Let’s Encrypt: certbot error “No vhost exists with servername or alias of”

It’s about time–or rather, years past time–I enabled HTTPS for this site. I decided to try Let’s Encrypt. It wasn’t as turnkey as I expected, so I’ve included some notes here in case anyone else has similar issues.

The Let’s Encrypt site suggested installing Certbot and included specific instructions for using Certbot with Apache on CentOS 7. It suggested that a single command might do the trick:

$ sudo certbot --apache

Unfortunately, I received a couple error messages and it was ultimately able to create the certificate for me, but unable to update my Apache configuration. An excerpt of the output of the certbot command is below:

Saving debug log to /var/log/letsencrypt/letsencrypt.log
No names were found in your configuration files. Please enter in your domain
name(s) (comma and/or space separated) (Enter 'c' to cancel):osric.com,www.osric.com
...
No vhost exists with servername or alias of: osric.com (or it's in a file with multiple vhosts, which Certbot can't parse yet). No vhost was selected. Please specify ServerName or ServerAlias in the Apache config, or split vhosts into separate files.
Falling back to default vhost *:443...
No vhost exists with servername or alias of: www.osric.com (or it's in a file with multiple vhosts, which Certbot can't parse yet). No vhost was selected. Please specify ServerName or ServerAlias in the Apache config, or split vhosts into separate files.
Falling back to default vhost *:443...
...
No vhost selected

IMPORTANT NOTES:
- Unable to install the certificate
...

I’m guessing it’s because my Apache virtual host configuration is in /etc/httpd/conf/vhosts/chris/osric.com instead of the expected location.

I looked at the certbot documentation hoping to find a way I could pass the certbot command the path to my virtual host configuration file. I did not find an option to do that. The logs at /var/log/letsencrypt/letsencrypt.log are fairly verbose, but it still does not indicate what files or directories it looked at to attempt to find my Apache configuration.

I noted that /etc/letsencrypt/options-ssl-apache.conf contains Apache directives. I thought maybe I could just include it in my config file using Apache’s Include directive, e.g.:

Include /etc/letsencrypt/options-ssl-apache.conf

I restarted Apache using systemctl (I know, I should be using apachectl restart instead):

$ sudo systemctl restart httpd
Job for httpd.service failed because the control process exited with error code. See "systemctl status httpd.service" and "journalctl -xe" for details.

Two problems there. One, options-ssl-apache.conf appears to be a generic file with no data specific to the host or cert. Additionally, I had just added it to a VirtualHost directive listening on port 80.

I duplicated the VirtualHost directive in my config file at /etc/httpd/conf/vhosts/chris/osric.com and made a few modifications and additions:

<IfModule mod_ssl.c>
<VirtualHost 216.154.220.53:443>
...all the directives from the port 80 VirtualHost...
SSLEngine on
SSLCertificateFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/osric.com/cert.pem
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/osric.com/privkey.pem
SSLCertificateChainFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/osric.com/chain.pem
</VirtualHost>
</IfModule>

I restarted Apache:

$ sudo apachectl restart

The server restarted, but still did not respond to HTTPS requests. It didn’t appear to be listening on 443:

$ curl https://www.osric.com
curl: (7) Failed connect to www.osric.com:443; Connection refused

As a sanity check, I confirmed that mod_ssl was indeed installed:

$ yum list mod_ssl
Installed Packages
mod_ssl.x86_64 1:2.4.6-45.el7.centos @base

And I checked to confirm that Apache was loading mod_ssl:

$ cat /etc/httpd/conf.modules.d/00-ssl.conf
LoadModule ssl_module modules/mod_ssl.so

I looked at some other Apache configurations where I knew SSL was working and I noted the Listen directive:

Listen 443

I added that line to the top of my configuration file at /etc/httpd/conf/vhosts/chris/osric.com, above the VirtualHost directive. I restarted Apache and it worked!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.