certbot-ocsp-fetcher (https://github.com/tomwassenberg/certbot-ocsp-fetcher) but with uacme compatibility
some stuff for uacme compatibility
18d9652f — Tom Wassenberg 7 months ago
Print --help output to stdout instead of stderr
a5960ce6 — Tom Wassenberg 10 months ago
Use whole and/or absolute path to tool in messages


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You can also use your local clone with git send-email.


certbot-ocsp-fetcher helps you setup OCSP stapling in nginx. The tool primes nginx's OCSP cache to work around nginx's flawed OCSP stapling implementation (see bug #812). The tool does this by fetching and saving OCSP responses for TLS certificates issued with Certbot.

In order for all this to be useful, you should know how to set up OCSP stapling in nginx. For this, you can take a look at Mozilla's SSL Configuration Generator for instance. If you use Certbot's nginx plugin, you can also add the --staple-ocsp flag to your certbot --nginx command(s) to configure OCSP stapling.

The tool works by utilizing the OCSP Responder URL embedded in a certificate and saving the OCSP responses in staple files. These staple files can be referenced in the nginx configurations of the websites that use the certificates. The tool can behave in two ways:

  • Certbot can invoke the tool as a deploy/renew hook (possible in Certbot >=0.17.0). In this case, the tool ensures an up-to-date OCSP staple file is present on disk for the specific certificate that was issued using Certbot.

  • You can invoke the tool directly. In this case, the tool cycles through all sites that have a certificate lineage in Certbot's folder and ensures an up-to-date OCSP staple file is present on disk.

The use of this tool makes sure OCSP stapling in nginx works reliably. As a consequence, this allows you to use OCSP Must-Staple.


  • Bash 4.3+
  • Certbot 0.5.0+
  • nginx (tested with 1.14.0)
    Optional if --no-reload-webserver (see below) is passed.
  • OpenSSL 1.1.0+
  • BSD's column
    Optional. For machine-readable TSV output, the version needs to support the --output-separator flag. This is satisfied in e.g. Debian 11 and Ubuntu 20.10+.

For running the tests, Bats is also required.


Invoke the tool as follows:

# ./certbot-ocsp-fetcher [OPTION]...

The filename of a resulting OCSP staple is the name of the certificate lineage (as used by Certbot) with the der extension appended. Be sure to point nginx to the staple file(s) by using the ssl_stapling_file directive in the nginx configuration of the website. For instance, by including: ssl_stapling_file /var/cache/certbot-ocsp-fetcher/example.com.der;, where /var/cache/certbot-ocsp-fetcher is the default output directory when using the supplied systemd service.

Invoke the tool with privileges that allow it to access the directory that Certbot stores its certificates in (by default /etc/letsencrypt/live). You should run the tool daily, for instance by one of the following options:

  • using the included systemd service + timer
  • adding an entry for the tool to the user's crontab

As mentioned above, you can use this tool as a deploy hook for Certbot. To do this, append --deploy-hook "/path/to/certbot-ocsp-fetcher" to the Certbot command you currently use when requesting a certificate.

Note: If an existing OCSP staple file is still valid for more than half of its lifetime, it will not be updated. If you need to override this behavior, use the-f/--force-update flag (see below).

#Command line options

This is a listing of all the command line options that can be passed to the tool:

  • -c DIRECTORY, --certbot-dir=DIRECTORY
    Specify the configuration directory of the Certbot instance that is used to process the certificates. When not specified, this defaults to /etc/letsencrypt.
    This flag cannot be used when the tool is invoked as a deploy hook by Certbot. In that case, the tool infers the path to Certbot's configuration directory and the certificate from Certbot's invocation of the tool.

  • -f, --force-update
    Replace possibly existing valid OCSP responses in staple files on disk by fresh responses from the OCSP responder.
    This flag cannot be used when Certbot invokes the tool as a deploy hook.

  • -h, --help
    Print the correct usage of the tool.

  • -l, --no-color
    Do not use colored text output. This applies to both stdout and stderr. By default, the tool's output might use color, as long as none of the following conditions are true:

    • no TTY is attached to the file descriptor in question
    • $NO_COLOR is set
    • $TERM is set to dumb
  • -n NAME, --cert-name=NAME
    Specify the name of the certificate lineage(s) (as used by Certbot) that you want to process. Express multiple lineages by delimiting these with a comma, or specify the flag multiple times. When not specified, the tool processes all certificate lineages in Certbot's configuration directory.
    This flag cannot be used when the tool is invoked as a deploy hook by Certbot.

  • -u URL, --ocsp-responder=URL
    Specify the URL of the OCSP responder to query for the certificate lineage(s) that were specified directly before this flag on the command line. This is required when the certificate in question does not use the AIA extension to include the OCSP responder of its issuer. For instance, you could invoke the command as follows: ./certbot-ocsp-fetcher --cert-name 1.example.com,2.example.com --ocsp-responder ocsp.ca.example.com

  • -o DIRECTORY, --output-dir=DIRECTORY
    Specify the directory where OCSP staple files are saved. When not specified, this defaults to the $CACHE_DIRECTORY environment variable, as is set by the supplied systemd service. If this environment variable is not set either, this defaults to the working directory.

  • -q, --quiet
    Do not print any output, including the list of certificates the tool processed and the actions the tool took. This flag and the -v/--verbose flag are mutually exclusive.

  • -v, --verbose
    Makes the tool verbose by printing specific (error) messages. These messages can be used for debugging purposes. Specify this flag multiple times for more verbosity. This flag and the -q/--quiet flag are mutually exclusive.

  • -w, --no-reload-webserver
    Do not reload nginx. When not specified and the tool created or updated at least one OCSP staple file, the tool will attempt to reload nginx.


The channels below are not maintained by me.