SSL Certificate – Renewing a Certificate for ApacheSSL

This doc was written to assist with the next time I have to update the SSL cert on an ApacheSSL server. The specific examples here are from an RHEL5 server with Apache2.x

Here are the steps.

  1. Locate the Relevant Files - These files are the CRT and CSR. The CRT is issued by Thawte or Verisign, and the CSR is the request that you send to them. To find these locate your httpd.conf file or possibly the httpd-ssl.conf file in ./extras/. This stuff should typically be in /etc/httpd/conf, but idiots will place it in other locations because they don’t understand the UNIX conventions. Specifically you are looking for a line that says something line this. SSLCertificateKeyFile /usr/local/apache2/conf/server.key. That will take you to server.key as the file. You need to find the CSR associated with the key and copy that.
  2. Login to the Certificate Authority’s Web Site - For Thawte, we have an account itsupport/Thawt3SSL and fill out the information. If you get stuck, the reference the current ‘live’ certificate with your browser. You will need to paste the… sadly my notes just trail off here.
  3. Certificate Authority will Call You - So you need to be able to answer, or have someone fwd the Cert. Authority to your phone. The just want to verify things.
  4. Apply the Certificate - This will need to go in the file that is listed in your config files… see #1 above, but, SSLCertificateFile /usr/local/apache2/conf/server.crt it’s the .crt file not the key.
  5. Restart Apache - service httpd restart
  6. Check the Cert - for the new expiration date.

NB: if you need to make a change to any information, then the certificate authority will need to talk with company executives, have some faxes sent and generally draw the whole thing out. Also you will need to generate a new key. You will need to start with key generation:


/usr/bin/openssl genrsa -rand /dev/urandom -out /usr/local/apache2/conf/server_new.key 1024
/usr/bin/openssl req -new -key /usr/local/apache2/conf/server.key -out /usr/local/apache2/conf/server.csr

Create the .key and then the request .csr. This is where you make the changes to the information and the CSR is what you will submit to the authority.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>