Creating and Applying SSL Certificate to Apache HTTPD 🌱

This is part four of a series of creating your own self-signed PKI and some ways to utilize the PKI to setup SSL for your web server or create your own OpenVPN server.

Disclaimer: I am not a security expert. This is just the easiest way I have found to create and utilize SSL for my homelab services.


Create Your SSL Certificate

  1. Launch XCA
  2. Open the PKI database if it is not already (File > Open DataBase), enter password
  3. Click on the Certificates tab, right click on your Intermediate CA certificate
  4. Select New
  5. On the Source tab, make sure Use this Certificate for signing is selected
  6. Verify your Intermediate CA certificate is selected from the drop down
  7. Click the Subject tab
  8. Complete the Distinguished Name section

    internalName: WebDev SSL
    countryName: US
    stateOrProvinceName: Virginia
    localityName: Northern
    organizationName: i12bretro
    organizationUnitName: i12bretro Certificate Authority
    commonName: webdev.i12bretro.local

  9. Click the Generate a New Key button
  10. Enter a name and set the key size to at least 2048
  11. Click Create
  12. Click on the Extensions tab
  13. Select End Entity from the type list
  14. Click Edit next to Subject Alternative Name
  15. Add any DNS or IP addresses that the certificate will identify
  16. Update the validity dates to fit your needs
  17. Click the Key Usage tab
  18. Under Key Usage select Digital Signature, Key Encipherment
  19. Under Extended Key Usage select Web Server and Web Client Authentication
  20. Click the Netscape tab
  21. Select SSL Server
  22. Click OK to create the certificate

Exporting Required Files

  1. In XCA, click on the Certificates tab
  2. Right click the Intermediate CA certificate > Export > File
  3. Set the file name with a .crt extension and verify the export format is PEM chain (*.pem)
  4. Click OK
  5. Right click the SSL certificate > Export > File
  6. Set the file name with a .crt extension and verify the export format is PEM (*.crt)
  7. Click OK
  8. Click the Private Keys tab
  9. Right click the private key generated for the SSL certificate > Export > File
  10. Set the file name with a .key extension and verify the export format is PEM private (*.pem)
  11. Click OK

Setting Up Apache For SSL

  1. Navigate to /conf
  2. Create a certs directory if it does not exist
  3. Copy the exported SSL certificate, private key and certificate chain files to /conf/certs
  4. Edit /conf/httpd.conf
  5. At the bottom of the file add a VirtualHost block

    Listen 443
    <virtualhost :443>
    SSLEngine on
    SSLProtocol -All +TLSv1.2 +TLSv1.3
    SSLCipherSuite HIGH:!aNULL:!MD5
    SSLCertificateFile /conf/certs/%ssl.crt file%
    SSLCertificateKeyFile /conf/certs/%ssl.key file%
    SSLCertificateChainFile /conf/certs/%ssl-chain.crt file%

  6. Restart the Apache Service
  7. Open a web browser
  8. Navigate to https://DNSorIP from your certificate
  9. Click the lock and select view certificate
  10. Validate the certificate and certificate chain being presented by Apache HTTPD