new Apache configuration by running the following command:

sudo apache2ctl graceful

Create the SSL Certificates

To create the SSL certificates, run the following command:

sudo /etc/letsencrypt/<your-domain-name>.sh

Next, double check that the certificates have been issued by running the script.

sudo /etc/letsencrypt/

If successful, you will see output similar to that below when the command completes:

Saving debug log to /var/log/letsencrypt/letsencrypt.log

Found the following certs:
  Certificate Name: mydom.tld
    Domains: mydom.tld
    Expiry Date: 2018-06-18 10:57:18+00:00 (VALID: 89 days)
    Certificate Path: /etc/letsencrypt/live/mydom.tld/fullchain.pem
    Private Key Path: /etc/letsencrypt/live/mydom.tld/privkey.pem

As the certificate files exist, you can uncomment the Include directive in your HTTPS VirtualHost configuration to use them.

<virtualHost *:443>
  ServerName mydom.tld

  # ssl letsencrypt
  Include /etc/apache2/ssl_rules/ssl_mydom.tld


Reload the Apache Configuration

Finally, reload (or restart) Apache.

It is now ready to serve HTTPS request for the given domain using the issued certificates.

sudo service apache2 reload