Certificates are issued by certificate authorities. By far the most common issuer will be LetsEncrypt.
In order for Cert Manager to request/renew certificates, we have to tell it about our Issuers.
There's a minor distinction between an Issuer (only issues certificates within one namespace) and a ClusterIssuer (issues certificates throughout the cluster). Typically a ClusterIssuer will be suitable.
The ClusterIssuer resource below represents a certificate authority which is able to request certificates for any namespace within the cluster. I save this in my flux repo as
cert-manager/cluster-issuer-letsencrypt-staging.yaml. I've highlighted the areas you'll need to pay attention to:
ClusterIssuer for LetsEncrypt Staging
apiVersion: cert-manager.io/v1 kind: ClusterIssuer metadata: name: letsencrypt-staging spec: acme: email: firstname.lastname@example.org server: https://acme-staging-v02.api.letsencrypt.org/directory privateKeySecretRef: name: letsencrypt-staging solvers: - selector: dnsZones: - "example.com" dns01: cloudflare: email: email@example.com apiTokenSecretRef: name: cloudflare-api-token-secret key: api-token
Deploying this issuer YAML into the cluster would provide Cert Manager with the details necessary to start issuing certificates from the LetsEncrypt staging server (always good to test in staging first!)
As you'd imagine, the "prod" version of the LetsEncrypt issues is very similar, and I save this in my flux repo as
ClusterIssuer for LetsEncrypt Prod
apiVersion: cert-manager.io/v1 kind: ClusterIssuer metadata: name: letsencrypt-prod spec: acme: email: firstname.lastname@example.org server: https://acme-v02.api.letsencrypt.org/directory privateKeySecretRef: name: letsencrypt-prod solvers: - selector: dnsZones: - "example.com" dns01: cloudflare: email: email@example.com apiTokenSecretRef: name: cloudflare-api-token-secret key: api-token
You'll note that there are two secrets referred to above -
letsencrypt-prod is for cert-manager to populate as a result of its ACME schenanigans - you don't have to do anything about this particular secret! The cloudflare-specific secret (and this will change based on your provider) is expected to be found in the same namespace as the certificate we'll be issuing, and will be discussed when we create our wildcard certificate.
How do we know it works?¶
We're not quite ready to issue certificates yet, but we can now test whether the Issuers are configured correctly for LetsEncrypt. To check their status, describe the ClusterIssuers (i.e.,
kubectl describe clusterissuer -n cert-manager letsencrypt-prod), which (truncated) shows something like this:
Status: Acme: Last Registered Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Uri: https://acme-v02.api.letsencrypt.org/acme/acct/34523 Conditions: Last Transition Time: 2021-11-18T22:54:20Z Message: The ACME account was registered with the ACME server Observed Generation: 1 Reason: ACMEAccountRegistered Status: True Type: Ready Events: <none>
Provided your account is registered, you're ready to proceed with creating a wildcard certificate!
Chef's notes 📓¶
Since a ClusterIssuer is not a namespaced resource, it doesn't exist in any specific namespace. Therefore, my assumption is that the
apiTokenSecretRefsecret is only "looked for" when a certificate (which is namespaced) requires validation. ↩
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