After recently installing an SSL certificate on one of my servers, I decided it was time I told myself how I do it.. rather than guessing from scratch each time.
Generate CSR for SSL on Apache mod SSL + OpenSSL
For archive purposes
Generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) for an SSL Certificate from RapidSSL.com
Apache + Mod SSL + OpenSSL
Follow these instructions to generate a CSR for your Web site. When you have completed this process, you will have a CSR ready to submit to RapidSSL.com in order to be generated into a SSL Security Certificate.
OpenSSL is the open source project that replaced SSLeay. If you are using SSLeay on your system instead of OpenSSL, substitute ssleay with openssl for the commands.
1. Install OpenSSL, if not found on your server.
2. Create a RSA key for your Apache server:
cd /apacheserverroot/conf/ssl.key (ssl.key is the default key directory.)
If you have a different path, cd to your serverâ€™s private key directory
3. Type the following command to generate a private key that is file encrypted. You will be prompted for the password to access the file and also when starting your webserver: Warning: If you lose or forget the passphrase, you must purchase another certificate.
openssl genrsa -des3 -out domainname.key 1024
You could also create a private key without file encryption if you do not want to enter the passphrase when starting your webserver:
openssl genrsa -out domainname.key 1024
Note: We recommend that you name the private key using the domain name that you are purchasing the certificate for ie domainname.key
4. Type the following command to create a CSR with the RSA private key (output will be PEM format):
openssl req -new -key domainname.key -out domainname.csr
* Note: You will be prompted for your PEM passphrase if you included the “-des3” switch in step 3.
5. When creating a CSR you must follow these conventions. Enter the information to be displayed in the certificate. The following characters can not be accepted: <> ~ ! @ # $ % ^ * / \ ( ) ?.,&
Common Name The fully qualified domain name for your web server. This must be an exact match. If you intend to secure the URL https://www.yourdomain.com, then your CSR’s common name must be www.yourdomain.com.
Organization The exact legal name of your organization. Do not abbreviate your organization name. RapidSSL.com
Organization Unit Section of the organization Marketing
City or Locality The city where your organization is legally located. Wellesley Hills
State or Province The state or province where your organization is legally located. Can not be abbreviated. Massachusetts
Country The two-letter ISO abbreviation for your country. US
6. Do not enter extra attributes at the prompt.
Warning: Leave the challenge password blank (press enter)
Note: If you would like to verify the contents of the CSR, use the following command:
openssl req -noout -text -in domainname.csr
7. Submit your CSR to RapidSSL.com using the online application pages.
Create a backup of your private key!
Make a copy of the private key file (domainname.key) generated in step 3 and store it in a safe place! If you lose this file, you must purchase a new certificate.
* The private key file should begin with (when using a text editor)
—–BEGIN RSA PRIVATE KEY—– and end with —–END RSA PRIVATE KEY—–.
To view the contents of the private key, use the following command:
openssl rsa -noout -text -in domainname.key