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Make certbot Let’s Encrypt certificates readable by Debian ssl-cert group

by sigmaris on January 5th, 2019

On Debian, there’s a group named ssl-cert which grants access to TLS certificates and private keys, so that services that don’t run as the root user can still use TLS certificates. For example, the PostgreSQL Debian package installs PostgreSQL to run as a user named postgres, which is a member of the ssl-cert group, and so it can use certificates and private keys in /etc/ssl.

The certbot Let’s Encrypt client, by default, makes the certificates and private keys it installs only readable by the root user. There is an open issue against certbot, requesting that on Debian, certbot should follow the Debian standard of making the certificates and keys readable by the ssl-cert group as well. In the meantime, until that issue is resolved, the ownership can be set by a post-hook which will be run by certbot after obtaining or renewing a certificate.

To do that, add this line to your certbot configuration file, i.e. /etc/letsencrypt/cli.ini:

post-hook = chmod 0640 /etc/letsencrypt/archive/*/privkey*.pem && chmod g+rx /etc/letsencrypt/live /etc/letsencrypt/archive && chown -R root:ssl-cert /etc/letsencrypt/live /etc/letsencrypt/archive

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