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How to Generate CSR for Apache + OpenSSL

Follow these instructions to generate a CSR for your Web site. When you have completed this process, click the "close" button below to close this window and continue to the next step. OpenSSL is the open source project that replaced SSLeay. If you are using SSLeay on your system instead of OpenSSL, substitute ssleay with openssl for the commands.

  1. Install OpenSSL, if not found on your server.
  2. Create a RSA key for your Apache server:

    If you have a different path, cd to your server's private key directory

Type the following command to generate a private key that is file encrypted. You will be prompted for the password to access the file and also when starting your webserver: Warning: If you lose or forget the passphrase, you must purchase another certificate.

openssl genrsa -des3 -out domainname.key 2048
You could also create a private key without file encryption:
openssl genrsa -out domainname.key 2048
Note: We recommend that you name the private key using the domain name that you are purchasing the certificate for ie domainname.key
* Note: You will be prompted for your PEM passphrase if you included the "-des3" switch in step 3.
Warning: Leave the challenge password blank.
Note: If you would like to verify the contents of the CSR, use the following command:
openssl req -noout -text -in domainname.csr

Type the following command to create a CSR with the RSA private key (output will be PEM format):

openssl req -new -key domainname.key -out domainname.csr
  1. When creating a CSR you must follow these conventions. Enter the information to be displayed in the certificate. The following characters can not be accepted: < > ~ ! @ # $ % ^ * / \ ( ) ?.,&
    DN Field
    Common NameThe fully qualified domain name for your web server. This must be an exact match.If you intend to secure the URL, then your CSR's common name must be
    OrganizationThe exact legal name of your organization. Do not abbreviate your organization name.GeoTrust
    Organization UnitSection of the organizationMarketing
    City or LocalityThe city where your organization is legally located.Wellesley Hills
    State or ProvinceThe state or province where your organization is legally located. Can not be abbreviated.Massachusetts
    CountryThe two-letter ISO abbreviation for your country.US
  2. Do not enter extra attributes at the prompt.
  3. Submit your CSR to GeoTrust by clicking on , you will be asked to complete the agreement and the enrollment form as well.
Create a backup of your private key!
Make a copy of the private key file (domainname.key) generated in step 3 and store it in a safe place! If you lose this file, you must purchase a new certificate.
* The private key file should begin with (when using a text editor)
-----BEGIN RSA PRIVATE KEY----- and end with -----END RSA PRIVATE KEY-----.
To view the contents of the private key, use the following command:
openssl rsa -noout -text -in domainname.key
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