Pem files being created every minute in /etc/letsencrypt/keys/

My domain is:

I ran this command:

It produced this output:

My web server is (include version): apache 2.4.7

The operating system my web server runs on is (include version): ubuntu 14.04.5 lts

My hosting provider, if applicable, is:

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

Hi folks,

As per topic LE appears automatically generating new keys every minute in folder /etc/letsencrypt/keys/

Please refer:

Any suggestions on fixing this issue?

FYI, I’ve deleted a massive bunch already, it was up to 18k files until I realized this was happening.

Thanks in advance.

Hi @grug0r,

You should check your cron job because seems it is being executed every minute, I don’t know if you are using certbot or certbot-auto so:

If using certbot:

cat /etc/cron.d/certbot
systemctl list-timers certbot.timer

If using certbot-auto maybe you created a cron job for root user:

crontab -l


See what it’s doing in /var/log/letsencrypt/. There should be a massive amount of logs.

For that matter, since it’s running so predictably, you can also try to catch it with “ps aux” or whatever.

Thank you for getting help to me so quickly. I will check all suggested methods and post the solution.

Yep, the cron job was indeed executing every minute :thinking:

I blame my web guy.

Thanks for the help.

1 Like

There’s also the question of what it was doing.

It’s unusual for Certbot to be generating a key every time it’s run. It’s trying to issue a certificate, and probably failing.

What command is being run? “certbot renew”? Something else?

Is it trying to renew a certificate? Has the certificate already expired? Do you need to fix it, or can you delete it?

certbot certificates” can display the certificates it’s currently managing.


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