How To Set Up An SSL Vhost Under Apache2 On Ubuntu 9.10/Debian Lenny - Page 2
5 Creating A Certificate Signing Request (CSR)
To request a trusted certificate from a trusted CA such as Verisign, Thawte or Comodo, we must generate a certificate signing request (CSR) from our private key and send it to the CA which then creates a trusted certificate from it with which we replace our self-signed certificate.
I will create the CSR in the directory /etc/ssl/csr, so we have to create it first:
Now we can create the CSR /etc/ssl/csr/www.hostmauritius.com.csr from our private key /etc/ssl/private/www.hostmauritius.com.key as follows:
openssl req -new -key /etc/ssl/private/www.hostmauritius.com.key -out /etc/ssl/csr/www.hostmauritius.com.csr
You will be asked a few questions. Please fill in your details, they will be used for creating the trusted certificate and can be seen by your visitors when they choose to view the details of your certificate in their browsers. The most important thing is the Common Name - this must be the domain or hostname of your SSL vhost (www.hostmauritius.com in this case)!
root@server1:~# openssl req -new -key /etc/ssl/private/www.hostmauritius.com.key -out /etc/ssl/csr/www.hostmauritius.com.csr
Please enter the following 'extra' attributes
Afterwards, you should have a CSR in /etc/ssl/csr/www.hostmauritius.com.csr, e.g. as follows:
6 Getting A Trusted Certificate
To get a trusted certificate, you have to take your certificate signing request (CSR) to a certificate authority (CA) such as Verisign, Thawte, or Comodo (please note that you have to pay for a trusted certificate). Certificates issued by such a CA are trusted by all browsers which means you won't see any browser warnings anymore.
CAcert.org allows you to get free certificates, but the downside is that such certificates are trusted by only a few browsers (which means you will get browser warnings). Anyway, I will use CAcert.org here to show you how to get a certificate from a CA - it should give you the idea, the procedure is the same with the trusted CAs.
Go to CAcert.org and open an account. Afterwards, go to Domains to add your own domain(s) (without a hostname, so if you want to get a certificate for www.hostmauritius.com, you just enter hostmauritius.com without www here). The service will send an email with a link to an email address that it finds in the WHOIS data of the domain - you have to click on that link to verify that you are the owner of the domain. I've verified three domains here:
To get a certificate, go to Server Certificates > New...
... and scroll down to the big text area - this is where you paste your CSR that you've created in chapter 5. Click on Submit afterwards:
Click on Submit again on the next page:
After a few moments, you will see your new certificate:
Now create a backup of your self-signed certificate...
cp /etc/ssl/certs/www.hostmauritius.com.pem /etc/ssl/certs/www.hostmauritius.com.pem_bak
... , then empty your self-signed certificate...
... and open the empty certificate file:
Now copy&paste the certificate from the CAcert.org page into the empty file:
That's it, if your CA doesn't ask you to install a certificate chain file or intermediate certificate in Apache, you're done, and you can now access your SSL vhost (https://www.hostmauritius.com in this case) without a browser warning. (If you use a CAcert.org certificate, you will still see a browser warning as most browsers don't know this CA - read chapter 7 to learn how to make your browser trust CAcert.org certificates).
To manage your existing certificates on the CAcert.org web site, go to Server Certificates > View:
6.1 Certificate Chain Files Or Intermediate Certificates
Some CAs require that you install a certificate chain file or intermediate certificate in Apache (in addition to the certificate that you installed in chapter 6). (Please note that CAcert.org does not require this!).
These CAs usually have instructions on their web sites how to do this. Basically it works like this: you doanload this certificate chain file or intermediate certificate to your server (e.g. to the /etc/ssl/certs/ directory; I name my certificate chain file CAcert_chain.pem here, so the full path is /etc/ssl/certs/CAcert_chain.pem), then you open your SSL vhost configuration...
... and add/enable the SSLCertificateChainFile directive in it:
Restart Apache afterwards: