Certbot verification fails

Certbot returns the error:

Unable to find a virtual host listening on port 80 which is currently needed for Certbot to prove to the CA that you control your domain. Please add a virtual host for port 80.

This is after a fresh install. I’m keeping it simple and not using any virtual hosts, etc. Just a few pages in the /var/www/html directory. httpd is enabled and I can access the website in my browser.

What am I doing wrong?

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Kamal Nasser
DigitalOcean Employee
DigitalOcean Employee badge
February 21, 2018
Accepted Answer

As far as I know, Certbot supports virtual hosts only, so it won’t be able to proceed if you don’t have any configured. Try adding a basic virtual host like so and see if that helps:

<VirtualHost *:80>
    DocumentRoot /var/www/html
    ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
    CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined

In case anyone else runs into this: I’ve run into this problem before (and again today); apache is endlessly configurable, and the certbot apache module is not able to cope with every configuration. I have the document root for various virtual hosts in different directories. Even though apache is quite happy with this, the certbot module is not always happy. I solved my problem using the --apache-vhost-root option:

certbot --apache certonly --apache-vhost-root /var/www/html/www

and it solved my problem. For help see:

certbot --help apache

Also don’t forget to a2ensite 000-default

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