Learn how to install SSL certificate on Apache webserver running on Linux machine. Steps includes installation, configuration and verification.
Before we start will SSL certificate steps lets run through below pre-requisite:
- You have Apache webserver running on your Linux machine.
- You have generated CSR file and submitted to certificate vendor. Read here : steps to generate CSR.
- You have received SSL certificate file from vendor.
SSL certificate you received from certificate vendor should be a filename.crt file. This file can be opened with text editor and looks like below :
Using ftp, sftp etc, copy SSL certificate, intermediate certificate file (if any) and private key file (generated during CSR file generation step above) on Linux machine running Apache webserver. It is advisable to copy these files within Apache installation directory and furthermore in separate directories if you want to maintain old files archives. For example if Apache installation directory is /etc/httpd then you can create a directory /etc/httpd/ssl_certs and keep new/old certificates in it. Same for keys you can create /etc/httpd/ssl_keys and keep new/old key files in it.
Normally certificate and key files should be readable to owner and group to which Apache users belong.
Login to your Linux machine and navigate to your Apache installation directory where configuration file resides. Most of the times its installed in /etc/httpd/ directory. If you are not where your Apache in installed, identify appropriate Apache instance in ps -ef output (in case multiple Apache instances running on same machine). To check Apache configuration file location use below command :
# /usr/sbin/httpd -V
Server version: Apache/2.2.17 (Unix)
Server built: Oct 19 2010 16:27:47
Server's Module Magic Number: 20051115:25
Server loaded: APR 1.3.12, APR-Util 1.3.9
Compiled using: APR 1.3.12, APR-Util 1.3.9
Server MPM: Prefork
forked: yes (variable process count)
Server compiled with....
-D APR_HAVE_IPV6 (IPv4-mapped addresses enabled)
See last line of above output which will show configuration file (i.e. httpd.conf) location. This is relative path. Complete absolute path of config file can be obtained by observing HTTPD_ROOT value in above output. So complete path for config file will be HTTPD_ROOT/SERVER_CONFIG_FILE i.e. /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf in this case.
Once you are able to trace configuration file, you need to edit this file with text editor like vi and mention the SSL certificate path. You need to define below three paths. If parameters are already in file then just edit their paths.
SSLCertificateFile /<path to SSL cert>/filename.crt
SSLCertificateKeyFile /<path to provate key>/private.key
SSLCertificateChainFile /<path to intermediate cert>/intermediate.crt
These paths are the ones where you copied SSL cert , intermediate cert and private key in above step. Save and verify changes.
Final step :
You are done with configuration now but Apache instance dont know these changes. You need to restart Apache instance to take this new changes in action. You can restart Apache with below command :
# /usr/sbin/apachectl -f /<path of conf file>/httpd.conf -k stop
# /usr/sbin/apachectl -f /<path of conf file>/httpd.conf -k start
Verify if Apache is up and running using ps -ef command. If you dont see Apache instance running then check error.log for troubleshooting. This log file is located under Apache installation directory under logs directory. Path can be identified from DEFAULT ERROR_LOG value in above httpd -V output.
Once Apache is up and running with this new configuration, verify if you installed your certificate correctly or not by visiting this online free tool by Symantec.
Also, you can visit your website/link which is being served by Apache in fresh browser session and check certificate details by clicking lock icon in browser bar. Then clicking details on coming dropdown.
You will be presented with below screen, Click on view certificate to view certificate details.
This will show you below certificate details which includes purpose, issue date, expiry date, organization, issuer etc.