Hello Let's Encrypt! New Here, saying hi, setting up mediawiki server for a college


#1

Hello Let’s Encrypt!

I’m new here, so I wanted to:

  1. Say Hello!
  2. Set up an encryption certificate correctly on a server
  3. Use “Let’s Encrypt Certificates”
  4. Learn more!

Background

I like Mathematics, and especially cryptography. I’m currently setting up a MediaWiki server for my college. (specifically for a mathematics class on discrete mathematics, but potentially for use with other classes as well).

The Server

Currently, I am running a Bitnami MediaWiki Stack on Google Cloud Platform (yes, I know I took the easy way by using bitnami instead of setting it up on my own, but I want to get students collaborating more quickly). I would be willing to create a new virtual machine from scratch, if it is recommended.

Bitnami does have some Documentation about SSL certificates, but I wanted to find an excuse to say hi to the community. Also I wanted to learn more, in general.

Here’s the page I was reading, prior to posting here:
https://docs.bitnami.com/google/apps/mediawiki/#how-to-enable-https-support-with-ssl-certificates


Specifics about the Server

Operating System:

Debian (8)

Software:

Ghostscript (9.05)
Apache (2.4.25)
ImageMagick (6.7.5)
MediaWiki (1.28.1)
MySQL (5.6.35)
OpenSSL (1.0.2k)
PHP (5.6.30)
phpMyAdmin (4.7.0)
SQLite (3.7.15.1)


Additionally, If you have other recommendations about setting up wiki’s, please let me know!

Thanks, Let’s Encrypt! :grin:


#2

I’m not that familiar with Bitnami, but looking at the how-to you’ve posted, it looks like you have root access, correct?

If so, I would recommend the official client and just follow the steps on the of official documentation for Debian 8 in combination with Apache: https://certbot.eff.org/#debianjessie-apache


#3

Yes, I have root access, everything is running on a virtual machine:

And you can access it with SSH

I’ll try out the certbot for debian, thanks for the link!


#4

I’m not sure I’d recommend that, actually. Bitnami seems to come with its own Apache that’s separate from Debian’s standard one, and installing python-certbot-apache will pull in the latter as a dependency, causing all manner of confusion. I’d suggest installing just the certbot package instead, and using the --webroot plugin.

There’s a rather long thread about Bitnami and Debian here:

(in light of which, I’m not convinced that using Bitnami is really “taking the easy way” :stuck_out_tongue:)


#5

Ah, I didn’t know that!


#6

I agree… I have a feeling that “taking the easy way” in this kind of scenario is actually just: “easy now… more difficult later”

I wouldn’t mind setting up another Wiki from scratch, any recommendations on how best to go about doing that? (Or pointers in the right direction to learn how to set it up in a secure way)


#7

Sorry, I don’t really know much about mediawiki in particular. In general my usual approach would be to set up a basic LAMP stack using apt-get, and then follow the official installation instructions for anything else I want.

That’s not to say that Bitnami won’t work! Just that it does things differently enough that following more general instructions and tutorials is less likely to be helpful.


#8

Alright, I’ll try it out with the bitnami first, then make another one from scratch just for fun, the only thing I would consider doing differently is using MariaDB. (and updated versions of all the software)

I’ll report back with any discoveries! (And hopefully with a ssl cert)

Thanks for the responses and the help so far


#9

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