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Certificates in authentik are used for the following use cases:

  • Signing and verifying SAML Requests and Responses
  • Signing JSON Web Tokens for OAuth and OIDC
  • Connecting to remote docker hosts using the Docker integration
  • Verifying LDAP Servers' certificates
  • Encrypting outposts's endpoints

Default certificate

Every authentik install generates a self-signed certificate on the first start. The certificate is called authentik Self-signed Certificate and is valid for 1 year.

This certificate is generated to be used as a default for all OAuth2/OIDC providers, as these don't require the certificate to be configured on both sides (the signature of a JWT is validated using the JWKS URL).

This certificate can also be used for SAML Providers/Sources, just keep in mind that the certificate is only valid for a year. Some SAML applications require the certificate to be valid, so they might need to be rotated regularly.

For SAML use-cases, you can generate a Certificate that's valid for longer than 1 year, on your own risk.

External certificates

To use externally managed certificates, for example generated with certbot or HashiCorp Vault, you can use the discovery feature.

The docker-compose installation maps a certs directory to /certs, you can simply use this as an output directory for certbot.

For Kubernetes, you can map custom secrets/volumes under /certs.

You can also bind mount single files into the folder, as long as they fall under this naming schema.

  • Files in the root directory will be imported based on their filename.

    /foo.pem Will be imported as the keypair foo. Based on its content its either imported as certificate or private key.

    Files containing PRIVATE KEY it will imported as private key.

    Otherwise it will be imported as certificate.

  • If the file is called fullchain.pem or privkey.pem (the output naming of certbot), they will get the name of the parent folder.

  • Files can be in any arbitrary file structure, and can have any extension.

  • If the path contains archive, the files will be ignored (to better support certbot setups).

├── baz
│   └── bar.baz
│   ├── fullchain.pem
│   └── privkey.pem
│   ├── fullchain.pem
│   └── privkey.pem
├── foo.key
└── foo.pem

Files are checked every 5 minutes, and will trigger an Outpost refresh if the files differ.

Manual imports

Starting with authentik 2022.9, you can also import certificates with any folder structure directly. To do this, run the following command within the worker container:

ak import_certificate --certificate /certs/mycert.pem --private-key /certs/something.pem --name test
# --private-key can be omitted to only import a certificate, i.e. to trust other connections
# ak import_certificate --certificate /certs/othercert.pem --name test2

This will import the certificate into authentik under the given name. This command is idempotent, meaning you can run it via a cron-job and authentik will only update the certificate when it changes.

Web certificates

Starting with authentik 2021.12.4, you can configure the certificate authentik uses for its core webserver. For most deployments this will not be relevant and reverse proxies are used, but this can be used to create a very compact and self-contained authentik install.

Let's Encrypt

To use let's encrypt certificates with this setup, using certbot, you can use this compose override (create or edit a file called docker-compose.override.yml in the same folder as the authentik docker-compose file)

version: "3.2"

image: certbot/dns-route53:v1.22.0
- ./certs/:/etc/letsencrypt
# Variables depending on DNS Plugin
- certonly
- --non-interactive
- --agree-tos
- -m
- -d
# Again, match with your provider
- --dns-route53

Afterwards, run docker-compose up -d, which will start certbot and generate your certificate. Within a few minutes, you'll see the certificate in your authentik interface. (If the certificate does not appear, restart the worker container. This is caused by incompatible permissions set by certbot).

Navigate to System -> Tenants, edit any tenant and select the certificate of your choice.

Keep in mind this certbot container will only run once, but there are a variety of ways to schedule regular renewals.