Anyone who has gone through the trouble of setting up a secure website knows what a hassle getting and maintaining a certificate can be. Let’s Encrypt automates away the pain and lets site operators turn on and manage HTTPS with simple commands.
No validation emails, no complicated configuration editing, no expired certificates breaking your website. And of course, because Let’s Encrypt provides certificates for free, no need to arrange payment.
This page describes how to carry out the most common certificate management functions using the Let’s Encrypt client. You’re welcome to use any compatible client, but we only provide instructions for using the client that we provide.
If you’d like to know more about how this works behind the scenes, check out our how it works page.
Installing Let’s Encrypt
Note: Let’s Encrypt is in beta. Please don’t use it unless you’re comfortable with beta software that may contain bugs.
If your operating system includes a packaged copy of letsencrypt, install it from there and use the letsencrypt command. Otherwise, you can use our letsencrypt-auto wrapper script to get a copy quickly:
git clone https://github.com/letsencrypt/letsencrypt cd letsencrypt ./letsencrypt-auto --help
How To Use The Client
The Let’s Encrypt client supports a number of different “plugins” that can be used to obtain and/or install certificates. A few examples of the options are included below:
If you’re running Apache on a recent Debian-based OS, you can try the Apache plugin, which automates both obtaining and installing certs:
On other platforms automatic installation is not yet available, so you will have to use the certonly command. Here are some examples:
To obtain a cert using the “webroot” plugin, which can work with the webroot directory of any webserver software:
letsencrypt certonly --webroot -w /var/www/example -d example.com -d www.example.com -w /var/www/thing -d thing.is -d m.thing.is
This command will obtain a single cert for example.com, www.example.com, thing.is, and m.thing.is; it will place files below /var/www/example to prove control of the first two domains, and under /var/www/thing for the second pair.
To obtain a cert using a built-in “standalone” webserver (you may need to temporarily stop your existing webserver, if any) for example.com and www.example.com:
letsencrypt certonly --standalone -d example.com -d www.example.com