Skip to content

Certificate management

Certificates are generated and managed by cert-manager with Let's Encrypt. By default certificates are valid for 90 days and will be renewed after 60 days.

cert-manager watches Ingress resources across the cluster. When you create an Ingress with a supported annotation:

kind: Ingress
  annotations: letsencrypt-prod
  name: foo
    - host:
      # ...
    - hosts:
      secretName: foo-tls-certificate
flowchart LR
  User -- 6 --> Ingress

  subgraph cluster[Homelab cluster]
    Ingress --- Secret
    Ingress -. 1 .-> Certificate
    Certificate -. 5 .-> Secret
    Certificate -- 2 --> CertificateRequest -- 3 --> Order -- 4 --> Challenge

  Order -.- ACMEServer[ACME server]

  subgraph dnsprovider[DNS provider]

  Challenge -- 4.a --> TXT
  ACMEServer -.- Challenge
  ACMEServer -. 4.b .-> TXT
  1. cert-manager creates a corresponding Certificate resources
  2. Based on the Certificate resource, cert-manager creates a CertificateRequest resource to request a signed certificate from the configured ClusterIssuer
  3. The CertificateRequest will create an order with an ACME server (we use Let's Encrypt), which is represented by the Order resource
  4. Then cert-manager will perform a DNS-01 Challenge:
    1. Create a DNS TXT record (contains a computed key)
    2. The ACME server retrieve this key via a DNS lookup and validate that we own the domain for the requested certificate
  5. cert-manager stores the certificate (typically tls.crt and tls.key) in the Secret specified in the Ingress configuration
  6. Now you can access the HTTPS website with a valid certificate

A much more detailed diagram can be found in the official documentation under certificate lifecycle.