Problem with Apache24: "cert.pem' does not exist or is empty"

I received some error message, lost now, when using certbot certonly --standalone on my home server.
And then i had problems with Apache24 and tracked it down to all of the certificate files were 0kb in size.
I managed to check the contents of each file, and the contents looked ok, but the size remained at 0kb.
It seems that Apache24 doesn't recognise the certificates.
Is there a know problem here?
Is there a solution?

This wouldn't happen to be using WSL would it?


Hi @Donald, and welcome to the LE community forum :slight_smile:

What command did you run?
Did you try it with sudo?


Hi Christopher, no I am on Windows 11.

I had bundled 5 domain names into a single Certbot certonly –standalone command, but have tested certifying them individually and that seems to have resolved the problem. BUT still working on it, so too early to tell.


Hi Rudy

The command was certbot certonly –standalone

I’m on Windows 10


Where did you see that message?

If Apache has insufficient rights to the cert files, it can show 0 bytes [even though the file is there].
The solution is to give Apache the right to read those files [or copy them to a location where it can].


Thanks Rudy

I think you are right, there was some problem with accessing the files, regenerating (1 for each domain) seems to have fixed the problem.

BUT the file sizes that show in my File Explorer App on my web server are still all at 0kb, this does not seem to be a problem though because when I copy and paste them from C:\Certbot\live\\ to another location the file sizes no longer show as 0kb. My web server is a Surface Pro 4 about 5 years old. …hey, I am just starting out :blush:

Processor Intel(R) Core(TM) m3-6Y30 CPU @ 0.90GHz 1.51 GHz

Installed RAM 4.00 GB

System type 64-bit operating system, x64-based processor


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From memory the issue was related to the files being symbolic links and the permissions between the current account and the account which renewed/created the certs being different (i.e. you may not be running as admin with elevated privileges).


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