TLS certificates#

An SSL/TLS certificate is a digital object issued by a Certificate Authority (CA). The certificate is used to verify the identity of a host and to establish encrypted communication channels. Upon installation, NethServer 8 uses a default self-signed certificate for all TLS services, including the Web user interface.

Let’s Encrypt certificates#

NethServer 8 can request valid Let’s Encrypt certificates using traefik.

Requesting Let’s Encrypt is possible if the following requirements are met:

  1. the server must be reachable from outside on port 80. Make sure your port 80 is open to the public Internet (you can check with sites like CSM)

  2. the domains for which you want the certificate must be public domain names associated with the server’s own public IP. Make sure you have public DNS names pointing to your server for both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. There are plenty of sites like VDNS to check if the DNS is correctly configured.


Wildcard certificates (i.e. * are not supported.

If the above requirements are met, you can obtain a valid certificate for a domain by following these steps:

  • access the Settings page and click the TLS certificates card

  • click on Request certificate button

  • enter the node FQDN and select the node

  • click on Request certificate button

The procedure will take a while, but the system will notify you when the certificate is ready. The Let’s Encrypt certificate is automatically renewed 30 days before expiration.

If the procedure fails, the certificate status is set to Not obtained and an error notification is displayed.

Failures may occur if the DNS record is not correctly configured, or DNS update propagation is slower than expected. In both cases Traefik retries to obtain the certificate at a later time when:

  • the Traefik service is restarted, or

  • an HTTPS request that matches the certificate name is received.


Traefik stores the time of the last certificate issue attempt in memory. Do not restart Traefik too often, to avoid incurring in Let’s Encrypt rate limits.

Custom certificates#

If you are already in possession of a certificate and its private key, you can upload them to the cluster. You can follow this procedure to install the certificate:

  • access Settings page and click the TLS Certificates card

  • click on Upload certificate

  • once the modal is open, select the Traefik instance where the certificate will be installed to

  • upload the key file and the certificate file. They are checked on upload and if the key does not match the certificate, you receive an error

  • once selected the files for the upload, click on Upload

You receive an error if something with the upload goes wrong, otherwise the modal closes itself and the certificate list is refreshed.