See below to download the step-by-step instructions for this tutorial. It includes all the commands and everything you see in the video.
Introduction to Installing an SSL Certificate on CentOS 7
In this video lesson, you’re going to learn how to install a valid SSL certificate on a CentOS Linux Server running the Apache web server. By the way, the SSL certificate you’ll install will be issued by Let’s Encrypt entirely for free. Traditionally, you’ve had to pay for SSL certificates and renew them every year. With Let’s Encrypt that’s all changed.
SSL Certificate Installation Steps Overview
In this tutorial, you will learn how to install an SSL Certificate issued by Let’s Encrypt on a CentOS Linux system running the Apache web server. You will start out by installing Apache with mod_ssl. From there, you’ll add firewall rules to allow HTTP and HTTPS traffic. Next, you’ll enable the EPEL repository by installing the epel-release package. That will enable you to install the Certbot application and the Apache Certbot plugin. You will then create and install an SSL certificate using the Certbot utility. Finally, you’ll automate the certificate renewal process so that your site is never without a valid SSL certificate.
Why Install an SSL Certificate? (Do I Need an SSL Certificate?)
Before you start configuring your Linux server, I want to give you some important background information. As a quick reminder, SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and it allows for encrypted communications between a user’s web browser and a web server.
It’s important to use SSL any time sensitive data is involved such as credit card numbers, personal information, and authentication credentials such as passwords. Even if your web server is not handling sensitive information, using SSL can enhance the trust of your visitors to your site. Some web browsers now warn users that the site is “not secure” if it’s not using SSL.
Also, search engines such as Google, rank SSL enabled web sites hiring in search results, so there is an SEO or Search Engine Optimization, benefit as well.
Prerequisites and Information Needed for an SSL Certificate
By the way, this video makes a couple of assumptions. The first one is that your Linux system is running CentOS or RedHat Enterprise Linux. The second one is that your system is accessible over the public Internet. The last assumption is that your server has a valid DNS entry that points to your Linux system. For example, if your domain is www.example.com, when someone types in that domain in the web browser, they are actually connecting to your Linux server. I’ve included some additional information about the DNS configuration in the project documentation.
NOTE: This tutorial demonstrates the installation of an SSL certificate for the demo.linuxtrainingacademy.com domain. Even though this domain will be used throughout this tutorial, you must use your own domain when following along.