Sam Doidge

Continual improvement

Why didn't Let's Encrypt auto renew?

I accessed one of my sites recently to find the SSL is invalid. Rookie error, I thought! I had probably just forgotten to setup a cron for auto renewing the SSL certificate for Let’s Encrypt… So I goto run the command manually,

sudo certbot renew

but it tells me there are no certificates to renew :thinking:.

How odd, I thought; let me trouble shoot this. I find my certificate has been renewed, but still an invalid warning is appearing ony my site. I look into my root cron:

sudo crontab -l

and find I do have the command set for renewing. I restart nginx manually and the warning on the website is gone. So what’s gone wrong?

43 6 * * * certbot renew --post-hook "systemctl restart nginx"


Within the post-hook option, it seems like a minimal $PATH is used, so post-hook option isn’t finding the systemctl command. I update the command to have the full path, and this shouldn’t trouble us again :+1:.

43 6 * * * certbot renew --post-hook "/bin/systemctl restart nginx"