Generate a CSR with OpenSSL
This article will go through the first step of creating and eventually installing an SSL certificate. You'll use the same steps whether you are getting a traditional SSL from an authority like Verisign, a self signed certificate or the '*' Wildcard certificate. Most of the information is taken from RapidSSL's support documentation, which is also a great place to buy a certificate. The Rackspace Cloud is not a certificate authority and does not resell SSL certificates so you will need to go to a third party solution and purchase a certificate using this certificate signing request (CSR).
Tip: You can also generate a CSR and private key using a feature in the Cloud Control Panel. For more information, see Create an SSL CSR in the Rackspace Cloud Control Panel.
What you'll need first is to install Openssl on your server, this is a common package and will be available on all of the major distros through their package installer. Here is how you check to see if it is installed in a "Yum" style system:
# rpm -qa | grep -i openssl
The above command should return the following packages, or something similar:
openssl-0.9.8e-7.el5 openssl-0.9.8e-7.el5 openssl-devel-0.9.8e-7.el5
If it didn't you'll want to run the following:
# yum install openssl openssl-devel
Generate the RSA key
Create a RSA key for your Apache server, since every distro is different in where to place the certificates, we are just going to place it in an arbitrary spot:
# mkdir ~/domain.com.ssl/ # cd ~/domain.com.ssl/
Type the following command to generate a private key.
# openssl genrsa -out ~/domain.com.ssl/domain.com.key 2048
Create a CSR
Type the following command to create a CSR with the RSA private key (output will be PEM format):
# openssl req -new -sha256 -key ~/domain.com.ssl/domain.com.key -out ~/domain.com.ssl/domain.com.csr
When creating a CSR you must follow these conventions. Enter the information to be displayed in the certificate. The following characters can not be used for the Organization Name or the Organizational Unit: < > ~ ! @ # $ % ^ * / \ ( ) ?.,&
|Common Name||The fully qualified domain name for your web server. This must be an exact match.||If you intend to secure the URL
|Organization||The exact legal name of your organization. Do not abbreviate your organization name.||domain.com|
|Organization Unit||Section of the organization||IT|
|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|
Do not enter extra attributes at the prompt.
- Warning: Leave the challenge password blank (press enter)
Verify your CSR
# openssl req -noout -text -in ~/domain.com.ssl/domain.com.csr
Submit your CSR
From this point you have to take your CSR that you created here and submit it to a certificate authority. Ones that we recommend are going to be Verisign, Thawte and RapidSSL. There are also a number of other certificate authorities out there, shop around.
Check out the next article in this line Installing an SSL certificate.
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