Technical Documents

How to Install Certificates on Apache With Mod_SSL

Extract all of the contents of the ZIP file that was sent to you and copy/move them to your server. The extracted contents will typically be named: yourDomainName.crt and

Move all of the certificate related files to their appropriate directories.

A typical setup:

  1. Move the Private Key that was generated earlier to the ssl.key directory, which is typically found in /etc/ssl/. This must be a directory which only Apache can access.
  1. Move the yourDomainName.crt and to the ssl.crt directory, which is typically found in the /etc/ssl/ directory.

Edit the file that contains the SSL configuration with your favorite text editor.
Examples: nano, vi, pico, emacs, mousepad, notepad, notepad++, etc.

Note: The location of this file may vary from each distribution. It will be referenced in the Apache global configuration file. Look for the lines starting with include.

Apache Configuration File:

  1. Fedora/CentOS/RHEL: /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf
  2. Debian and Debian based: /etc/apache2/apache2.conf

SSL Configuration File:

Some possible names:

  1. httpd-ssl.conf
  2. ssl.conf
  3. In the /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/ directory.

Note: If need be please consult your distribution's documentation on Apache and SSL or navigate to the Apache Foundation's Apache2 Documentation.

In the VirtualHost section of the file please add these directives if they do not exist. It is best to comment out what is already there and add the below entries.

  1. SSLEngine on
  2. SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/ssl/ssl.key/server.key
  3. SSLCertificateFile /etc/ssl/ssl.crt/yourDomainName.crt
  4. SSLCertificateChainFile /etc/ssl/ssl.crt/ ***
Apache 1.3.x:
SSLEngine on
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/ssl/ssl.key/server.key
SSLCertificateFile /etc/ssl/ssl.crt/yourDomainName.crt
SSLCACertificateFile /etc/ssl/ssl.crt/
Apache 2.x:
SSLEngine on
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/ssl/ssl.key/server.key
SSLCertificateFile /etc/ssl/ssl.crt/yourDomainName.crt
SSLCertificateChainFile /etc/ssl/ssl.crt/

Save your config file and restart the Apache service. It is sometimes required to 'stop' then 'start' Apache, instead of issuing the 'restart' command for the changes to take effect.

If you have chosen to have a password on your private key, you will be prompted to enter it each time Apache is started or restarted. Apache will not fully start until the password is entered.

The configuration file is often called httpd.conf or apache.conf, although sometimes the SSL-specific section is placed in a separate file called ssl.conf and linked from the main configuration by an 'Include' command. Sometimes, theVirtualHostsection will be in a specific file for that site, in a sub-directory often labelled sites-enabled/.

Much of the layout of Apache's configuration files and directory naming conventions is controlled by the distribution of OS you are using. It is recommended that you look at the distribution's own site and documentation to confirm the locations.