Solved [SOLUTION] Let’s Encrypt + DDNS/WAN Admin Domain Certificate Expired / not auto-renewed

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Occasional Visitor
Hi everyone,

I’ve tried to find a similar problem to mine and despite going through few threads I couldn’t find a step by step guide, so apologies if all this was published elsewhere.
Also, thanks @RMerlin for clarifying the issue on GitHub - thank you btw SO much for all the hard work on this amazing custom fw. You’ve solved so many home network challenges for me.

The problem:
- Let’s Encrypt certificate used to verify domain SSL access used for DDNS and WAN webui admin doesn’t get auto renewed before and after expiry
- Let’s Encrypt code, while using, is unfortunately closed source, so unavailable for change in Merlin’s fw.
- Manual certificate renewal also fails, most likely (my guess looking at the log) because it’s using port 80 for ACME HTTP-01 token challenge, which obviously fails, as the port 80 is not (wisely) available, even if you enable WAN access.

The solution [RT-AC88U / 384.18 fw]:
- Manually renewing the certificate using latest ACME Shell Script and setting up cron auto renewal using this script

1. Enable SSH access in webui Administration/System/Service. I suggest “LAN only” and change SSH port to something else than 22, password login would be fine at this point unless you want to play with keys.

2. SSH into your router.
Either from linux by:
ssh [email protected]_router_address -p your_chosen_port
or using your favourite SSH capable terminal like PuTTY or Win10’s Windows Terminal

3. Install from GitHub Repository either by:
curl | sh or wget -O - | sh
and then: --install
This will complete all necessary steps, including the cron auto renewal job install and aliases setup.

4. Open the port 443 for incoming connections (see Q1 below)

5. Manually issue a new certificate by: --issue --alpn -d
(I prefer to use standalone --alpn mode on port 443 as it doesn’t matter which http server are you using on your router)

6. Copy generated certificates to their location (see Q2 below) and reload webui httpd service - this is necessary step --install-cert -d --cert-file /tmp/etc/cert.pem --key-file /tmp/etc/key.pem --reloadcmd "service restart_httpd"

7. Disable port 443 access again

8. Check certificate is renewed in webui:
- WAN/DDNS/Webui SSL Certificate and
- Administration/System/Local Access Config

Now, I have a few questions, just to make sure:

- being a newb, I couldn’t find an easier way to enable port 443 for incoming connections, than temporarily disabling firewall (webui Firewall/General) for the certificate renewal duration. I’m sure there’s probably an easier way from shell, I’m open to much more secure suggestions.

Q2 - I not sure if /temp/etc is the only location for the certificates. Reading around the forums, it might be just temporary location, so they might get lost after reboot. I couldn’t find a permanent location, perhaps /rom/etc/ssl/certs/ ?

[1] ACME Shell GitHub repository
Last edited:

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