Free SSL certificates using manual process

Last December Let’s Encrypt entered public beta, opening free SSL Certificates to the world! The service is designed to automate the process of issuing certificates, and certificates expire every 90 days.

While the automation looks fantastic, today I found myself in need of a certificate for a website that’s about to be migrated away, and currently hosted on an immutable server. I decided to manually issue a certificate using the letsencrypt client running on my Mac (OS X 10.11).

The first step was to download the client and run the ‘certonly — manual’ command:

git clone
cd letsencrypt
./letsencrypt-auto certonly --manual --debug --email -d -d

(Note: replace ‘’ with your domain)

After this, I was provided with a URL which I had to upload a file to (used to verify domain ownership), then my certificate was issued on the spot!

I was definitely surprised at how simple the process was, and looking forward to trying out the automation tools. Kudos to the Let’s Encrypt team!

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