Date Tags debian

This took me far too long to identify and debug, so I'm going to write it up here for my own reference and to possibly help others.


Upgrading an old codebase from Python2 on Buster to Python3 ready for Bullseye and from Django1 to Django2 (prepared for Django3). Everything is fine at this stage - the Django test server is happy with HTTP and it gives enough support to do the actual code changes to get to Python3. All well and good so far. The main purpose of this particular code was to support payments, so a chunk of the testing cannot be done without HTTPS, which is where things got awkward.

This particular service needs HTTPS using LetsEncrypt and Apache2. To support Django, I typically use Gunicorn.

All of this works with HTTP. Moving to HTTPS was easy to test using the default-ssl virtual host that comes with Apache2 in Debian. It's a static page and it worked well with https. The problems all start when trying to use this known-working HTTPS config with the other Apache virtual host to add support for the gunicorn proxy.

Apache reverse proxy AH00898 – Error during SSL Handshake with remote server


Now that I know why this happened, it's easier to see what was happening. At the time, I was swamped in a plethora of options and permutations between the Django HTTPS options and the Apache VirtualHost SSL and proxy commands. Going through all of those took up huge amounts of time, all in the wrong area.

In previous configurations using packages in Buster, gunicorn could simply run on http://localhost:8000 and Apache would proxy that as https.

In versions in Bullseye, this no longer works and it is that handover from https in Apache to http in the proxy is where it is failing.

Apache is using HTTPS because the LetsEncrypt certificates, created using dehydrated, are specified in the VirtualHost configuration. To fix the handshake error, the proxy server needs to know about the certificates created by dehydrated as well.

Gunicorn needs the certificates

The clue is in the gunicorn help:

--keyfile FILE        SSL key file [None]
--certfile FILE       SSL certificate file [None]

The final part of the puzzle is that the certificates created by dehydrated are in a private location:

drwx------ 2 root root /var/lib/dehydrated/certs/

To test gunicorn, this will mean using sudo but that's just a step towards running gunicorn as a systemd service (when access to the certs will not be a problem).

Starting gunicorn using these options shows the proxy now being available at https://localhost:8000 which is a subtle but very important change.

Environment=LOGLEVEL=DEBUG WORKERS=4 LOGFILE=/var/log/gunicorn/site.log
ExecStart=/usr/bin/gunicorn3 site.wsgi --log-level $LOGLEVEL --log-file $LOGFILE --workers $WORKERS \
--certfile /var/lib/dehydrated/certs/site/cert.pem \
--keyfile /var/lib/dehydrated/certs/site/privkey.pem

The specified locations are symbolic links created by dehydrated to cope with regular updates of the certificates using cron.