PSA: Use Let's Encrypt's staging endpoint when you're experimenting


While most Caddy users get up and running pretty quickly, quite a few of you run experimental setups or have to tinker with your infrastructure or configuration to get it just right in some cases.

When you’re running “disposable” Caddy instances or are trying to get just the right set up, be sure to use Let’s Encrypt’s staging endpoint or you may hit rate limits, making it impossible for Caddy to get a certificate for your hostname for up to a week.

Simply run Caddy with the -ca flag, specifying Let’s Encrypt’s staging endpoint. It issues fake certificates but the rate limits are negligible. (By default, Caddy will use their production endpoint which issues real certificates.)

For those wondering or if you’re looking for more information, this is documented at Automatic HTTPS — Caddy Documentation. But again, most users won’t need to think/worry about this.

Have fun with Caddy! :slight_smile:


I am starting Caddy with staging Let’s Encrypt -ca= howerver it just seems to hang with:

Apr  4 23:41:34 ip-172-31-5-43 systemd[1]: Started Caddy HTTP/2 web server.
Apr  4 23:41:34 ip-172-31-5-43 caddy[7697]: Activating privacy features... 2019/04/04 23:41:34 [INFO][FileStorage:/etc/ssl/caddy] Started certificate maintenance routine

Weird. Deleting all the files in /etc/ssl/caddy/locks and restating Caddy fixed it. Not sure what the problem was.

Hi @nodesocket, I’ve seen this happen sometimes after Caddy is interrupted ungracefully during a specific stage of requisitioning certificates. Caddy uses file locks to facilitate certificate validation in fleet configurations. While a file lock is in place, the Caddy instance doing startup certificate maintenance assumes another instance is in the middle of an ACME challenge, so it waits.

Yep, and to clarify, locks do expire after some time.

1 Like

I’d wondered that! I figured it’d be the case that Caddy wouldn’t wait forever… Never been patient enough to find out or check the code, though. :sweat_smile:

Yeah, locks expire after 2 hours.

1 Like