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The CSC currently has an SSL Certificate from GlobalSign for * provided at no cost to us through IST. GlobalSign likes to take a long time to respond to certificate signing requests (CSR) for wildcard certs, so our CSR really needs to be handed off to IST at least 2 weeks in advance. You can do it sooner – the certificate expiry date will be the old expiry date + 1 year (+ a bonus ) Having an invalid cert for any length of time leads to terrible breakage, followed by terrible workarounds and prolonged problems.

When the certificate is due to expire in a month or two, syscom should (but apparently doesn't always) get an email notification. This will include a renewal link. Otherwise, use the IST-CA self service system. Please keep a copy of the key, CSR and (once issued) certificate in /home/sysadmin/certs. The OpenSSL examples linked there are good to generate a 2048-bit RSA key and a corresponding CSR. It's probably a good idea to change the private key (as it's not that much effort anyways). Just sure your CSR is for *

At the self-service portal, these options worked in 2013. If you need IST assistance, is the email address you should contact.

 Products: OrganizationSSL
 SSL Certificate Type: Wildcard SSL Certificate
 Validity Period: 1 year
 Are you switching from a Competitor? No, I am not switching
 Are you renewing this Certificate? Yes (paste current certificate)
 30-day bonus: Yes (why not?)
 Add specific Subject Alternative Names (SANs): No (* automatically adds as a SAN)
 Enter Certificate Signing Request (CSR): Yes (paste CSR)
 Contact Information:
   First Name: Computer Science Club
   Last Name: Systems Committee
   Telephone: +1 519 888 4567 x33870
   Email Address:

Certificate Location

Keep a copy of newly generated certificates in /home/sysadmin/certs on the NFS server (currently aspartame).

A list of places you'll need to put the new certificate to keep our services running. Private key (if applicable) should be kept next to the certificate with the extension .key.

  • caffeine:/etc/ssl/private/csclub-wildcard.crt (for Apache)
  • coffee:/etc/ssl/private/ (for PostgreSQL and MariaDB)
  • mail:/etc/ssl/private/csclub-wildcard.crt (for Apache, Postfix and Dovecot)
  • rt:/etc/ssl/private/csclub-wildcard.crt (for Apache)
  • potassium-benzoate:/etc/ssl/private/csclub-wildcard.crt (for nginx)
  • auth1:/etc/ssl/private/csclub-wildcard.crt (for slapd)
  • auth2:/etc/ssl/private/csclub-wildcard.crt (for slapd)
  • logstash:/etc/ssl/private/csclub-wildcard.crt (for nginx) [temporarily down 2020]
  • mattermost:/etc/ssl/private/csclub-wildcard.crt (for nginx)
  • load-balancer-0(1|2):/etc/ssl/private/ (for haproxy) [temporarily down 2020]

Some services (e.g. Dovecot, Postfix) prefer to have the certificate chain in one file. Concatenate the appropriate intermediate root to the end of the certificate and store this as csclub-wildcard-chain.crt.


We support letsencrypt for our virtual hosts with custom domains. We use the cerbot from debian repositories with a configuration file at /etc/letsencrypt/cli.ini, and a systemd timer to handle renewals.

The setup for a new domain is:

  1. Become certbot on caffine with sudo -u certbot bash or similar.
  2. Run certbot certonly -c /etc/letsencrypt/cli.ini -d DOMAIN --logs-dir /tmp. The logs-dir isn't important and is only needed for troubleshooting.
  3. Set up the Apache site configuration using the example below. (apache config is in /etc/apache2) Note the permanent redirect to https.
  4. Make sure to commit your changes when you're done.
  5. Reloading apache config is sudo systemctl reload apache2.
<VirtualHost *:80>
    ServerAlias *

    #DocumentRoot /users/example/www/
    Redirect permanent /

    ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/example-error.log
    CustomLog /var/log/apache2/example-access.log combined

<VirtualHost csclub:443>
    SSLEngine on
    SSLCertificateFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/
    SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/
    SSLStrictSNIVHostCheck on

    ServerAlias *

    DocumentRoot /users/example/www

    ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/example-error.log
    CustomLog /var/log/apache2/example-access.log combined