SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a protocol that provides secure communication over the internet. It uses cryptographic algorithms to encrypt data between the web server and the client’s browser. SSL is now deprecated, and TLS (Transport Layer Security) is the newer version that’s used widely.
In this tutorial, we’ll walk you through the steps to install and secure your website with SSL on Ubuntu 22.04 using Nginx. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a secure, encrypted connection between your web server and your users’ browsers, helping to ensure their safety and privacy.
Note: Originally, this blog was written for an old versions of Nginx and Ubuntu, I have updated to match the latest Ubuntu and Nginx recently.
Section 1: Installing Nginxon Ubuntu 22.04
Apache2 is a popular open-source web server software that plays a crucial role in hosting websites on the internet. In this section, we will walk through the process of installing Apache2 on Ubuntu 22.04.
Step 1: Update the Package List
Before installing any new software, it’s always a good idea to update the package list to ensure you are installing the latest version of the software. To update the package list, open the terminal on Ubuntu 22.04 and run the following command:
sudo apt update
Step 2: Install Nginx
Once the package list is updated, you can proceed with installing Nginx by running the following command:
sudo apt install nginx
This command will download and install Nginx along with all its dependencies. During the installation process, you will be prompted to confirm the installation by typing y and pressing Enter.
Enable and Start the Apache2 service
sudo systemctl enable nginx sudo systemctl start nginx
Step 3: Verify NginxInstallation
To test if Nginx is working correctly, open a web browser and enter your server’s IP address or domain name in the address bar. You should receive the default Nginx landing page:
Congratulations, you have successfully installed Nginx on Ubuntu 22.04! In the next section, we will proceed with securing the web server by enabling SSL.
If you encounter any issues like Connection timeout or Unable to reach the website during the verification process, one possible cause could be that the Ubuntu firewall is blocking nginx traffic.
To check if Nginx is currently enabled in the firewall, you can use the Nginx is not listed as an allowed service, you can add it by running the following command:
sudo ufw allow 'Nginx Full'
This will allow both HTTP (port 80) and HTTPS (port 443) traffic to pass through the firewall, ensuring that your website is accessible to visitors.
Section 2: Installing SSL Certificate on Ubuntu 22.04 with Nginx
There are different types of SSL certificates, including domain validated, organization validated, and extended validation certificates. Each type has different features and provides varying levels of trust and security.
To install an SSL certificate on Ubuntu 22.04 with Nginx, you’ll need to follow these steps:
You can read more about different SSL certificate types, the process to create a Certificate signing request(CSR), etc in the below blog post:
Here are the steps for creating and configuring virtual hosts for Apache on Ubuntu 22.04:
1. Create a new virtual host configuration file:
sudo nano /etc/nginx/sites-available/linuxwebhostingsupport.in
Add the following configuration to the file, replacing linuxwebhostingsupport.in with your own domain name:
Note: replace the paths to SSL certificate files with your own paths.
2. Create the documentroot
Run the following command to create the directory:
sudo mkdir -p /var/www/html/linuxwebhostingsupport.in/html
3. Test the Nginx configuration:
sudo nginx -t
If there are any issues, this check will show
4. Enable the virtual host configuration file:
If the configuration test is successful, enable the server block by creating a symbolic link in the /etc/nginx/sites-enabled directory:
sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/linuxwebhostingsupport.in /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/
5. Create an HTML file named index.html in the new directory by running the following command:
sudo nano /var/www/html/linuxwebhostingsupport.in/html/index.html
This will open a text editor. Add the following code to the file:
5. Reload Nginx for the changes to take effect:
sudo systemctl reload Nginx
Section 3: Testing SSL on Ubuntu 22.04 with Nginx
Test your SSL configuration by visiting your domain in a web browser and verifying that the SSL certificate is valid and the website loads correctly over HTTPS. The browser should display a padlock icon and the connection should be secure
You can also use the online tools like https://www.sslshopper.com/ssl-checker.html to check the configuration further. It can show if there any issues with certificate chain or trust.
Section 4. Troubleshooting SSL on Ubuntu 22.04 with Apache2
1. Certificate errors: If you encounter a certificate error, such as a warning that the certificate is not trusted or has expired, check the certificate’s validity and ensure it’s installed correctly. You can check the certificate’s details using your web browser, and make sure it matches the domain name and other relevant details.
2. Mixed content warnings: If you see mixed content warnings, which indicate that some parts of the site are not secure, check for any resources that are still being loaded over HTTP instead of HTTPS. This can include images, scripts, and other files.
3. SSL handshake errors: If you see an SSL handshake error, this usually means there’s an issue with the SSL configuration. Check your Apache configuration files and make sure the SSL directives are properly set up. You can also check for any issues with the SSL certificate, such as an invalid or mismatched domain name.
4. Server configuration errors: If the SSL certificate is working properly, but the site is still not loading over HTTPS, check your server configuration files to make sure the VirtualHost configuration is correct. Make sure the correct SSL certificate and key files are specified and that the SSL directives are set up correctly.
5. Browser-specific issues: If you’re only experiencing SSL issues in a specific web browser, make sure the browser is up to date and try clearing the cache and cookies. You can also try disabling any browser extensions that may be interfering with the SSL connection.
Remember, troubleshooting SSL issues can be complex and may require some technical expertise. If you’re not comfortable with these steps or need additional help, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional. You can contact me at admin @ linuxwebhostingsupport.in
Section 5: Best Practices for SSL Configuration on Ubuntu 22.04 with Apache2
Here are some tips and best practices for configuring SSL on Ubuntu 22.04 with Apache2:
1. Keep SSL certificates up to date: Make sure to renew your SSL certificates before they expire. This can be done through the certificate authority where you purchased the certificate. Keeping your SSL certificates up to date will ensure that your website visitors are not presented with security warnings or errors.
2. Configure Nginx for HTTPS-only access: To ensure that your website visitors are accessing your site securely, configure your Nginx server to only serve HTTPS traffic. This can be done by redirecting all HTTP traffic to HTTPS. To do this, add the red colored line to your server block of Nginx virtual host configuration file:
3. Use secure ciphers and protocols: To protect the confidentiality and integrity of your website traffic, use secure ciphers and protocols. Disable weak ciphers and protocols such as SSLv2 and SSLv3. Use TLSv1.2 or higher, and prefer the use of forward secrecy. You can configure this in your Nginx virtual host configuration file by adding the following lines:
ssl_protocols TLSv1.2; ssl_prefer_server_ciphers on; ssl_ciphers ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:ECDHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:DHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:DHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:ECDHE-RSA-AES256-SHA384:ECDHE-RSA-AES128-SHA256:ECDHE-RSA-AES256-SHA:ECDHE-RSA-AES128-SHA:DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA256:DHE-RSA-AES128-SHA256:DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA:DHE-RSA-AES128-SHA; ssl_session_timeout 1d; ssl_session_cache shared:SSL:10m; ssl_session_tickets off; ssl_stapling on; ssl_stapling_verify on;
Make sure to adjust the file paths and other configuration options to match your specific setup.
You can find more detailed instruction on making your SSL configuration strong and best practices in the below post:
By following these best practices, you can ensure that your SSL configuration is secure and up to date.
Section 6. Summary
In this tutorial, we discussed how to install and configure SSL certificates on Ubuntu 22.04 with Nginx. We covered the different types of SSL certificates, the steps for obtaining and installing an SSL certificate, and how to configure Nginx to use the SSL certificate. We also discussed how to create virtual hosts for both SSL and non-SSL sites and how to troubleshoot SSL issues.
It’s important to emphasize the importance of SSL for website security and user trust. SSL encryption helps protect sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card numbers, from being intercepted by attackers. Additionally, having a valid SSL certificate gives users confidence that they are interacting with a legitimate website and not an imposter.
To follow best practices for SSL configuration, it’s recommended to keep SSL certificates up to date, configure Nginx for HTTPS-only access, and use secure ciphers and protocols. By following these best practices, website owners can help ensure the security and trustworthiness of their website.