Go Python Shell Makefile
Switch branches/tags
Clone or download
jsha and cpu Fix staggering of log submission. (#3796)
ctpolicy permutes logs before submitting to them, to give each log a
chance. The stagger feature was meant to sleep for an amount of time
proportional to a log's position in the permuted list. However, it was
actually using the log's position in the un-permuted list, so logs that
appear later in the config would always be submitted to later than logs
earlier in the config.

This fixes that, and does some minor variable renaming for clarity.
Latest commit a6f93ff Jul 16, 2018
Failed to load latest commit information.
Godeps Switch from globalsign/certlint to zmap/zlint (#3745) Jun 5, 2018
akamai Remove various unnecessary uses of fmt.Sprintf (#3707) May 11, 2018
bdns Remove various unnecessary uses of fmt.Sprintf (#3707) May 11, 2018
ca Excise code relating to pre-SCT embedding issuance flow (#3769) Jun 28, 2018
canceled Log fewer spurious CT submission errors. (#3447) Feb 16, 2018
cmd Add stagger to CT log submissions. (#3794) Jul 6, 2018
core Excise code relating to pre-SCT embedding issuance flow (#3769) Jun 28, 2018
csr RA,CA: Refuse to start with MaxNames == 0. (#3634) Apr 10, 2018
ctpolicy Fix staggering of log submission. (#3796) Jul 16, 2018
data Fixes Mandrill UNSUB merge tag (#2524) Jan 25, 2017
docs docs: remove order ready status v2 divergence. (#3792) Jul 5, 2018
errors Return descriptive error when SCTs policy can't be met. (#3586) Mar 22, 2018
features Remove UseAIAIssuerURL feature flag and code. (#3790) Jul 3, 2018
goodkey Speed up goodkey test. (#3733) May 23, 2018
grpc Excise code relating to pre-SCT embedding issuance flow (#3769) Jun 28, 2018
log Provide formatting logger functions. (#3699) May 10, 2018
mail Remove various unnecessary uses of fmt.Sprintf (#3707) May 11, 2018
metrics Remove various unnecessary uses of fmt.Sprintf (#3707) May 11, 2018
mocks Excise code relating to pre-SCT embedding issuance flow (#3769) Jun 28, 2018
nonce Speed up nonce service. (#3544) Mar 12, 2018
pkcs11helpers Add PKCS#11 certificate generation tool (#3729) Jun 12, 2018
policy Switch from Unicode NFKC->NFC (#3782) Jun 29, 2018
probs Convert the probs functions to be formatters. (#3708) May 11, 2018
publisher Excise code relating to pre-SCT embedding issuance flow (#3769) Jun 28, 2018
ra Excise code relating to pre-SCT embedding issuance flow (#3769) Jun 28, 2018
ratelimit Remove `TotalCertificates` rate limit. (#3638) Apr 12, 2018
reloader Spelling (#2500) Jan 16, 2017
revocation Fixes gofmt -s diffs Nov 30, 2016
sa Excise code relating to pre-SCT embedding issuance flow (#3769) Jun 28, 2018
test Add stagger to CT log submissions. (#3794) Jul 6, 2018
va Remove hyphens from ACME-CAA parameters (#3772) Jun 21, 2018
vendor Switch from globalsign/certlint to zmap/zlint (#3745) Jun 5, 2018
web Convert the probs functions to be formatters. (#3708) May 11, 2018
wfe Remove UseAIAIssuerURL feature flag and code. (#3790) Jul 3, 2018
wfe2 WFE2: Include invalid kid in error messages. (#3741) Jun 1, 2018
.dockerignore Roll forward "Run Travis tests in Docker (#1830)" (#1838) May 24, 2016
.gitignore Add PKCS#11 certificate generation tool (#3729) Jun 12, 2018
.travis.yml CI/Dev: Remove Go 1.10.2. (#3761) Jun 14, 2018
CODEOWNERS Update CODEOWNERS (#3446) Feb 14, 2018
CODE_OF_CONDUCT.md Add Code of Conduct (#1961) Jun 22, 2016
CONTRIBUTING.md Document new release process. (#3417) Feb 1, 2018
DESIGN.md Remove some last traces of AMQP. (#2687) Apr 20, 2017
LICENSE.txt Remove all stray copyright headers and appends the initial line to LI… May 31, 2016
Makefile Remove GO15VENDOREXPERIMENT and docker-environment (#3459) Feb 19, 2018
README.md Run gRPC backends on multiple IPs instead of multiple ports (#3679) May 7, 2018
docker-compose.yml Deconflict netaccess and boulder containers. (#3785) Jun 29, 2018
docker-rebuild.sh Add tiny docker-compose rebuild script (#2039) Jul 13, 2016
start.py Make restarting boulder in docker nicer. (#2492) Jan 13, 2017
test.sh CI: Ignore Godeps 'Comment' fields in godep-restore. (#3744) Jun 4, 2018


Boulder - An ACME CA

This is an implementation of an ACME-based CA. The ACME protocol allows the CA to automatically verify that an applicant for a certificate actually controls an identifier, and allows domain holders to issue and revoke certificates for their domains.

Build Status Coverage Status


Boulder has a Dockerfile to make it easy to install and set up all its dependencies. This is how the maintainers work on Boulder, and is our main recommended way to run it.

Make sure you have a local copy of Boulder in your $GOPATH, and that you are in that directory:

export GOPATH=~/gopath
git clone https://github.com/letsencrypt/boulder/ $GOPATH/src/github.com/letsencrypt/boulder
cd $GOPATH/src/github.com/letsencrypt/boulder

Additionally, make sure you have Docker Engine 1.13.0+ and Docker Compose 1.10.0+ installed. If you do not, you can follow Docker's installation instructions.

We recommend having at least 2GB of RAM available on your Docker host. In practice using less RAM may result in the MariaDB container failing in non-obvious ways.

By default Boulder is configured to track the production Let's Encrypt environment. To run Boulder with new features enabled to track the staging environment (and to test ACME v2 support), edit docker-compose.yml to change BOULDER_CONFIG_DIR to test/config-next.

To start Boulder in a Docker container, run:

docker-compose up

To run tests:

docker-compose run --use-aliases boulder ./test.sh

To run a specific unittest:

docker-compose run --use-aliases boulder go test ./ra

The configuration in docker-compose.yml mounts your $GOPATH on top of its own $GOPATH. So you can edit code on your host and it will be immediately reflected inside Docker images run with docker-compose.

If docker-compose fails with an error message like "Cannot start service boulder: oci runtime error: no such file or directory" or "Cannot create container for service boulder" you should double check that your $GOPATH exists and doesn't contain any characters other than letters, numbers, - and _.

If you have problems with Docker, you may want to try removing all containers and volumes.

By default, Boulder uses a fake DNS resolver that resolves all hostnames to This is suitable for running integration tests inside the Docker container. If you want Boulder to be able to communicate with a client running on your host instead, you should find your host's Docker IP with:

ifconfig docker0 | grep "inet addr:" | cut -d: -f2 | awk '{ print $1}'

And edit docker-compose.yml to change the FAKE_DNS environment variable to match.

Alternatively, you can override the docker-compose.yml default with an environmental variable using -e (replace with the host IPv4 address found in the command above)

docker-compose run --use-aliases -e FAKE_DNS= --service-ports boulder ./start.py

Boulder's default VA configuration (test/config/va.json) is configured to connect to port 5002 to validate HTTP-01 challenges and port 5001 to validate TLS-SNI-01 challenges. If you want to solve challenges with a client running on your host you should make sure it uses these ports to respond to validation requests, or update the VA configuration's portConfig to use ports 80 and 443 to match how the VA operates in production and staging environments. If you use a host-based firewall (e.g. ufw or iptables) make sure you allow connections from the Docker instance to your host on the required ports.

If a base image changes (i.e. letsencrypt/boulder-tools) you will need to rebuild images for both the boulder and bhsm containers and re-create them. The quickest way to do this is with this command:


Slow start

If you can't use the Docker setup, here are instructions for setting up a Boulder development environment without it.

We recommend setting git's fsckObjects setting for better integrity guarantees when getting updates.

Boulder requires an installation of libtool-ltdl, goose, SoftHSM, and MariaDB 10.1 to work correctly. If you want to save some trouble installing MariaDB and SoftHSM you can run them using Docker:

docker-compose up -d bmysql bhsm

Boulder is only supported on Go 1.10 or above. This version may not be available in OS repositories. If so, you will have to install from https://golang.org/dl/. Add ${GOPATH}/bin to your path.


sudo apt-get install libltdl3-dev mariadb-server


sudo yum install libtool-ltdl-devel MariaDB-server MariaDB-client

Arch Linux:

sudo pacman -S libtool mariadb --needed


brew install libtool mariadb


sudo port install libtool mariadb-server

(On OS X, using port, you will have to add CGO_CFLAGS="-I/opt/local/include" CGO_LDFLAGS="-L/opt/local/lib" to your environment or go invocations.)

Edit /etc/hosts to add this line: boulder boulder-mysql

Resolve Go-dependencies, set up a database:


Note: setup.sh calls create_db.sh, which uses the root MariaDB user with the default password, so if you have disabled that account or changed the password you may have to adjust the file or recreate the commands.

Install SoftHSM to store the CA private key in a way that can be accessed using PKCS#11. Then run ./test/make-softhsm.sh and follow its instructions.

Install Python packages for integration test:

virtualenv venv
. venv/bin/activate
pip install -r test/requirements.txt
# If you want to develop against a locally modified Python acme package,
# this will install the package such that updates are reflected immediately:
pip install -e ~/certbot/acme[dev]

Start all boulder components with test configs (Ctrl-C kills all):


Run tests:


Working with a client:

Check out the Certbot client from https://github.com/certbot/certbot and follow the setup instructions there. Once you've got the client set up, you'll probably want to run it against your local Boulder. There are a number of command line flags that are necessary to run the client against a local Boulder, and without root access. The simplest way to run the client locally is to source a file that provides an alias for certbot (certbot_test) that has all those flags:

source ~/certbot/tests/integration/_common.sh
certbot_test certonly -a standalone -d example.com

Your local Boulder instance uses a fake DNS server that returns for any query, so you can use any value for the -d flag. You can also override that value by setting the environment variable FAKE_DNS=

Component Model

The CA is divided into the following main components:

  1. Web Front End
  2. Registration Authority
  3. Validation Authority
  4. Certificate Authority
  5. Storage Authority
  6. OCSP Updater
  7. OCSP Responder

This component model lets us separate the function of the CA by security context. The Web Front End and Validation Authority need access to the Internet, which puts them at greater risk of compromise. The Registration Authority can live without Internet connectivity, but still needs to talk to the Web Front End and Validation Authority. The Certificate Authority need only receive instructions from the Registration Authority. All components talk to the SA for storage, so lines indicating SA RPCs are not shown here.

                             +--------- OCSP Updater
                             |               |
                             v               |
                            CA               |
                             ^               |
                             |               v
       Subscriber -> WFE --> RA --> SA --> MariaDB
                             |               ^
Subscriber server <- VA <----+               |
          Browser ------------------>  OCSP Responder

Internally, the logic of the system is based around four types of objects: registrations, authorizations, challenges, and certificates, mapping directly to the resources of the same name in ACME.

Requests from ACME clients result in new objects and changes to objects. The Storage Authority maintains persistent copies of the current set of objects.

Objects are also passed from one component to another on change events. For example, when a client provides a successful response to a validation challenge, it results in a change to the corresponding validation object. The Validation Authority forwards the new validation object to the Storage Authority for storage, and to the Registration Authority for any updates to a related Authorization object.

Boulder uses gRPC for inter-component communication. For components that you want to be remote, it is necessary to instantiate a "client" and "server" for that component. The client implements the component's Go interface, while the server has the actual logic for the component. More details on this communication model can be found in the gRPC documentation.

The full details of how the various ACME operations happen in Boulder are laid out in DESIGN.md


All Go dependencies are vendored under the vendor directory, to make dependency management easier.

Local development also requires a MariaDB 10 installation. MariaDB should be run on port 3306 for the default integration tests.

To update the Go dependencies:

# Fetch godep
go get -u github.com/tools/godep
# Check out the currently vendorized version of each dependency.
godep restore
# Clear the stored dependencies
rm -r Godeps/ vendor/
# Update to the latest version of a dependency. Note: Our integration tests will
# verify that they can re-generate Godeps.json from scratch, which means that
# it's important that you have the same set of tags in your local copy of any
# repositories as the origin does. That means you can't use `go get -u`, you
# must cd to the path and use `git remote update`, which fetches tags. Example:
cd $GOPATH/src/github.com/cloudflare/cfssl
git remote update
git checkout master
git pull origin master
# Re-vendor the dependencies from scratch
godep save ./...
git commit Godeps/ vendor/

NOTE: If you get "godep: no packages can be updated," there's a good chance you're trying to update a single package that belongs to a repo with other packages. For instance, godep update golang.org/x/crypto/ocsp will produce this error, because it's part of the golang.org/x/crypto repo, from which we also import the pkcs12 package. Godep requires that all packages from the same repo be on the same version, so it can't update just one. The error message is not particularly helpful. See https://github.com/tools/godep/issues/164 for the issue dedicated to fixing it.

NOTE: Updating cfssl in particular is tricky, because cfssl vendors github.com/google/certificate-transparency/... and golang.org/x/crypto/ocsp/..., which we also vendor. In practice this means you need to check out those two dependencies to the same version cfssl uses (available in vendor/manifest in the cfssl repo). If you fail to do this, you will get conflicting types between our vendored version and the cfssl vendored version.

godep update golang.org/x/crypto/...  github.com/cloudflare/cfssl/... github.com/google/certificate-transparency/...
godep save ./...

Adding RPCs

Boulder uses gRPC for all RPCs. To add a new RPC method, add it to the relevant .proto file, then run:

docker-compose run boulder go generate ./path/to/pkg/...