I got this issue while trying to get CarrierWave to upload pictures to S3 from an EC2 instance:

ERROR: Excon::Errors::SocketError: Unable to verify certificate, 
please set Excon.defaults[:ssl_ca_path] = path_to_certs,
Excon.defaults[:ssl_ca_file] = path_to_file, or
Excon.defaults[:ssl_verify_peer] = false

This problem came about when an action in a controller wasn’t working properly. The most frustrating part of solving this issue was a 500 Internal Server Error was recorded in the logs with no explanation! To fix this, I went into app/config/environments/production.rb and made the following change:

config.consider_all_requests_local       = true

By setting config.consider_all_requests_local = true, the logs finally reported the previously mentioned Excon error.

I booted my EC2 instance with a custom AMI that I had created. It turns out my custom AMI didn’t have any CA certificates, so it was necessary to run the following commands:

$ sudo update-ca-certificates
$ sudo apt-get remove -y --force-yes --purge ec2-ami-tools
$ sudo apt-get install -y --force-yes ec2-ami-tools

The first command is a Debian/Ubuntu command to update the CA certificates. The second two commands remove and reinstall the ec2-ami-tools to retrieve the CA certificates for Amazon.

Finally, I went into my Rails console, and used the following command to determine the location of the Excon gem it was using.

> $:.grep(/excon/)

I changed into /path/to/excon/gem and modified excon/ssl_socket.rb. Specifically, I modified the params hash so that the Excon gem could find the CA certificates.

# create ssl context
ssl_context = OpenSSL::SSL::SSLContext.new

params[:ssl_ca_path] = '/etc/ssl/certs' # <--- Line I added
if params[:ssl_verify_peer]

This change allowed CarrierWave to upload pictures to S3 successfully because now my EC2 instance could verify it was communicating with S3. I also could have modified params in a different way:

params[:ssl_verify_peer] = false

This tells Excon to not verify its peer, which is not secure, so I stuck with my first solution.