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A certificate manager for lets-encrypt certificates

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LeSSL is a simple gem to authorize for domains and obtaining certificates from the Let's Encrypt CA. Now it's very easy to get free and trusted SSL certificates!


Rails 4+


Install from Rubygems:

$ gem install le_ssl

or add it to your Gemfile:

gem 'le_ssl'

And then run

bundle install
and you are ready to go.

Getting Started

Create an instance of the LeSSL Manager:

private_key =
manager = '[email protected]', agree_terms: true, private_key: private_key)

It's recommended to store the contact email and the private key in environment variables because you are just allowed to obtain certificates for domains you are authorized for.

If you have

set, you don't have to pass them to the initializer.
# Example
manager = true)  # Accepting the terms is enough

The manager registers automatically a new account on the Let's Encrypt servers.

Authorize for a domain now:

Important! Every domain you want to be authorized for must have a valid A record which points to your server IP!


If your domain is properly set up, you should now be authorized for the domain. Be also sure that your Rails server is running.

Obtaining a SSL certificate:

manager.request_certificate('', '')

This puts the public and private keys into

. Now you just have to configure your webserver to use these certificates and you should be ready for encrypted HTTP.

Note that you have to authorize seperately for subdomains (e.g.!

Use DNS verification

If the domain isn't pointing to your server, you can also use a DNS TXT verification. Simply pass the option

with the value
to the parameters of the
challenge = manager.authorize_for_domain('', challenge: :dns)

Important! Save the returned value into a variable because it's needed to request the verification!

Then create the corresponding DNS TXT record for your domain. (Hint: The

method prints the information if you use it from the command line)

Wait a few minutes to be sure that the record was updated by the Let's encrypt servers.

And as last step request the verification for the challenge.


This returns the verification status afterwards.

If this returns

you are authorized to obtain a certificate for this domain.

Automatic verification

You can tell LeSSL to verify the DNS record automatically. In this way you don't have to worry if the DNS record is already present.

Caution! This option is blocking the thread until the verification is completed!

manager.authorize_for_domain('', challenge: :dns, automatic_verification: true)

By default, LeSSL uses the Google public nameservers ( and to check the records but you can use also your own ones:

manager.authorize_for_domain('', challenge: :dns, automatic_verification: true, custom_nameservers:

The verification process may take some time, especially if you already have an _acme-challenge TXT record in your DNS table with a higher TTL. If you are able to configure the TTL on your own set it the shortest possible TTL. (E.g. 60 seconds)

Skip registration

You can also skip the automatic registering which is done in the initializer:

manager = true, email: '[email protected]', private_key: private_key, skip_register: true)

To register an account call the

manager.register('[email protected]')


LeSSL uses the staging servers of Let's Encrypt if the Rails environment is set to 'development'.

You need help?

Ask a question on StackOverflow with the tag 'le-ssl'.

Planned Features

  • Automatically renew certificates with an ActiveJob job
  • Automatically install certificates in popular web servers

We welcome also other feature request and of course feature pull requests!

Other things to do

  • To test the gem.

Also here we would be thankful for pull requests.


Create pull requests on Github and help us to improve this gem. There are some guidelines to follow:

  • Follow the conventions
  • Test all your implementations
  • Document methods which aren't self-explaining (we are using YARD)

Copyright (c) 2016 Tobias Feistmantl, MIT license

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