Automating SSL Certificate Management with Certbot and Let’s Encrypt

As we posted previously, following best practices for SSL certificate management is critical to properly secure your site. In that post, we discussed automating certificate management as a best practice. This post is an example of how to do just that.
To do so, we will use the highly-trusted free certificate provider Let’s Encrypt. We will also leverage the free certificate automation tool Certbot.

Installing Certbot

Installing Certbot is pretty easy, overall, but you do need to be comfortable with the command line and generally know how to configure your chosen web server. That said, if you check out the Certbot site, you will find a dropdown menu that will let you pick your chosen web server and operating system. Once you make your selections, simply follow the on-screen step-by-step instructions. In our testing, we found them to be complete and intuitive.

That’s It!

Following the on-screen instructions will have:

  • Certbot installed
  • Configure your web server for the certificate
  • Generate, get and install the certificate
  • Implement automatic renewals of the certificate to prevent expiration

You can literally go from a basic website to fully implemented and automated SSL in a matter of moments. Plenty of support is available from EFF for Certbot, or via Let’s Encrypt. In our testing, we ran into no issues and the implementation completed successfully each time.

Give it a shot! This might be one of the easiest and most effective security controls to automate. Together, Certbot and Let’s Encrypt can create a no-cost cryptography solution for your web sites in a very short amount of time.

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