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Ocserv Certificates - letsencrypt

Author: Mauro Gaspari


This recipe provides a deployment example of letsencrypt to provide ssl certificates for ocserv.
This recipe does not claim to be a step-by-step guide or a letsencrypt tutorial, as there are plenty of those available online. Also, this recipe does not claim to be the best or most secure letsencrypt setup, but barely a starting point example for a GNU/Linux based router/firewall with Ocserv.

Platforms used for testing

This Recipe was tested on the following platforms:

  • Ubuntu Server 18.04LTS on amd64 architecture.
  • CentOS 7 on amd64 architecture.
  • openSUSE Tumbleweed on amd64 architecture.


  • This recipe assumes the reader has a basic understanding of a GNU/Linux system and all commands are run from a privileged user. It is recommended to login the system using root. If not possible, execute "su root" or "sudo su" to get highest privileges.
  • The reader is applying ocserv to a GNU/Linux server that is already configured as a router.


  • The GNU/Linux server in the recipe is configured to work as a router. sysctl.conf is already configured with the line:
    net.ipv4.ip_forward = 1  
  • The GNU/Linux server in the recipe has ocserv installed and configured. Please refer to other recipes if needed.

Details on lab used on this recipe

  • network (netmask
  • ocserv ip
  • ocserv hostname fw01
  • ocserv WAN interface is eth0
  • ocserv LAN interface is eth1
  • ocserv ports for openconnect vpn are default TCP 443 and UDP 443
  • letsencrypt uses port TCP 80. This is done to avoid overlapping with TCP 443 used for ocserv

Install let's encrypt to manage certificates


apt-get install certbot

On older versions

yum install certbot  
Or, on latest versions
dnf install certbot  


zypper in shorewall certbot  

Create certificates for ocserv

certbot certonly --standalone --preferred-challenges http --agree-tos --email your-email-address -d vpn.yourdomain.domain


Closely monitor the certbot output to find any issue with certificate creation.


Make sure you have a valid dns A record to point "vpn.yourdomain.domain" to the public IP address configured of your wan.

Setup auto renewal of certificates

Edit: /etc/crontab
Add this line to your crontab:

15 00 * * * root certbot renew --quiet && systemctl restart ocserv

Configure openconnect server

Configure ocserv according to instructions on official site:

  • Skip the certificate creation step, we are getting certificates from letsencrypt.
  • Instead of generating certificates, link the location where your certificates are stored by letsencrypt: /etc/letsencrypt/live/vpn.yourdomain.domain

Restart openconnect server

service ocserv restart

Check status

service ocserv status


Appendix A. of shorewall recipe has configuration examples for letsencrypt. Refer to the recipe here.

Conclusion and final notes

This concludes Ocserv Certificates - letsencrypt recipe. At this point Openconnect server should be configured with ssl certificates released by letsencrypt. Also, certificates will be automatically renewed with certbot.