We run a web server for a free/open source project on a CentOS 7 VM. We have Apache 2.4 installed from Red Hat's Software Collections (SCL). We also installed EFF's Certbot from EPEL to manage HTTPS certificates. This is our first attempt at Let's Encrypt and Certbot.

Certbot for CentOS 7 + Apache instructions are here. We failed at the step below because we use Apache 2.4 from SCL and not the ancient Apache that Red Hat distributes:

sudo certbot --apache

The error is is shown below. We believe Certbot should have used httpd24-httpd.service:

Obtaining a new certificate
Performing the following challenges:
http-01 challenge for example.com
http-01 challenge for www.example.com
Error while running apachectl graceful.

Job for httpd.service invalid.

We think the fix for Certbot using the wrong service name is detailed at Certbot Issue 3520. We added the ini file with the SCL server information and we are ready to continue the request.

The problem now is, I can't find information on continuing/restarting a request. The failed Certbot request did not tell us what to do after we fixed the problem, and the Certbot docs don't seem to detail the procedure either.

What are our next steps? How do we continue or restart the process?

  • 1
    I haven't had good luck using the --apache flags or other webserver specific instructions. certbot works much better with certbot certonly --agree-tos --webroot -w /var/www/example.com/ -d 'example.com,www.example.com'. That way it can issue certificates without mucking with your server configuration or taking your server offline briefly. – Stephen Ostermiller Sep 14 at 1:50
  • Thanks @Stephen. Do you know where we can find documentation on the procedures? I prefer to use documented procedures rather than relying on random crap from the web (like we seem to be doing). – jww Sep 14 at 2:59
  • Wouldn't the cron job run again at some point? – Steve Sep 14 at 3:47
  • Thanks @Steve. Good question, but I don't have an answer. We are not sure what state we are in. This is our first/initial attempt and it failed in the first step. It is not clear to me if Certbot installed the cron job. crontab -l returns no crontab for root, but I don't know if that is expected. For example, does Certbot install the job under a different user? – jww Sep 14 at 3:50
  • I think we are going to buy a certificate. This software is too broken and the docs are too incomplete. I've wasted about 5 hours on this task already with no end in sight. There's no need to read anymore bug reports claiming how these problems were already fixed when I know damn well they are not... EFF needs to test their shit. – jww Sep 14 at 6:15

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