Setup Nginx with HTTP/2 and Let’s Encrypt Certificates on Ubuntu 17.04 | 17.10

Major webservers like Apache2, Nginx and others are beginning to include HTTP/2 (HTTP version 2) support into their builds and making the protocol readily available. HTTP/2 is the newer version to HTTP/1 which has been the default protocol since it was standardized way back in the year 1999.

It has functioned as the defacto protocol since until HTTP/2 (version 2) was recently standardized.

This brief tutorial is going to show students and new users how to install and configure Nginx with HTTP/2 and Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates.Some of the key benefits of HTTP/2 are:

  • Single, persistent connection
  • Multiplexing
  • Header compression
  • Resource prioritization
  • Secure transport layer

So, as you can see, there are great benefits for those who upgrade to HTTP/2.

HTTP/2 only works with webserver with SSL/TLS enabled… so to get HTTP/2 working you must first install and enable SSL/TLS certificates. Follow the steps below to get Let’s Encrypt installed and configured.

STEP 1: SETUP LET’S ENCRYPT FREE SSL / TLS

The first step is obtaining SSL/TLS certificates for your domain or site. Since Let’s Encrypt is free, continue below to obtain your free certificates to use.

Before obtaining Let’s Encrypt certificates, make sure your Nginx configuration is setup correctly… for your site config file, make sure the ServerName is defined with both www and non www.

server {
    listen 80;
    listen [::]:80;
    root /var/www/html/example.com;
    index  index.php index.html index.htm;
    server_name  example.com www.example.com;
.............
.............

When those settings are confirmed, continue below to get the certificate for your domain name.

To get the Let’s Encrypt SSL/TLS client installed on Ubuntu, run the commands below

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:certbot/certbot
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install python-certbot-nginx

After that run the commands below to obtain your free Let’s Encrypt SSL/TLS certificate for your site.

sudo certbot --nginx -m admin@example.com -d example.com -d www.example.com

After running the above commands, you should get prompted to accept the licensing terms. If everything is checked, the client should automatically install the free SSL/TLS certificate and configure the Nginx site to use the certs.

Please read the Terms of Service at
https://letsencrypt.org/documents/LE-SA-v1.2-November-15-2017.pdf. You must
agree in order to register with the ACME server at
https://acme-v01.api.letsencrypt.org/directory
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(A)gree/(C)ancel: A

Choose Yes ( Y ) to share your email address

Would you be willing to share your email address with the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, a founding partner of the Let's Encrypt project and the non-profit
organization that develops Certbot? We'd like to send you email about EFF and
our work to encrypt the web, protect its users and defend digital rights.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(Y)es/(N)o: Y

This is how easy is it to obtain your free SSL/TLS certificate for your Nginx powered website.

Please choose whether or not to redirect HTTP traffic to HTTPS, removing HTTP access.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1: No redirect - Make no further changes to the webserver configuration.
2: Redirect - Make all requests redirect to secure HTTPS access. Choose this for
new sites, or if you're confident your site works on HTTPS. You can undo this
change by editing your web server's configuration.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Select the appropriate number [1-2] then [enter] (press 'c' to cancel): 2

Pick option 2 to redirect all traffic over HTTPS. This is important!

After that, the SSL client should install the cert and configure your website to redirect all traffic over HTTPS.

Congratulations! You have successfully enabled https://example.com and
https://www.example.com

You should test your configuration at:
https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/analyze.html?d=example.com
https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/analyze.html?d=www.example.com
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

IMPORTANT NOTES:
 - Congratulations! Your certificate and chain have been saved at:
   /etc/letsencrypt/live/example.com/fullchain.pem
   Your key file has been saved at:
   /etc/letsencrypt/live/example.com/privkey.pem
   Your cert will expire on 2018-02-24. To obtain a new or tweaked
   version of this certificate in the future, simply run certbot again
   with the "certonly" option. To non-interactively renew *all* of
   your certificates, run "certbot renew"
 - If you like Certbot, please consider supporting our work by:

   Donating to ISRG / Let's Encrypt:   https://letsencrypt.org/donate
   Donating to EFF:                    https://eff.org/donate-le

The highlighted code block should be added to your Nginx site configuration file automatically by Let’s Encrypt certbot. Your site is ready to be used over HTTPS.

server {
    listen 80;
    listen [::]:80;
    root /var/www/html/example.com;
    index  index.php index.html index.htm;
    server_name  example.com www.example.com;

    location / {
        try_files $uri $uri/ =404;       
    }
location ~ /.well-known {
                allow all;
        }
..........
..........  

    listen 443 ssl; # managed by Certbot
    ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/example.com/fullchain.pem; # managed by Certbot
    ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/example.com/privkey.pem; # managed by Certbot
    include /etc/letsencrypt/options-ssl-nginx.conf; # managed by Certbot
    ssl_dhparam /etc/letsencrypt/ssl-dhparams.pem; # managed by Certbot

    if ($scheme != "https") {
        return 301 https://$host$request_uri;
    } # managed by Certbot

    # Redirect non-https traffic to https
    # if ($scheme != "https") {
    #     return 301 https://$host$request_uri;
    # } # managed by Certbot

}

STEP 2: CHANGE NGINX TO USE HTTP/2

Now that Let’s Encrypt SSL/TLS certificates have been added for this domain go and change Nginx to use HTTP/2 configuration. Change the highlighted portion below in purple of the configuration file as shown below

 

    listen 443 ssl http2;
    listen [::]:443 ssl http2; # managed by Certbot
    ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/example.com/fullchain.pem; # managed by Certbot
    ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/example.com/privkey.pem; # managed by Certbot
    include /etc/letsencrypt/options-ssl-nginx.conf; # managed by Certbot
    ssl_dhparam /etc/letsencrypt/ssl-dhparams.pem; # managed by Certbot

    if ($scheme != "https") {
        return 301 https://$host$request_uri;
    } # managed by Certbot

    # Redirect non-https traffic to https
    # if ($scheme != "https") {
    #     return 301 https://$host$request_uri;
    # } # managed by Certbot

Save the file and you’re done.

Now Nginx should be setup with HTTP/2 protocol.

Congratulation! You’ve successfully configured Nginx to use HTTP/2 protocols.

Enjoy!

To setup a process to automatically renew the certificates, add a cron job to execute the renewal process.

sudo crontab -e

Then add the line below and save.

0 1 * * * /usr/bin/certbot renew & > /dev/null

The cron job will attempt to renew 30 days before expiring

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Install WordPress WooCommerce Plugin on Ubuntu 17.04 / 17.10 with Apache2 Support

 

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