Setup Letsencrypt SSL on raspberry pi

I love letsencrypt. It’s free SSL, it’s saver because of the auto-renewal and it’s so easy to setup. No more emailing around validating company name and whatnot.

If you’ve followed the previous steps you would not have installed git, check with git --version When it gives an error install git first with sudo apt-get install -y git

Now get the letsencrypt software and prepare the folder which letsencrypt will use.

sudo git clone /opt/letsencrypt
sudo mkdir /var/www/letsencrypt
sudo chown www-data:www-data /var/www/letsencrypt

Add the first part of the letsencrypt config to nginx sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
Before the final } add this:

location /.well-known/acme-challenge {
    root /var/www/letsencrypt;

And reload nginx sudo nginx -t && sudo service nginx reload

Getting the ssl certificate

So now we can generate and validate the ssl certificates. With the command below.
The email-address is used only for checks and warnings so I recommend an email which you do check. And of course change the domain. We will get a certificate for both www and non-www domain.

sudo /opt/letsencrypt/certbot-auto certonly -a webroot --webroot-path=/var/www/letsencrypt/ --rsa-key-size=4096 -m -d -d

When running this the first time It might take a long time, just be patient. When it is done we add the certificates to the nginx configuration: sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

listen 443 ssl default_server;

ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/;
ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/;

sudo service nginx reload

Test if ssl is working on both www and non-www. If it’s working then the next step is forcing ssl all the time.


server {
    listen 80;

And replace it with:

server {
    listen      80;
    rewrite     ^   https://$server_name$request_uri? permanent;
server {
    listen 443 ssl;

    ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/;
    ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/;

As usual reload sudo nginx -t && sudo service nginx reload


certbot renew

Installing Mysql/MariaDB on a Rapsberry Pi

Here we will install MariaDB. The performance is better and it’s more open source. There are a few differences but nothing you will notice during normal daily use.

Installing mariadb:

sudo apt-get install -y mariadb-server-10.0

Alternative if you don’t want to get out of your comfort zone use mysql:

sudo apt-get install -y mysql-server

During this install you will get asked for a SQL root password. Choose a long secure password. You will need it later to make a database so also store it somewhere save.

After it’s done check the version with mysql --version. It should be 10.0.30-MariaDB or higher.

Creating a database and user

To create a database we are going to login to MySQL with the following command.

mysql -uroot -p

It will ask for the mysql password. After that the commandline will be different. We are going to create a database and a user and connect them.

CREATE DATABASE raspimain_db;

Next we create a user, be sure to replace the password!

CREATE USER 'raspimain_user'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY '%%SAFE_PASSWORD%%';

Then we need to connect the user to that database.

GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON `raspimain_db`.* TO `raspimain_user`@`localhost`;

Next we 2 commands are pretty self explanatory.


To test if it worked login in to mysql with that user.

mysql -u raspimain_user raspimain_db -p

This time use the password you used to create the user. Check if the raspimain_db is in the list of databases.


If it is use EXIT; to exit the mysql promt.

Installing Nginx on a Rapsberry Pi

In this step we are going to install a webserver (nginx). For those who are bit familiar with webservers you might wonder why we are not using apache? I myself are far more familiar with Apache but Nginx just has better performance. And on the not that powerful pi that is important.

Install Nxing

Like with php we want a newer version. So again we will use the buster source. It should install 1.13 (although 1.13 is the newest) To install nginx run the command:

sudo apt-get install -y -t buster nginx

Check the version nginx -v it should be version nginx/1.13.3 or higher

To test if it works enter the IP address in the browser. You should see this page. nginx-default-page

If you see an error most likely IPv6 isn’t supported. Open the nginx config file.

sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default

At the top you should see these lines

    listen 80 default_server;
    listen [::]:80 default_server;

Change them to:

    listen 80 default_server;
    #listen [::]:80 default_server;

Save then restart nginx.

sudo nginx -t && sudo service nginx reload

Then test the page again in the browser.

Setting up a site with php and url

First we will do some global settings open: sudo nano /etc/nginx/nginx.conf
At this part add the last line.

http {

        # Basic Settings

        client_max_body_size 64M;

Next open: sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default
Add at the end

upstream php {
    server unix:/tmp/php-cgi.socket;

Note: for the example I use replace that with the url you want to use. If you don’t have the url setup yet you can add it to you own host file. Or instead of the url use the IP-address of the Pi.

We will create our own vhost files. PS I’ll be using but use whatever you intend to use. Create the vhost file: sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/

server {
    listen 80;

    root /var/www/;

    index index.php index.html;

    location / {
        try_files $uri $uri/ =404;

    location ~ \.php$ {
            include snippets/fastcgi-php.conf;
            fastcgi_pass unix:/var/run/php/php7.1-fpm.sock;

Next create the folders needed. Set the rights of those files and add a test page.

sudo mkdir /var/www/
sudo mkdir /var/www/
sudo touch /var/www/
sudo chown www-data:www-data /var/www/ -R
sudo nginx -t && sudo service nginx reload

In that file add sudo nano /var/www/


Save and reload the webpage you should see this:

Now we have a basic and functioning webserver with php.
For security sake delete the index.php file

sudo rm /var/www/ 

Next we will install mysql and configure a database.