Use the ACME DNS-Challenge to get a TLS certificate
Marco Franssen /
9 min read • 1730 words
In my previous 2 blogs I have shown you how to build a HTTP/2 webserver. In these blogs we have covered self signed TLS certificates as well retrieving a Certificate via Letsencrypt. I mentioned there you will have to expose your server publicly on the internet. However I now figured out there is another way. So please continue reading.
Let's Encrypt is a free, automated, and open certificate authority brought to you by the nonprofit Internet Security Research Group (ISRG).
Letsencrypt implements the ACME (Automated Certificate Management environment) protocol. In the ACME protocol there are 4 challenge types defined. Let's go briefly over these challenge types, so we can relate this back to my previous blogs before we are going to use the DNS challenge type.
This challenge can only be performed on port 80. The client will temporarely place a file on the webserver in the following path.
Once the ACME client tells Letsecrypt the file is there it will be retrieved to authenticate and validate. Upon success you will receive the certificate. For this challenge your webserver has to be publicly reacheable on port 80.
This challenge requires you to prove the ownership of a domain name. It also allows for issuing wildcard certificates. After receiving a token the client will have to create a DNS
TXT record with the following contents.
Letsencrypt will query for this DNS record. Once verified, the client can issue the certificate. As automation is important there is a large amount of DNS providers that expose an API. For this challenge your webserver does not have to be exposes on the internet, and is therefore very convenient to issue development certificates for a domain you personally own.
This challenge was defined in draft versions of ACME. It did a TLS handshake on port 443 and sent a specific SNI header, looking for certificate that contained the token. It was disabled in March 2019 because it was not secure enough. So let's quickly forget about this one.
This challenge can be performed on port 443 over TLS only. This challenge is not suitable for most people. It is best suited to authors of TLS-terminating reverse proxies that want to perform host-based validation like HTTP-01, but want to do it entirely at the TLS layer in order to separate concerns.
So now we know a bit about the different ACME Challenge types lets see what we have used in the previous blog. In this blog we had to publicly expose our webserver to be able to request a certificate. The main reason for this is that the
golang.org/x/crypto/acme/autocert does not offer the DNS-01 challenge implementation. We have been using the HTTP-01 challenge on this server to get our certificate.
So now lets focus on how we can issue a certificate via the DNS-01 challenge type. As a fan of the Go programming language I found a bunch of other libraries and tools implementing the ACME protocol. These do implement the DNS-01 challenge type.
In this blog I will show you a small example using the Lego cli to issue a certificate for your domain. I'm utilizing for that the Gandi Live DNS (v5) as a DNS Provider.
First I will install Lego from sources using Go. Please note you will require
$ GO111MODULE=on go get -u github.com/go-acme/lego/v3/cmd/lego go: found github.com/go-acme/lego/v3/cmd/lego in github.com/go-acme/lego/v3 v3.5.0 ... ... ... $ lego -h NAME: lego - Let's Encrypt client written in Go USAGE: lego [global options] command [command options] [arguments...] VERSION: dev COMMANDS: run Register an account, then create and install a certificate revoke Revoke a certificate renew Renew a certificate dnshelp Shows additional help for the '--dns' global option list Display certificates and accounts information. help, h Shows a list of commands or help for one command ... ... ...
If you don't have Go installed on your machine, there is also a Docker container available.
$ docker run goacme/lego -h NAME: lego - Let's Encrypt client written in Go USAGE: lego [global options] command [command options] [arguments...] VERSION: v3.5.0 COMMANDS: run Register an account, then create and install a certificate revoke Revoke a certificate renew Renew a certificate dnshelp Shows additional help for the '--dns' global option list Display certificates and accounts information. help, h Shows a list of commands or help for one command ... ... ...
For my Gandi Live DNS, I will have to provide my Gandi API Key to be able to communicate with their API. In below example I show you a dummy key, so don't expect this to work for you.
$ export GANDIV5_API_KEY=G4nD1v5L1v3DNSDummyK3y $ lego --dns gandiv5 -d marcofranssen.nl -d '*.marcofranssen.nl' -a -m [email protected] run 2020/04/11 13:31:42 No key found for account [email protected]. Generating a P384 key. 2020/04/11 13:31:42 Saved key to /Users/marco/.lego/accounts/acme-v02.api.letsencrypt.org/[email protected]/keys/[email protected] 2020/04/11 13:31:43 [INFO] acme: Registering account for [email protected] !!!! HEADS UP !!!! Your account credentials have been saved in your Let's Encrypt configuration directory at "/Users/marco/.lego/accounts". You should make a secure backup of this folder now. This configuration directory will also contain certificates and private keys obtained from Let's Encrypt so making regular backups of this folder is ideal. 2020/04/11 13:36:11 [INFO] [mac-dev.marcofranssen.nl] acme: Obtaining bundled SAN certificate 2020/04/11 13:36:12 [INFO] [mac-dev.marcofranssen.nl] AuthURL: https://acme-v02.api.letsencrypt.org/acme/authz-v3/3894178945 2020/04/11 13:36:12 [INFO] [mac-dev.marcofranssen.nl] acme: Could not find solver for: tls-alpn-01 2020/04/11 13:36:12 [INFO] [mac-dev.marcofranssen.nl] acme: Could not find solver for: http-01 2020/04/11 13:36:12 [INFO] [mac-dev.marcofranssen.nl] acme: use dns-01 solver 2020/04/11 13:36:12 [INFO] [mac-dev.marcofranssen.nl] acme: Preparing to solve DNS-01 2020/04/11 13:36:13 [INFO] API response: DNS Record Created 2020/04/11 13:36:13 [INFO] [mac-dev.marcofranssen.nl] acme: Trying to solve DNS-01 2020/04/11 13:36:13 [INFO] [mac-dev.marcofranssen.nl] acme: Checking DNS record propagation using [22.214.171.124:53 126.96.36.199:53] 2020/04/11 13:36:13 [INFO] Wait for propagation [timeout: 20m0s, interval: 20s] 2020/04/11 13:36:14 [INFO] [mac-dev.marcofranssen.nl] acme: Waiting for DNS record propagation. 2020/04/11 13:36:34 [INFO] [mac-dev.marcofranssen.nl] acme: Waiting for DNS record propagation. 2020/04/11 13:36:54 [INFO] [mac-dev.marcofranssen.nl] acme: Waiting for DNS record propagation. 2020/04/11 13:37:14 [INFO] [mac-dev.marcofranssen.nl] acme: Waiting for DNS record propagation. 2020/04/11 13:37:41 [INFO] [mac-dev.marcofranssen.nl] The server validated our request 2020/04/11 13:37:41 [INFO] [mac-dev.marcofranssen.nl] acme: Cleaning DNS-01 challenge 2020/04/11 13:37:41 [INFO] [mac-dev.marcofranssen.nl] acme: Validations succeeded; requesting certificates 2020/04/11 13:37:42 [INFO] [mac-dev.marcofranssen.nl] Server responded with a certificate.
Now lets inspect the certificate we received. Please note there is also a
.key file in the same location which you will have to deploy at your webserver. For security reasons I will not share my key over here.
$ cat .lego/certificates/mac-dev.marcofranssen.nl.crt -----BEGIN CERTIFICATE----- MIIEuTCCA6GgAwIBAgISBLbVpvyGBSKWR+C/qPw+WAijMA0GCSqGSIb3DQEBCwUA MEoxCzAJBgNVBAYTAlVTMRYwFAYDVQQKEw1MZXQncyBFbmNyeXB0MSMwIQYDVQQD ExpMZXQncyBFbmNyeXB0IEF1dGhvcml0eSBYMzAeFw0yMDA0MTExMDM3NDJaFw0y MDA3MTAxMDM3NDJaMCMxITAfBgNVBAMTGG1hYy1kZXYubWFyY29mcmFuc3Nlbi5u bDB2MBAGByqGSM49AgEGBSuBBAAiA2IABJVkLy+89NjDUcJ7Ym0tOSODV8h/HrGF 29u7sTbg6yicu4uETIjNn5yNeFXVaz9NfJ39iiwPCkyP6G35g46YNqv5xAlg2uid Io0jiaR/A4S/JX4loD+U0b2FUxXPCyUwpaOCAmwwggJoMA4GA1UdDwEB/wQEAwIH gDAdBgNVHSUEFjAUBggrBgEFBQcDAQYIKwYBBQUHAwIwDAYDVR0TAQH/BAIwADAd BgNVHQ4EFgQUhTdwoXTajiDC0WkwLzIhO/0jV4YwHwYDVR0jBBgwFoAUqEpqYwR9 3brm0Tm3pkVl7/Oo7KEwbwYIKwYBBQUHAQEEYzBhMC4GCCsGAQUFBzABhiJodHRw Oi8vb2NzcC5pbnQteDMubGV0c2VuY3J5cHQub3JnMC8GCCsGAQUFBzAChiNodHRw Oi8vY2VydC5pbnQteDMubGV0c2VuY3J5cHQub3JnLzAjBgNVHREEHDAaghhtYWMt ZGV2Lm1hcmNvZnJhbnNzZW4ubmwwTAYDVR0gBEUwQzAIBgZngQwBAgEwNwYLKwYB BAGC3xMBAQEwKDAmBggrBgEFBQcCARYaaHR0cDovL2Nwcy5sZXRzZW5jcnlwdC5v cmcwggEDBgorBgEEAdZ5AgQCBIH0BIHxAO8AdgDwlaRZ8gDRgkAQLS+TiI6tS/4d R+OZ4dA0prCoqo6ycwAAAXFpB/hLAAAEAwBHMEUCIGngr8eDf1aGEuueWIzdx8GV JGY5WhMOCM15Ij6VwJ29AiEA9WBTGf8xg3SoQXN3Sjgy/fYZu3Cs2lphHg3v0B4h tH8AdQCyHgXMi6LNiiBOh2b5K7mKJSBna9r6cOeySVMt74uQXgAAAXFpB/g/AAAE AwBGMEQCIEeoOJrnb1UH0XIorYLz9koKp4j0GVgqYgRvnTT517bnAiBgcrTEnvKw tCe7R3Ci9XS8dcJDjQVXTEs4rPV4gCRW8TANBgkqhkiG9w0BAQsFAAOCAQEATcqt lugYm7/7Z1R/IvBWct3E/bapMAhVz7alsClVeZHuv2vSX2LPgTp8ZXcgnf5RsXTw iYJ/ZXhEtUwQfrPYGWYuXeINEbQ2hjKivGLYrWRfHw2MEC/R7Z1/5t6ODtUuYYbr EHtCJ1I5XmmnqQvSoRBjbY1WtYskIZV2i1mk8eJv6z1FpBBkrrGFUaEXrw2HIBo1 K4zXwfxdnAb0PuBCVf+ds+EORhlMUWKf0yfSq9oAhZoitm4hS4BFC2ey8Y2dmuI9 I/EeVnxDPBFwWQ1Sbhinu0o1kjdYM2zO1nPZJjjyUDYJ+7Utq1zjvY7vENL7pmr/ pGu3XUZC2cD8LZRFkg== -----END CERTIFICATE----- -----BEGIN CERTIFICATE----- MIIEkjCCA3qgAwIBAgIQCgFBQgAAAVOFc2oLheynCDANBgkqhkiG9w0BAQsFADA/ MSQwIgYDVQQKExtEaWdpdGFsIFNpZ25hdHVyZSBUcnVzdCBDby4xFzAVBgNVBAMT DkRTVCBSb290IENBIFgzMB4XDTE2MDMxNzE2NDA0NloXDTIxMDMxNzE2NDA0Nlow SjELMAkGA1UEBhMCVVMxFjAUBgNVBAoTDUxldCdzIEVuY3J5cHQxIzAhBgNVBAMT GkxldCdzIEVuY3J5cHQgQXV0aG9yaXR5IFgzMIIBIjANBgkqhkiG9w0BAQEFAAOC AQ8AMIIBCgKCAQEAnNMM8FrlLke3cl03g7NoYzDq1zUmGSXhvb418XCSL7e4S0EF q6meNQhY7LEqxGiHC6PjdeTm86dicbp5gWAf15Gan/PQeGdxyGkOlZHP/uaZ6WA8 SMx+yk13EiSdRxta67nsHjcAHJyse6cF6s5K671B5TaYucv9bTyWaN8jKkKQDIZ0 Z8h/pZq4UmEUEz9l6YKHy9v6Dlb2honzhT+Xhq+w3Brvaw2VFn3EK6BlspkENnWA a6xK8xuQSXgvopZPKiAlKQTGdMDQMc2PMTiVFrqoM7hD8bEfwzB/onkxEz0tNvjj /PIzark5McWvxI0NHWQWM6r6hCm21AvA2H3DkwIDAQABo4IBfTCCAXkwEgYDVR0T AQH/BAgwBgEB/wIBADAOBgNVHQ8BAf8EBAMCAYYwfwYIKwYBBQUHAQEEczBxMDIG CCsGAQUFBzABhiZodHRwOi8vaXNyZy50cnVzdGlkLm9jc3AuaWRlbnRydXN0LmNv bTA7BggrBgEFBQcwAoYvaHR0cDovL2FwcHMuaWRlbnRydXN0LmNvbS9yb290cy9k c3Ryb290Y2F4My5wN2MwHwYDVR0jBBgwFoAUxKexpHsscfrb4UuQdf/EFWCFiRAw VAYDVR0gBE0wSzAIBgZngQwBAgEwPwYLKwYBBAGC3xMBAQEwMDAuBggrBgEFBQcC ARYiaHR0cDovL2Nwcy5yb290LXgxLmxldHNlbmNyeXB0Lm9yZzA8BgNVHR8ENTAz MDGgL6AthitodHRwOi8vY3JsLmlkZW50cnVzdC5jb20vRFNUUk9PVENBWDNDUkwu Y3JsMB0GA1UdDgQWBBSoSmpjBH3duubRObemRWXv86jsoTANBgkqhkiG9w0BAQsF AAOCAQEA3TPXEfNjWDjdGBX7CVW+dla5cEilaUcne8IkCJLxWh9KEik3JHRRHGJo uM2VcGfl96S8TihRzZvoroed6ti6WqEBmtzw3Wodatg+VyOeph4EYpr/1wXKtx8/ wApIvJSwtmVi4MFU5aMqrSDE6ea73Mj2tcMyo5jMd6jmeWUHK8so/joWUoHOUgwu X4Po1QYz+3dszkDqMp4fklxBwXRsW10KXzPMTZ+sOPAveyxindmjkW8lGy+QsRlG PfZ+G6Z6h7mjem0Y+iWlkYcV4PIWL1iwBi8saCbGS5jN2p8M+X+Q7UNKEkROb3N6 KOqkqm57TH2H3eDJAkSnh6/DNFu0Qg== -----END CERTIFICATE-----
To inspect the contents of your certificates you can simply run the following openssl command.
$ openssl x509 -in .lego/certificates/mac-dev.marcofranssen.nl.crt -noout -text Certificate: Data: Version: 3 (0x2) Serial Number: 04:b6:d5:a6:fc:86:05:22:96:47:e0:bf:a8:fc:3e:58:08:a3 Signature Algorithm: sha256WithRSAEncryption Issuer: C=US, O=Let's Encrypt, CN=Let's Encrypt Authority X3 Validity Not Before: Apr 11 10:37:42 2020 GMT Not After : Jul 10 10:37:42 2020 GMT Subject: CN=mac-dev.marcofranssen.nl Subject Public Key Info: Public Key Algorithm: id-ecPublicKey Public-Key: (384 bit) pub: 04:95:64:2f:2f:bc:f4:d8:c3:51:c2:7b:62:6d:2d: 39:23:83:57:c8:7f:1e:b1:85:db:db:bb:b1:36:e0: eb:28:9c:bb:8b:84:4c:88:cd:9f:9c:8d:78:55:d5: 6b:3f:4d:7c:9d:fd:8a:2c:0f:0a:4c:8f:e8:6d:f9: 83:8e:98:36:ab:f9:c4:09:60:da:e8:9d:22:8d:23: 89:a4:7f:03:84:bf:25:7e:25:a0:3f:94:d1:bd:85: 53:15:cf:0b:25:30:a5 ASN1 OID: secp384r1 NIST CURVE: P-384 X509v3 extensions: X509v3 Key Usage: critical Digital Signature X509v3 Extended Key Usage: TLS Web Server Authentication, TLS Web Client Authentication X509v3 Basic Constraints: critical CA:FALSE X509v3 Subject Key Identifier: 85:37:70:A1:74:DA:8E:20:C2:D1:69:30:2F:32:21:3B:FD:23:57:86 X509v3 Authority Key Identifier: keyid:A8:4A:6A:63:04:7D:DD:BA:E6:D1:39:B7:A6:45:65:EF:F3:A8:EC:A1 Authority Information Access: OCSP - URI:http://ocsp.int-x3.letsencrypt.org CA Issuers - URI:http://cert.int-x3.letsencrypt.org/ X509v3 Subject Alternative Name: DNS:mac-dev.marcofranssen.nl X509v3 Certificate Policies: Policy: 188.8.131.52.2.1 Policy: 184.108.40.206.4.1.449220.127.116.11 CPS: http://cps.letsencrypt.org
Last but not least you can very easily renew your certificate using Lego.
$ lego --dns gandiv5 -d mac-dev.marcofranssen.nl -a -m [email protected] renew 2020/04/11 13:49:23 [mac-dev.marcofranssen.nl] The certificate expires in 89 days, the number of days defined to perform the renewal is 30: no renewal.
Feel free to explore the other options of the cli yourself. There are plenty of DNS providers available.
Last but not least you will have to update your
/etc/hosts file to use the certificate on your laptop during development.
This allows me to navigate to my webserver running on localhost using https://mac-dev.marcofranssen.n. See my other 2 blogs on how to build a webserver in Go running on HTTPS or a webserver using Nginx. Simply use the
key file we just received via Letsencrypt.
Last but not least you will also find a reference to Traefik. Also Traefik makes use of Lego to be able to get your certificates in Traefik.
- Build a Go Webserver on HTTP/2 using Letsencrypt
- React Router and Nginx over HTTP/2
- Acme Challenge types
- Let’s Encrypt client and ACME library written in Go
- Lego DNS providers
- Certmagic: Easy and Powerful TLS Automation
- Caddy Server
Thanks for reading my blog, don't forget to share with your friends and colleagues. Together we can make the web a safer place, and this starts with your development, so you can use modern web features such as HTTP/2 and gRPC, which require you to use TLS.