Pietro Rea

Take those Let’s Encrypt “Expiry Bot” notifications seriously

April 25, 2024

Last time I logged into my WordPress instance to update WordPress and its plugins, something went wrong and I ended up losing access to WordPress, which I promptly resolved in the AWS Lightsail console by re-launching a clone of the instance from a backup (go backups!).

All was good until a few months later when I lost access again because the SSL cert had expired. I received a couple of warnings from Let’s Encrypt “Expiry Bot”, which I unfortunately assumed were for another host that I had wound down around the same time.

As it turns out, when you relaunch an instance from backup, you’re copying the old certificate from the old host to the new host, so HTTPS works at first, but you still need to tell Let’s Encrypt’s certbot that you want to renew your SSL cert on the new host on a ongoing basis.

This blog was still up during this whole time because of the “headless” nature of my Netlify + WordPress setup, but if I had been running a regular WordPress site, this issue would have caused some serious downtime until I could have resolved the problem.

Both personally and professionally I’m very stretched thin at the moment, which occasionally makes me reconsider my decision to maintain the code and WordPress instance for this blog. Why don’t I just go for an easier way to write on the web?

Maybe at some point I will throw my hands up in the air and say enough’s enough, but for the time being I still feel joy whenever I SSH into my WordPress instance (or any instance for that matter) or open even the tiniest of PRs for this site’s repo. I should probably just head to the grocery store already but for the time being I still want to keep this vegetable garden around.

Pietro Rea
Written by Pietro Rea, a software engineer, engineering manager and author from northern Virginia.