Linux Tactic

Maximizing Website Security and Performance with NGINX and Certbot

When it comes to website hosting, the server you use can make a big difference to your site’s speed and accessibility. A well-configured web server like NGINX can significantly improve site performance, providing faster and more reliable connections to your users.

In this article, we will explore the process of installing NGINX on Ubuntu, setting up a server block, and using Automating SSL Certificate renewal with certbot. Installing NGINX on Ubuntu:

The first step in configuring your web server is to install the NGINX software.

Installing it on an Ubuntu machine is simple using the terminal. Begin by updating the Ubuntu operating system, then proceed to install NGINX.

The installation process is straightforward and can be accomplished with a single command. Adding a Server Block:

To make NGINX work with your web pages, you need to create a server block that maps to your HTML files.

This process is not as complicated as it sounds, and only requires adding a few lines of code to the NGINX configuration file. You will need to create a server block for each domain name that you want to host on your server, pointing to the relevant HTML files.

Installing and Using Certbot:

Certbot is a free, automated tool for installing SSL certificates on a webserver. Installing SSL certificates on your server provides an encrypted connection between your server and the user’s web browser, ensuring that sensitive information stays private.

Using certbot provides an automated way to install these certificates, simplifying the process of setting up encryption on your site. Automating SSL Certificate Renewal with Certbot:

SSL certificates only last for a certain period.

However, with certbot, you can easily automate the renewal process so that you don’t need to worry about running out of time. By running a simple command, your SSL certificate will be renewed automatically, saving you time and effort in the long run.

Creating Directories and Updating Permissions:

It is essential to keep your files organized when configuring a web server. This includes creating directories for your web pages and ensuring that the correct user permissions are set.

Setting up directories and updating permissions is a critical step in configuring NGINX server block and enabling sites. Setting Up NGINX Server Block and Enabling Site:

Once you have all the necessary directories and permissions, you can create your server block and enable the site.

You can do this by setting up a new file in the /etc/nginx/sites-available directory that maps to the domain name that you want to host. The process involves adding specific directives to the server block configuration file, with the end result being a fully operational website.


In conclusion, configuring a web server with NGINX is not a difficult process, and it is an essential step to ensure that your website runs smoothly and quickly. With the right steps followed in the correct order, you can have an NGINX web server up and running in no time.

From installing the software to creating directories and enabling sites, the process is well documented, and online support is always available. By following these steps, you will be able to set up a customized, reliable NGINX web server and keep your site running smoothly and securely.

Creating DNS A Record

When it comes to hosting your website, you must be able to map your domain name to the public IP address of your web server. A DNS A record is responsible for this mapping.

The process of creating a DNS A record is straightforward and can be accomplished using a web-based domain provider’s control panel. Mapping Domain with NGINX Public IP Address:

To map your domain to the public IP address of your NGINX web server, you need to create a DNS A record with your domain registrar.

The process of creating a DNS A record can vary depending on your domain provider’s website, but the basic steps are the same. Navigate to the DNS management section of your provider’s control panel and add a new A record with your domain name and the public IP address of your webserver.

Checking the Setup using the Dig Command:

After creating the DNS A record, it is essential to verify that the setup is correct. To do this, you can use the ‘dig’ command from your terminal.

The dig command sends a DNS query to your domain registrar’s nameservers to verify that the A record pointing to your web server’s public IP address has propagated correctly. This command is an excellent way to check the status of your DNS A record and confirm that you can connect to your website via the domain name.

Setting up Certbot

Once you have your domain pointing to your web server and running on NGINX, you will need to install an SSL certificate to encrypt traffic between your web server and the user’s browser. Certbot is a popular and free open-source tool that automates the process of installing SSL certificates.

Certbot is easy to use and has many features that make it one of the most popular SSL certificate tools. Removing Existing Certbot Package:

If you already have Certbot installed on your web server and encounter problems with its configuration, you may need to remove the existing package before installing a fresh one.

To remove the old installation, stop the Certbot service and remove the package, ensuring to remove any associated files and directories. Installing Certbot Using Snaps:

Once you have removed the existing certificate installation, you can proceed to install Certbot using snaps.

Snaps are self-contained applications that enable simple software distribution and update management from the Snap store. Installing Certbot using snaps is straightforward, and you can do this by running a single command in your terminal.

Once the installation process is complete, you will have a fully functional Certbot installation on your server. Creating a Symlink to the Certbot Directory:

After installing Certbot, you will need to create a symlink to its directory to ensure that other web applications can locate it.

A symlink is a symbolic link that points to the Certbot directory and removes the need to remember where the Certbot directory is located. You can create this symlink easily using a terminal command.

Place the symlink in a common directory that your web applications can access. Verifying the Installation:

To ensure that the Certbot installation was successful, you can verify the version that you have installed using a single command from a terminal.

This simple command will display the version of Certbot and verify that the installation was successful. Once you have completed this step, you can move on to the final stage of configuring Certbot for use with NGINX.

In Conclusion

While configuring your web server can be a challenging and time-consuming process, creating DNS A records and installing SSL certificates are crucial steps to ensure that your site is fast, secure, and easy to access. By creating a DNS A record, you can map your domain name to the public IP address of your webserver, enabling visitors to connect via your domain name.

Installing Certbot is a simple yet essential step to ensure your user’s data is kept safe and secure. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can set up your DNS A record and Certbot installation with ease, and keep your website running smoothly and securely.

Installing Certificates

Certificates are an essential tool to ensure secure connections between the client and the webserver. The process of installing certificates involves installing testing certificates for error-checking, installing actual certificates, and checking certificate renewal schedules and manual update.

Installing Testing Certificates for Error-Checking (Optional):

Before installing actual certificates, it is recommended to install testing certificates for error-checking, although this is an optional step. This testing certificate allows you to verify that the SSL/TLS setup works correctly, and all traffic is encrypted.

Testing certificates are beneficial, especially if you are configuring SSL/TLS for the first time. They can also be useful if you upgrade your server’s certificates to a new version.

Installing Actual Certificates:

The next step after verifying the SSL/TLS setup is to install the actual SSL/TLS certificates. SSL certificates are issued for specific domain names, and you will need to ensure that you provide a certificate that matches the domain name on your server.

Most SSL certificate providers allow you to generate a certificate signing request (CSR) from your webserver and then use the CSR to obtain the actual SSL/TLS certificate. Checking Certificate Renewal Schedule and Manual Update:

SSL/TLS certificates have a specific validity period, and certificates need to be renewed before they expire.

By default, Certbot automatically checks and renews certificates, but you may want to check the renewal schedule and perform a manual update if necessary. Regular checks ensure that your certificates stay up-to-date and do not expire, protecting your website from potential security threats.

Live Patching an Ubuntu Server Without Rebooting:

In addition to certificate installation, live patching is an essential tool to keep your Ubuntu server secure. Live patching allows you to apply critical security patches without rebooting your server, reducing the downtime and disruption caused by server reboots.

Learning to Live Patch an Ubuntu Server Without Rebooting:

Ubuntu provides the Canonical Livepatch Service, which allows you to apply live patches without rebooting the server. By signing up for this service, you can easily apply security patches to your server, ensuring the server stays secure without downtime.

To learn to live patch your Ubuntu server, you will need to install the live patch service and then configure the relevant settings. Conclusion:

In conclusion, SSL/TLS certificates are essential for the secure operation of a webserver, and it is essential to install actual certificates after error checking.

Additionally, it is critical to keep track of certificate renewal schedules to ensure that your website stays secure by checking for updates and making manual updates as necessary. As an added bonus, live patching without rebooting can keep your server secure and available for use.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can install SSL/TLS certificates, configure renewal schedules, and live patch your Ubuntu server, thus ensuring maximum security and availability of your webserver. In conclusion, configuring and maintaining a web server with NGINX is crucial for optimal website performance and security.

This article has covered various topics, including installing NGINX, setting up server blocks, using certbot for SSL certificate installation and renewal, creating DNS A records, and live patching an Ubuntu server. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your website runs smoothly, offers secure connections, and stays up-to-date with the latest patches.

Take the time to understand these processes and implement them correctly to provide a seamless and secure experience for your website visitors. Remember, a well-configured and secure web server is the foundation for a successful online presence.

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