How To Install Let’s Encrypt SSL on Ubuntu With Apache

How To Install Let’s Encrypt SSL on Ubuntu With Apache

In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Let’s Encrypt SSL on Ubuntu with Apache.  For those of you who didn’t know, LetsEncrypt 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. Unfortunately, certificates currently have a 3 month lifetime. This means you’ll need to renew your certificate quarterly for now.

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 Let’s Encrypt SSL on a Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) server.


  • A server running one of the following operating systems: Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus).
  • 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 Let’s Encrypt SSL on Ubuntu With Apache

Step 1. First, make sure that all your system packages are up-to-date by running the following apt-get commands in the terminal.

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade
apt-get install git

Step 2. Install LAMP (Linux, Apache, MariaDB, PHP) server.

A Ubuntu 16.04 LAMP server is required. If you do not have LAMP installed, you can follow our guide here.

Step 3. Installing Let’s Encrypt SSL.

Next, run the commands below to clone the Let’s Encrypt git project to your server and this will create a folder called let’s encrypt in the /opt directory:

git clone /opt/letsencrypt

Generating Let’s Encrypt certificates:

cd /opt/letsencrypt

Run the commands below to generate an SSL certificate for your domain ( or website:

./letsencrypt-auto --apache -d

You can also use a single certificate on multiple domains and sub-domains, to do that, you’ll have to add them as additional perimeters to the command:

./letsencrypt-auto --apache -d -d

After the installation process finishes successfully a congratulation message is displayed on your console informing you about the expiration date and how you can test the configuration as illustrated on the below screenshots and you should be able to find the generated certificate files at /etc/letsencrypt/live.

Install Let’s Encrypt SSL on Ubuntu With Apache

Finally, now your domain should be accessible via HTTPS! Check it out at

Install Let’s Encrypt SSL on Ubuntu With Apache

 Step 4. Set up auto-renewal Let’s Encrypt.

Let’s Encrypt certificates are valid for 3 months, but it’s recommended that you renew the certificates every 2 months to allow a margin of error. To renew that certificate, you’ll have to come back into the /opt/letsencrypt directory and run the commands below:

./letsencrypt-auto renew

Or you can also set up a cron job to automatically renew your certificate before it expires by editing cron and specifying how often you want to check/renew:

sudo crontab -e

Add the line below and save:

0 0 * * 0 /opt/letsencrypt/letsencrypt-auto renew >> /var/log/le-renew.log

Congratulations! You have successfully installed Let’s Encrypt SSL. Thanks for using this tutorial for installing Let’s Encrypt SSL with Apache on your Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) system. For additional help or useful information, we recommend you check the official LetsEncrypt SSL 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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