Automatically generate full chain certificate file from CA

1. The problem I’m having:

I have my own local root CA trusted on every device. I generated an intermediate CA which I have given to Caddy to make local certificates. It works fine for HTTP, since Caddy seems to serve the full chain certificate to the browser. But, I would like to use Caddy as a CA to generate certificates for my mail server (imap.ldb and smtp.ldb). The certificate generated in /var/lib/caddy/.local/share/caddy/certificates/ldb/imap.ldb/imap.ldb.crt seems to only be the server certificate, without the intermediate included. I know that I can just cat them together to make a full chain file, but I would like to do this automatically because the default expiry is short (12 hours). Using a cron job would risk having long downtimes in between when the certificate is renewed, and when the job runs next.

2. Error messages and/or full log output:


3. Caddy version:

v2.6.4 h1:2hwYqiRwk1tf3VruhMpLcYTg+11fCdr8S3jhNAdnPy8=

4. How I installed and ran Caddy:

Installed using Debian package (from Cloudsmith repo listed in Caddy docs), running using the included systemd unit.

a. System environment:

Debian 12, Caddy is running bare-metal

b. Command:

systemctl enable --now caddy

c. Service/unit/compose file:

Literally the included one.

# caddy.service
# For using Caddy with a config file.
# Make sure the ExecStart and ExecReload commands are correct
# for your installation.
# See for instructions.
# WARNING: This service does not use the --resume flag, so if you
# use the API to make changes, they will be overwritten by the
# Caddyfile next time the service is restarted. If you intend to
# use Caddy's API to configure it, add the --resume flag to the
# `caddy run` command or use the caddy-api.service file instead.


ExecStart=/usr/bin/caddy run --environ --config /etc/caddy/Caddyfile
ExecReload=/usr/bin/caddy reload --config /etc/caddy/Caddyfile --force


d. My complete Caddy config:

	pki {
		ca ldb {
			intermediate {
				cert /var/lib/caddy/srv02-caddy.cert.pem
				key /var/lib/caddy/srv02-caddy.key.pem
	cert_issuer internal {
		ca ldb

imap.ldb {
	respond "imap.ldb"
smtp.ldb {
	respond "smtp.ldb"

5. Links to relevant resources:

You can use GitHub - mholt/caddy-events-exec: Run commands on Caddy events to configure the cert_obtained event to copy the certificate and combine them yourself with a shell script immediately after it’s renewed. You’ll probably need to use v2.7.0-beta.2 to get the latest updates to the event payload. See for the payload data, can be used in the command string with {} for example.


That worked, but in the middle as I was writing my script, I realized that the certificate from Caddy directory actually is the chain with intermediate, but Thunderbird uses its own trust store so my root CA wasn’t added, causing the original error. Oops.


It turns out Dovecot annoyingly doesn’t pick up the certificate change after it’s renewed by Caddy, so I did have to set this back up to reload Dovecot automatically. I made a script /var/lib/caddy/ (with owner root:caddy and permissions 750, and ./mg is a script I have to run the docker command more easily):


cd /srv/mail
./mg reload dovecot

Added to sudoers:

caddy ALL=(root) NOPASSWD: /var/lib/caddy/

Added to my global options in Caddy:

events {
	on cert_obtained exec sh -c "sudo /var/lib/caddy/"
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