How To Install Free SSL Certificate for Nginx on Debian 10 Buster

Install Free SSL Certificate for Nginx on Debian 10

In this tutorial, we will show you how to install a free SSL certificate for Nginx on Debian 10 Buster. For those of you who didn’t know, Let’s Encrypt is a free open certificate authority (CA) that provides free certificates for websites and other services. The service is backed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mozilla, Cisco Systems, and Akamai.

This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation free SSL certificate on a Debian 10 (Buster) server.


  • A server running one of the following operating systems: Debian 10 (Buster).
  • It’s recommended that you use a fresh OS install to prevent any potential issues.
  • SSH access to the server (or just open Terminal if you’re on a desktop).
  • A non-root sudo user or access to the root user. We recommend acting as a non-root sudo user, however, as you can harm your system if you’re not careful when acting as the root.

Install Free SSL Certificate for Nginx on Debian 10

Step 1. Before we install any software, it’s important to make sure your system is up to date by running the following apt commands in the terminal:

apt update
apt upgrade

Step 2. Installing Certbot on Debian 10.

Run the following command to install Certbot:

sudo apt install certbot python-certbot-nginx

Next, run this command to get a certificate and have Certbot edit your Nginx web server:

sudo certbot --nginx

If you’re feeling more conservative and would like to make the changes to your Nginx configuration by hand, run this command:

sudo certbot certonly --nginx

Step 3. Certbot Auto Renew.

Free SSL certificates will get expired after 90 days of installation and you must renew them before it gets expired. If you have installed certificates using certbot then it must have already created cronjob to auto-renew certificates:

sudo certbot renew --dry-run

The command to renew certbot is installed in one of the following locations:

systemctl list-timers

Step 4. Confirm that Certbot worked.

You should test your configuration at:

Congratulations! You have successfully installed free SSL. Thanks for using this tutorial for installing a free SSL certificate on Debian 10 Buster system. For additional help or useful information, we recommend you to check the official Let’s Encrypt website.

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r00t is a seasoned Linux system administrator with a wealth of experience in the field. Known for his contributions to, r00t has authored numerous tutorials and guides, helping users navigate the complexities of Linux systems. His expertise spans across various Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, CentOS, and Debian. r00t's work is characterized by his ability to simplify complex concepts, making Linux more accessible to users of all skill levels. His dedication to the Linux community and his commitment to sharing knowledge makes him a respected figure in the field.
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