Certbot shows success but HTTPS still not functional

Please fill out the fields below so we can help you better. Note: you must provide your domain name to get help. Domain names for issued certificates are all made public in Certificate Transparency logs (e.g. https://crt.sh/?q=example.com), so withholding your domain name here does not increase secrecy, but only makes it harder for us to provide help.

My domain is: imsarah.lgbt

I ran this command: sudo certbot --apache

It produced this output:

[sarah@host-172-16-0-12 imsarah.lgbt]$ sudo certbot --apache
Saving debug log to /var/log/letsencrypt/letsencrypt.log
Plugins selected: Authenticator apache, Installer apache

Which names would you like to activate HTTPS for?

1: imsarah.lgbt

Select the appropriate numbers separated by commas and/or spaces, or leave input
blank to select all options shown (Enter ‘c’ to cancel):
Cert not yet due for renewal

You have an existing certificate that has exactly the same domains or certificate name you requested and isn’t close to expiry.
(ref: /etc/letsencrypt/renewal/imsarah.lgbt.conf)

What would you like to do?

1: Attempt to reinstall this existing certificate
2: Renew & replace the cert (limit ~5 per 7 days)

Select the appropriate number [1-2] then [enter] (press ‘c’ to cancel): 1
Keeping the existing certificate
Created an SSL vhost at /etc/httpd/conf.d/vhost-le-ssl.conf
Deploying Certificate to VirtualHost /etc/httpd/conf.d/vhost-le-ssl.conf
Redirecting vhost in /etc/httpd/conf.d/vhost.conf to ssl vhost in /etc/httpd/conf.d/vhost-le-ssl.conf

Congratulations! You have successfully enabled https://imsarah.lgbt

You should test your configuration at:


  • Congratulations! Your certificate and chain have been saved at:
    Your key file has been saved at:
    Your cert will expire on 2020-10-10. To obtain a new or tweaked
    version of this certificate in the future, simply run certbot again
    with the “certonly” option. To non-interactively renew all of
    your certificates, run “certbot renew”

  • If you like Certbot, please consider supporting our work by:

    Donating to ISRG / Let’s Encrypt: https://letsencrypt.org/donate
    Donating to EFF: https://eff.org/donate-le

[sarah@host-172-16-0-12 imsarah.lgbt]$

My web server is (include version):
Server version: Apache/2.4.37 (centos)
Server built: Jun 8 2020 20:14:33

The operating system my web server runs on is (include version): CentOS 8

My hosting provider, if applicable, is: lunanode (VPS)

I can login to a root shell on my machine (yes or no, or I don’t know): yes

I’m using a control panel to manage my site (no, or provide the name and version of the control panel): no

The version of my client is (e.g. output of certbot --version or certbot-auto --version if you’re using Certbot):certbot 1.5.0

Some additional information:

[sarah@host-172-16-0-12 ~]$ apachectl configtest
AH00526: Syntax error on line 10 of /etc/httpd/conf.d/vhost-le-ssl.conf:
SSLCertificateFile: file ‘/etc/letsencrypt/live/imsarah.lgbt/fullchain.pem’ does not exist or is empty

however running ls -l in that directory

[root@host-172-16-0-12 imsarah.lgbt]# ls -l
total 4
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 36 Jul 12 18:42 cert.pem -> …/…/archive/imsarah.lgbt/cert1.pem
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 37 Jul 12 18:42 chain.pem -> …/…/archive/imsarah.lgbt/chain1.pem
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 41 Jul 12 18:42 fullchain.pem -> …/…/archive/imsarah.lgbt/fullchain1.pem
lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 39 Jul 12 18:42 privkey.pem -> …/…/archive/imsarah.lgbt/privkey1.pem
-rw-r–r--. 1 root root 692 Jul 12 18:42 R

certbot certificates shows

Found the following certs:
Certificate Name: imsarah.lgbt
Serial Number: (redacted)
Domains: imsarah.lgbt
Expiry Date: 2020-10-10 21:42:54+00:00 (VALID: 89 days)
Certificate Path: /etc/letsencrypt/live/imsarah.lgbt/fullchain.pem
Private Key Path: /etc/letsencrypt/live/imsarah.lgbt/privkey.pem

1 Like

When you run this test, you need to do it as root, or use sudo. Otherwise it will complain about non-existent files because permission to access them is denied.

As for the wrong certificate being used, it’s probably CentOS’ default certificate overriding your own one. Perhaps:

sudo grep -Ri sslcertificatefile /etc/httpd

Identify the default self-signed certificate virtualhost, and remove it.

It shows that you have a cert.
Which can be confirmed with:
certbot certificates

But you may not be “using” it.
That can happen for several reasons.

  1. Certbot only renews the cert, the web server may need to restart/reload to use the new one.
  2. The code used may have been set to a specific cert, the web server is unaware of any change.

without seeing your code, I would ask that you try the simple solution first:
restart, or reload, the web service.

If that fails, then we may need to look at the actual code using the cert.

I spoke to soon (or typed to slowly) you posted enough to see that it does use the correct cert (via symbolic link).

1 Like

Restarting the webserver still has the same issue. By code do you mean my httpd config? Which I have here

[sarah@host-172-16-0-12 conf]$ cat httpd.conf
# This is the main Apache HTTP server configuration file.  It contains the
# configuration directives that give the server its instructions.
# See <URL:http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.4/> for detailed information.
# In particular, see
# <URL:http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.4/mod/directives.html>
# for a discussion of each configuration directive.
# See the httpd.conf(5) man page for more information on this configuration,
# and httpd.service(8) on using and configuring the httpd service.
# Do NOT simply read the instructions in here without understanding
# what they do.  They're here only as hints or reminders.  If you are unsure
# consult the online docs. You have been warned.
# Configuration and logfile names: If the filenames you specify for many
# of the server's control files begin with "/" (or "drive:/" for Win32), the
# server will use that explicit path.  If the filenames do *not* begin
# with "/", the value of ServerRoot is prepended -- so 'log/access_log'
# with ServerRoot set to '/www' will be interpreted by the
# server as '/www/log/access_log', where as '/log/access_log' will be
# interpreted as '/log/access_log'.

# ServerRoot: The top of the directory tree under which the server's
# configuration, error, and log files are kept.
# Do not add a slash at the end of the directory path.  If you point
# ServerRoot at a non-local disk, be sure to specify a local disk on the
# Mutex directive, if file-based mutexes are used.  If you wish to share the
# same ServerRoot for multiple httpd daemons, you will need to change at
# least PidFile.
ServerRoot "/etc/httpd"
ServerName "imsarah.lgbt"
# Listen: Allows you to bind Apache to specific IP addresses and/or
# ports, instead of the default. See also the <VirtualHost>
# directive.
# Change this to Listen on specific IP addresses as shown below to
# prevent Apache from glomming onto all bound IP addresses.
#Listen 80

# Dynamic Shared Object (DSO) Support
# To be able to use the functionality of a module which was built as a DSO you
# have to place corresponding `LoadModule' lines at this location so the
# directives contained in it are actually available _before_ they are used.
# Statically compiled modules (those listed by `httpd -l') do not need
# to be loaded here.
# Example:
# LoadModule foo_module modules/mod_foo.so
Include conf.modules.d/*.conf

# If you wish httpd to run as a different user or group, you must run
# httpd as root initially and it will switch.
# User/Group: The name (or #number) of the user/group to run httpd as.
# It is usually good practice to create a dedicated user and group for
# running httpd, as with most system services.
User apache
Group apache

# 'Main' server configuration
# The directives in this section set up the values used by the 'main'
# server, which responds to any requests that aren't handled by a
# <VirtualHost> definition.  These values also provide defaults for
# any <VirtualHost> containers you may define later in the file.
# All of these directives may appear inside <VirtualHost> containers,
# in which case these default settings will be overridden for the
# virtual host being defined.

# ServerAdmin: Your address, where problems with the server should be
# e-mailed.  This address appears on some server-generated pages, such
# as error documents.  e.g. admin@your-domain.com
ServerAdmin admin@imsarah.lgbt

# ServerName gives the name and port that the server uses to identify itself.
# This can often be determined automatically, but we recommend you specify
# it explicitly to prevent problems during startup.
# If your host doesn't have a registered DNS name, enter its IP address here.
#ServerName www.example.com:80

# Deny access to the entirety of your server's filesystem. You must
# explicitly permit access to web content directories in other
# <Directory> blocks below.
<Directory />
    AllowOverride all
#    Require all denied

# Note that from this point forward you must specifically allow
# particular features to be enabled - so if something's not working as
# you might expect, make sure that you have specifically enabled it
# below.

# DocumentRoot: The directory out of which you will serve your
# documents. By default, all requests are taken from this directory, but
# symbolic links and aliases may be used to point to other locations.
DocumentRoot "/var/www/imsarah.lgbt"

# Relax access to content within /var/www.
<Directory "/var/www">
    AllowOverride None
    # Allow open access:
    Require all granted

# Further relax access to the default document root:
<Directory "/var/www/html">
    # Possible values for the Options directive are "None", "All",
    # or any combination of:
    #   Indexes Includes FollowSymLinks SymLinksifOwnerMatch ExecCGI MultiViews
    # Note that "MultiViews" must be named *explicitly* --- "Options All"
    # doesn't give it to you.
    # The Options directive is both complicated and important.  Please see
    # http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.4/mod/core.html#options
    # for more information.
    Options Indexes FollowSymLinks

    # AllowOverride controls what directives may be placed in .htaccess files.
    # It can be "All", "None", or any combination of the keywords:
    #   Options FileInfo AuthConfig Limit
    AllowOverride None

    # Controls who can get stuff from this server.
    Require all granted

# DirectoryIndex: sets the file that Apache will serve if a directory
# is requested.
<IfModule dir_module>
    DirectoryIndex index.html

# The following lines prevent .htaccess and .htpasswd files from being
# viewed by Web clients.
<Files ".ht*">
    Require all denied

# ErrorLog: The location of the error log file.
# If you do not specify an ErrorLog directive within a <VirtualHost>
# container, error messages relating to that virtual host will be
# logged here.  If you *do* define an error logfile for a <VirtualHost>
# container, that host's errors will be logged there and not here.
ErrorLog "logs/error_log"

# LogLevel: Control the number of messages logged to the error_log.
# Possible values include: debug, info, notice, warn, error, crit,
# alert, emerg.
LogLevel warn

<IfModule log_config_module>
    # The following directives define some format nicknames for use with
    # a CustomLog directive (see below).
    LogFormat "%h %l %u %t \"%r\" %>s %b \"%{Referer}i\" \"%{User-Agent}i\"" combined
    LogFormat "%h %l %u %t \"%r\" %>s %b" common

    <IfModule logio_module>
      # You need to enable mod_logio.c to use %I and %O
      LogFormat "%h %l %u %t \"%r\" %>s %b \"%{Referer}i\" \"%{User-Agent}i\" %I %O" combinedio

    # The location and format of the access logfile (Common Logfile Format).
    # If you do not define any access logfiles within a <VirtualHost>
    # container, they will be logged here.  Contrariwise, if you *do*
    # define per-<VirtualHost> access logfiles, transactions will be
    # logged therein and *not* in this file.
    #CustomLog "logs/access_log" common

    # If you prefer a logfile with access, agent, and referer information
    # (Combined Logfile Format) you can use the following directive.
    CustomLog "logs/access_log" combined

<IfModule alias_module>
    # Redirect: Allows you to tell clients about documents that used to
    # exist in your server's namespace, but do not anymore. The client
    # will make a new request for the document at its new location.
    # Example:
    # Redirect permanent /foo http://www.example.com/bar

    # Alias: Maps web paths into filesystem paths and is used to
    # access content that does not live under the DocumentRoot.
    # Example:
    # Alias /webpath /full/filesystem/path
    # If you include a trailing / on /webpath then the server will
    # require it to be present in the URL.  You will also likely
    # need to provide a <Directory> section to allow access to
    # the filesystem path.

    # ScriptAlias: This controls which directories contain server scripts.
    # ScriptAliases are essentially the same as Aliases, except that
    # documents in the target directory are treated as applications and
    # run by the server when requested rather than as documents sent to the
    # client.  The same rules about trailing "/" apply to ScriptAlias
    # directives as to Alias.
    ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ "/var/www/cgi-bin/"


# "/var/www/cgi-bin" should be changed to whatever your ScriptAliased
# CGI directory exists, if you have that configured.
<Directory "/var/www/cgi-bin">
    AllowOverride None
    Options None
    Require all granted

<IfModule mime_module>
    # TypesConfig points to the file containing the list of mappings from
    # filename extension to MIME-type.
    TypesConfig /etc/mime.types

    # AddType allows you to add to or override the MIME configuration
    # file specified in TypesConfig for specific file types.
    #AddType application/x-gzip .tgz
    # AddEncoding allows you to have certain browsers uncompress
    # information on the fly. Note: Not all browsers support this.
    #AddEncoding x-compress .Z
    #AddEncoding x-gzip .gz .tgz
    # If the AddEncoding directives above are commented-out, then you
    # probably should define those extensions to indicate media types:
    AddType application/x-compress .Z
    AddType application/x-gzip .gz .tgz

    # AddHandler allows you to map certain file extensions to "handlers":
    # actions unrelated to filetype. These can be either built into the server
    # or added with the Action directive (see below)
    # To use CGI scripts outside of ScriptAliased directories:
    # (You will also need to add "ExecCGI" to the "Options" directive.)
    #AddHandler cgi-script .cgi

    # For type maps (negotiated resources):
    #AddHandler type-map var

    # Filters allow you to process content before it is sent to the client.
    # To parse .shtml files for server-side includes (SSI):
    # (You will also need to add "Includes" to the "Options" directive.)
    AddType text/html .shtml
    AddOutputFilter INCLUDES .shtml

# Specify a default charset for all content served; this enables
# interpretation of all content as UTF-8 by default.  To use the
# default browser choice (ISO-8859-1), or to allow the META tags
# in HTML content to override this choice, comment out this
# directive:
AddDefaultCharset UTF-8

<IfModule mime_magic_module>
    # The mod_mime_magic module allows the server to use various hints from the
    # contents of the file itself to determine its type.  The MIMEMagicFile
    # directive tells the module where the hint definitions are located.
    MIMEMagicFile conf/magic

# Customizable error responses come in three flavors:
# 1) plain text 2) local redirects 3) external redirects
# Some examples:
#ErrorDocument 500 "The server made a boo boo."
#ErrorDocument 404 /missing.html
#ErrorDocument 404 "/cgi-bin/missing_handler.pl"
#ErrorDocument 402 http://www.example.com/subscription_info.html

# EnableMMAP and EnableSendfile: On systems that support it,
# memory-mapping or the sendfile syscall may be used to deliver
# files.  This usually improves server performance, but must
# be turned off when serving from networked-mounted
# filesystems or if support for these functions is otherwise
# broken on your system.
# Defaults if commented: EnableMMAP On, EnableSendfile Off
#EnableMMAP off
EnableSendfile on

# Supplemental configuration
# Load config files in the "/etc/httpd/conf.d" directory, if any.
IncludeOptional conf.d/*.conf

and my vhost.conf and vhost-le-ssl.conf

[sarah@host-172-16-0-12 conf.d]$ cat vhost.conf
# Ensure that Apache listens on port 80
Listen 80
<VirtualHost *:80>
    DocumentRoot "/var/www/imsarah.lgbt"
    ServerName imsarah.lgbt

    # Other directives here
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{SERVER_NAME} =imsarah.lgbt
RewriteRule ^ https://%{SERVER_NAME}%{REQUEST_URI} [END,NE,R=permanent]

[sarah@host-172-16-0-12 conf.d]$ cat vhost-le-ssl.conf
<IfModule mod_ssl.c>
<VirtualHost *:443>
    DocumentRoot "/var/www/imsarah.lgbt"
    ServerName imsarah.lgbt

    # Other directives here

Include /etc/letsencrypt/options-ssl-apache.conf
SSLCertificateFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/imsarah.lgbt/fullchain.pem
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/imsarah.lgbt/privkey.pem
1 Like

What does this show:

sudo apachectl -t -D DUMP_VHOSTS

The configuration you posted shouldn’t have that issue, I think there’s some more sneaking in from somewhere.

1 Like

I tried running that but it seems as tho it’s not supported in apache anymore.

[sarah@host-172-16-0-12 conf.d]$ sudo apachectl -t -D DUMP_VHOSTS
Passing arguments to httpd using apachectl is no longer supported.
You can only start/stop/restart httpd using this script.
If you want to pass extra arguments to httpd, edit the
/etc/sysconfig/httpd config file.

That leaves much to the imagination.
[and I do so have one]

All HTTP goes to HTTPS.
HTTPS does “stuff” with it.

Why not keep it in HTTP?
Handle all the LE challenge requests there and keep things simple®.

Sorry, try this:

sudo httpd -t -D DUMP_VHOSTS
1 Like

that’s showing

[sarah@host-172-16-0-12 conf.d]$ sudo httpd -t -D DUMP_VHOSTS
VirtualHost configuration:
*:443 is a NameVirtualHost
default server imsarah.lgbt (/etc/httpd/conf.d/ssl.conf:40)
port 443 namevhost imsarah.lgbt (/etc/httpd/conf.d/ssl.conf:40)
port 443 namevhost imsarah.lgbt (/etc/httpd/conf.d/vhost-le-ssl.conf:2)
*:80 imsarah.lgbt (/etc/httpd/conf.d/vhost.conf:3)

1 Like

There’s where your self-signed certificate is coming from, in ssl.conf. Get rid of it, and that should be all you need to do.


Am I seeing double?

removing ssl.conf fixed the issue. Not even sure how that got there.



The worst part is Apache doesn’t complain (even a little) about such an obvious overlap.
Cheers from Miami :beers: