Get Certbot

About Certbot

Certbot is packaged for many common operating systems and web servers. Check whether certbot (or letsencrypt) is packaged for your web server’s OS by visiting, where you will also find the correct installation instructions for your system.


Unless you have very specific requirements, we kindly suggest that you use the Certbot packages provided by your package manager (see If such packages are not available, we recommend using certbot-auto, which automates the process of installing Certbot on your system.

System Requirements

Certbot currently requires Python 2.6, 2.7, or 3.3+. By default, it requires root access in order to write to /etc/letsencrypt, /var/log/letsencrypt, /var/lib/letsencrypt; to bind to ports 80 and 443 (if you use the standalone plugin) and to read and modify webserver configurations (if you use the apache or nginx plugins). If none of these apply to you, it is theoretically possible to run without root privileges, but for most users who want to avoid running an ACME client as root, either letsencrypt-nosudo or simp_le are more appropriate choices.

The Apache plugin currently requires an OS with augeas version 1.0; currently it supports modern OSes based on Debian, Fedora, SUSE, Gentoo and Darwin.

Installing with certbot-auto requires 512MB of RAM in order to build some of the dependencies. Installing from pre-built OS packages avoids this requirement. You can also temporarily set a swap file. See “Problems with Python virtual environment” below for details.

Alternate installation methods

If you are offline or your operating system doesn’t provide a package, you can use an alternate method for installing certbot.


The certbot-auto wrapper script installs Certbot, obtaining some dependencies from your web server OS and putting others in a python virtual environment. You can download and run it as follows:

user@webserver:~$ wget
user@webserver:~$ chmod a+x ./certbot-auto
user@webserver:~$ ./certbot-auto --help


The certbot-auto download is protected by HTTPS, which is pretty good, but if you’d like to double check the integrity of the certbot-auto script, you can use these steps for verification before running it:

user@server:~$ wget -N
user@server:~$ gpg2 --recv-key A2CFB51FA275A7286234E7B24D17C995CD9775F2
user@server:~$ gpg2 --trusted-key 4D17C995CD9775F2 --verify certbot-auto.asc certbot-auto

The certbot-auto command updates to the latest client release automatically. Since certbot-auto is a wrapper to certbot, it accepts exactly the same command line flags and arguments. For more information, see Certbot command-line options.

For full command line help, you can type:

./certbot-auto --help all

Problems with Python virtual environment

On a low memory system such as VPS with less than 512MB of RAM, the required dependencies of Certbot will fail to build. This can be identified if the pip outputs contains something like internal compiler error: Killed (program cc1). You can workaround this restriction by creating a temporary swapfile:

user@webserver:~$ sudo fallocate -l 1G /tmp/swapfile
user@webserver:~$ sudo chmod 600 /tmp/swapfile
user@webserver:~$ sudo mkswap /tmp/swapfile
user@webserver:~$ sudo swapon /tmp/swapfile

Disable and remove the swapfile once the virtual environment is constructed:

user@webserver:~$ sudo swapoff /tmp/swapfile
user@webserver:~$ sudo rm /tmp/swapfile

Running with Docker

Docker is an amazingly simple and quick way to obtain a certificate. However, this mode of operation is unable to install certificates or configure your webserver, because our installer plugins cannot reach your webserver from inside the Docker container.

Most users should use the operating system packages (see instructions at or, as a fallback, certbot-auto. You should only use Docker if you are sure you know what you are doing and have a good reason to do so.

You should definitely read the Where are my certificates? section, in order to know how to manage the certs manually. Our ciphersuites page provides some information about recommended ciphersuites. If none of these make much sense to you, you should definitely use the certbot-auto method, which enables you to use installer plugins that cover both of those hard topics.

If you’re still not convinced and have decided to use this method, from the server that the domain you’re requesting a cert for resolves to, install Docker, then issue the following command:

sudo docker run -it --rm -p 443:443 -p 80:80 --name certbot \
            -v "/etc/letsencrypt:/etc/letsencrypt" \
            -v "/var/lib/letsencrypt:/var/lib/letsencrypt" \
            certbot/certbot certonly

Running Certbot with the certonly command will obtain a certificate and place it in the directory /etc/letsencrypt/live on your system. Because Certonly cannot install the certificate from within Docker, you must install the certificate manually according to the procedure recommended by the provider of your webserver.

For more information about the layout of the /etc/letsencrypt directory, see Where are my certificates?.

Operating System Packages

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S certbot


If you run Debian Stretch or Debian Sid, you can install certbot packages.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install certbot python-certbot-apache

If you don’t want to use the Apache plugin, you can omit the python-certbot-apache package.

Packages exist for Debian Jessie via backports. First you’ll have to follow the instructions at to enable the Jessie backports repo, if you have not already done so. Then run:

sudo apt-get install certbot python-certbot-apache -t jessie-backports


sudo dnf install certbot python2-certbot-apache


  • Port: cd /usr/ports/security/py-certbot && make install clean
  • Package: pkg install py27-certbot


The official Certbot client is available in Gentoo Portage. If you want to use the Apache plugin, it has to be installed separately:

emerge -av app-crypt/certbot
emerge -av app-crypt/certbot-apache

When using the Apache plugin, you will run into a “cannot find a cert or key directive” error if you’re sporting the default Gentoo httpd.conf. You can fix this by commenting out two lines in /etc/apache2/httpd.conf as follows:


<IfDefine SSL>
LoadModule ssl_module modules/


#<IfDefine SSL>
LoadModule ssl_module modules/

For the time being, this is the only way for the Apache plugin to recognise the appropriate directives when installing the certificate. Note: this change is not required for the other plugins.


  • Build from source: cd /usr/pkgsrc/security/py-certbot && make install clean
  • Install pre-compiled package: pkg_add py27-certbot


  • Port: cd /usr/ports/security/letsencrypt/client && make install clean
  • Package: pkg_add letsencrypt

Other Operating Systems

OS packaging is an ongoing effort. If you’d like to package Certbot for your distribution of choice please have a look at the Packaging Guide.

Installing from source

Installation from source is only supported for developers and the whole process is described in the Developer Guide.


Please do not use python install, python pip install ., or easy_install .. Please do not attempt the installation commands as superuser/root and/or without virtual environment, e.g. sudo python install, sudo pip install, sudo ./venv/bin/.... These modes of operation might corrupt your operating system and are not supported by the Certbot team!