Install SSL certificate on Red Hat Linux Apache Server

Red Hat Linux Apache Server is world’s top most enterprise Linux Platform. It is fast, reliable and capable to create a secure environment that helps IT leaders to scale their business.

To secure your Red Hat Linux Apache server, you need to install an SSL certificate on it. Here is an easy-to-follow, stepwise installation procedure:

Red hat Linux

Step 1: Download and extract the certificate files

Once you complete the process of SSL certificate issuance, the Certificate Authority (CA) will send you an email attached with a *.zip file. This *.zip file contains all your certificates.

Download it and extract all the certificate files onto the hard-drive or on your server directory.

Step 2: Copy the certificate into file

Open your certificate file with any text editor and copy its contents. Please make sure you include the tags ‘Begin Certificate’ and ‘End Certificate’.

“ -------BEGIN CERTIFICATE--------
         Cryptographic Data
---------END CERTIFICATE----------- “

Now paste it into an appropriate file (yourdomain.crt).

Next, you need to copy this file in to your server directory where you intend to save all your certificates. For example – /yourdomain/httpd/conf/ssl.crt/.

Note 1: The locations used here in this installation procedure (as mentioned below), are for illustration purpose only.

/yourdomain/httpd/conf/ssl.crt/ - All the certificates are stored here.
/yourdomain/httpd/conf/ssl.key/ - Here, the server’s private keys are stored.
/yourdomain/httpd/conf/ca-bundle/ - All the bundle files by certificate authority are stored here.

Note 2: It is mandatory to create a directory containing private key file, which is only readable by root.

Step 3: Install CA Certificate

In order for the web server to use the SSL certificate properly, you need to install the CA certificates. However, Apache users need not install these certificates individually. Alternatively, they can install the CA certificates by using the ‘bundle’ method.

In the Virtual Host Setting section, you need to perform the following steps:

    • Copy the PEM formatted Bundled CA file onto the directory location, where all your CA bundle files are saved.
    • Now open your httpd.config file with any text editor
    • Next, in the ‘SSL section’ of your .config file, you need to copy the following piece of code: SSLCACertificateFile /yourdomain/httpd/conf/ssl.crt/ca-chain-pem.txt

Note 3: To reflect your server, you need to change the location and the file name based on your certificate file names and location.

Now, the updated SSL section of httpd.config file should look read similar to the example mentioned below:

SSLCertificateFile /yourdomain/httpd/conf/ssl.crt/server.crt
SSLCertificateKeyFile /yourdomain/httpd/conf/ssl.key/server.key
SSLCACertificateFile / yourdomain /httpd/conf/ssl.crt/ca-chain-pem.txt 

Finally, you need to save httpd.config file and restart Apache.

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