I found a solution for how to navigate cloud key issues and wanted to set up a ZTP solution for Unifi hardware so I can direct ship equipment to the site, and provision it securely via internet without having to stand up a L2L tunnel.

Alright, lets get started…

This guide is applicable for any Ubuntu based install, but I’m going to utilize Amazon Lightsail for the demo, since at the time of writing, it’s the cheapest option I can find with enough compute resources and a static IP included.


OPex (Recurring Cost) – 10$ per Month – As of February 2019


Dry Run

1. Set up Lightsail instance
2. Create and attach static IP
3. Open necessary ports
4. Set up Unify packages
5. Set up SSL using certbot and letsencrypt
6. Add the certs to unify controller
7. Set up Cronjob for SSL auto Renewal
8. Adopting UniFi devices

1. Set up LightSail instance

Login to – https://lightsail.aws.amazon.com

Spin up a Lightsail instance:

Set a name for the instance and provision it.

2. Create and attach static IP

Click on the instance name and click on the networking tab:

Click “Create Static IP”:

3. Open necessary ports


Port Number




Port used inform-URL for adoption.



Port used for Cloud Access service.



Port used for STUN.



Port used for device and controller communication.



Port used for controller GUI/API as seen in a web browser.



Port used for HTTP portal redirection.



Port used for HTTPS portal redirection.

You can disable or lock down the ports as needed using IP-tables depending on your security posture

Post spotlight-


4. Set up Unify packages


Add the Ubiquiti repository to /etc/apt/sources.list:
sudo echo "deb http://www.ubnt.com/downloads/unifi/debian stable ubiquiti" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list
Add the Ubiquiti GPG Key:
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv 06E85760C0A52C50

Update the server’s repository information:

sudo apt-get update

Install JAVA 8 run time

You need Java Run-time 8 to run the UniFi Controller

Add Oracle’s PPA (Personal Package Archive) to your list of sources so that Ubuntu knows where to check for the updates. Use addaptrepository command for that.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/java -y sudo apt install java-common oracle-java8-installer

update your package repository by issuing the following command

sudo apt-get update

The oracle-java8-set-default package will automatically set Oracle JDK8 as default. Once the installation is complete we can check Java version.

java -version

java version "1.8.0_191"


sudo apt-key adv --keyserver hkp://keyserver.ubuntu.com:80 --recv 0C49F3730359A14518585931BC711F9BA15703C6

echo "deb http://repo.mongodb.org/apt/ubuntu xenial/mongodb-org/3.4 multiverse" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/mongodb-org-3.4.list
sudo apt update

Update. Retrieve the latest package information.

sudo apt update

sudo apt-get install apt-transport-https

Install UniFi Controller packages.

sudo apt install unifi

You should be able to Access the web interface and go through the initial setup wizard.


5. Set up SSL using certbot and letsencrypt

Lets get that green-lock up in here shall we

So, a few things to note here… UniFi doesn’t really have a straightforward way to import certificates, you have to use the java keystore commands to import the cert, but there is a very handy script built by Steve Jenkins that makes this super easy.

First, we need to request a cert and sign it using lets encrypt certificate authority.

Let’s start with adding the repository and install the EFF certbot package – link

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install software-properties-common 
sudo add-apt-repository universe 
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:certbot/certbot 
sudo apt-get update 
sudo apt-get install certbot

5.1 Update/add your DNS record and make sure its propagated (this is important)

Note - The DNS name should point to the static IP we attached to our light-sail instance
Im going to use the following A record for this example


Ping from the controller and make sure the server can resolve it.

ping unifyctrl01.multicastbits.com

You wont be able see any echo replies because ICMP is not allowed on the firewall rules in AWS - leave it as is we just need the server to see the IP resolving to DNS A record

5.2 Request the certificate

Issue the following command to start certbot in certonly mode

sudo certbot certonly
  certbot [SUBCOMMAND] [options] [-d DOMAIN] [-d DOMAIN] ...

Certbot can obtain and install HTTPS/TLS/SSL certificates. By default,
it will attempt to use a webserver both for obtaining and installing the
certificate. The most common SUBCOMMANDS and flags are:

obtain, install, and renew certificates:
    (default) run   Obtain & install a certificate in your current webserver
    certonly        Obtain or renew a certificate, but do not install it
    renew           Renew all previously obtained certificates that are near expiry
    enhance         Add security enhancements to your existing configuration
   -d DOMAINS       Comma-separated list of domains to obtain a certificate for


5.3 Follow the wizard

Select the first option #1 (Spin up a temporary web server)

Enter all the information requested for the cert request.

This will save the certificate and the privet key generated to the following directory:


All you need to worry about are these files:

  • cert.pem
  • fullchain.pem
  • privkey.pem

6 Import the certificate to the UniFi controller

You can do this manually using the keytool-import


But for this we are going to use the handy SSL import script made by Steven Jenkins

6.1  Download Steve Jenkins UniFi SSL Import Script

Copy the unifi_ssl_import.sh script to your server

wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/stevejenkins/unifi-linux-utils/master/unifi_ssl_import.sh

6.2 Modify Script

Install Nano if you don’t have it (it’s better than VI in my opinion. Some disagree, but hey, I’m entitled to my opinion)

sudo apt-get install nano
nano unifi_ssl_import.sh

Change your hostname.example.com to the actual hostname you wish to use. In my case, I’m using


Since we are using Ubuntu comment following three lines for Fedora/RedHat/CentOS


Uncomment following three lines for Debian/Ubuntu


 Since we are using Letsencrypt


here’s what i used for this demo

#!/usr/bin/env bash

# unifi_ssl_import.sh
# UniFi Controller SSL Certificate Import Script for Unix/Linux Systems
# by Steve Jenkins <http://www.stevejenkins.com/>
# Part of https://github.com/stevejenkins/ubnt-linux-utils/
# Incorporates ideas from https://source.sosdg.org/brielle/lets-encrypt-scripts
# Version 2.8
# Last Updated Jan 13, 2017


# Uncomment following three lines for Fedora/RedHat/CentOS

# Uncomment following three lines for Debian/Ubuntu

# Uncomment following three lines for CloudKey

# Generate your Let's Encrtypt key & cert with certbot before running this script


#rest of the script Omitted

6.3 Make script executable:
chmod a+x unifi_ssl_import.sh
6.4 Run script:
sudo ./unifi_ssl_import.sh

This script will

  • Backup the old keystore file (very handy, something i always forget to do)
  • update the relevant keystore file with the LE cert
  • restart the services to apply the new cert

7. Setup Automatic Certificate renewal

Lets-encrypt cert expeires every 3 months you can easily renew this by using

letsencrypt renew

This will use the existing config you used to generate the cert and renew it

then run the SSL-import script to update the controller cert

you can automate this using a cronjob

Copy the modified import Script you used in Step 6 to “/bin/certupdate/unifi_ssl_import.sh”

sudo mkdir /bin/certupdate/
cp /home/user/unifi_ssl_import.sh /bin/certupdate/unifi_ssl_import.sh

switch to sudo and edit your cron-tab for root and add the following lines

sudo su
crontab -e
0 1 31 1,3,5,7,9,11 * root certbot renew
15 1 31 1,3,5,7,9,11 * root /bin/certupdate/unifi_ssl_import.sh

Save and exit nano by doing CTRL+X followed by Y. 

Check crontab for root and confirm

crontab -e

At 01:00 on day-of-month 31 in January, March, May, July, September, and November the command will attempt to renew the cert

At 01:15 on day-of-month 31 in January, March, May, July, September, and November it will update the keystore with the new cert


Useful links –



8. Adopting UniFi devices to the new Controller with SSH or other L3 adoption methods

If you can SSH into the AP, it’s possible to do L3-adoption via CLI command:

1. Make sure the AP is running the same firmware as the controller. If it is not, see this guide: UniFi – Changing the Firmware of a UniFi Device.

2. Make sure the AP is in factory default state. If it’s not, do:

syswrapper.sh restore-default

3. SSH into the device and type the following and hit enter:

set-inform http://ip-of-controller:8080/inform

4. After issuing the set-inform, the UniFi device will show up for adoption. Once you click adopt, the device will appear to go offline.

5. Once the device goes offline, issue the  set-inform  command from step 3 again. This will permanently save the inform address, and the device will start provisioning.


Managing the Unify controller services

# to stop the controller
$ sudo service unifi stop

# to start the controller
$ sudo service unifi start

# to restart the controller
$ sudo service unifi restart

# to view the controller's current status
$ sudo service unifi status

Troubleshooting  issues 

cat /var/log/unifi/server.log

go through the system logs and google the issue, best part about ubiquity gear is the strong community support 


Guide – Secure UniFi Cloud Controller on AWS lightsail signed with Lets-encrypt SSL

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