Always, read, error, messages


And think about them, Tomas! After you’re done, interpret them.


Okay, less poetry, more science.

This is a short story on how I spent a few hours trying to renew a Let’s Encrypt certificate for my home server. And kept on failing. Until I succeeded and learnt a lesson (which is in the $title).

I am actually feeling a little poetic (probably since I finished watching No Safe Spaces). I’m not gonna write this as a story, instead I’ll take it backwards.

The problem

I couldn’t renew an LE certificate on my home server because of this error message:

Detail: Fetching Timeout during connect (likely firewall problem)

The solution

It was a firewall problem. On my fancy Turris router. The router did not tell me in any way that it is blocking a connection. It just did. When I turned “the threat protection” off, I was able to renew the cert.

Warning signs

There were clear warning signs this is indeed a firewall problem and not IPv6, DNS, certbot, boulder, Server OS (Fedora Linux), my ISP, NAT, fire ants.

  1. Connections were successfully routed from the outside in.

  2. The verification protocol did not halt initially, but after a few requests.

  3. There wasn’t much change in my infra since the last cert refresh.

Lesson learned

It helped me the most to visualize the problem, isolate it, obtain as much info as possible and conclude.

When I rooted out all external factors, I was left with my server and my router. That’s when it hit me.

A different take on the same problem via tweets.

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