httpd with SSL

Josh Hansen josh222 at
Mon Sep 6 08:12:43 PDT 2004

Cristi Tauber wrote:

>        Hello,
>    I installed from ports (switched from sources ... hope to learn :) )
>apache 1.3.29 with mod-ssl. All good ... httpd works ... i issued a
>certificate ... but now when my computer reboots and apache starts in
>ssl mode it asks for pass phrase !!! So ... if computer reboots over
>night someone have to write the pass phrase so the computer can start.
>This is annoying ... how can i skip this ... can i enter the passphrase
>in my boot script ? How ???
>         Cristi
>freebsd-questions at mailing list
>To unsubscribe, send any mail to "freebsd-questions-unsubscribe at"
Hello Cristi,

This is from the apache site:

How can I get rid of the pass-phrase dialog at Apache startup time?

The reason why this dialog pops up at startup and every re-start is that 
the RSA private key inside your server.key file is stored in encrypted 
format for security reasons. The pass-phrase is needed to be able to 
read and parse this file. When you can be sure that your server is 
secure enough you perform two steps:

   1. Remove the encryption from the RSA private key (while preserving 
the original file):

      $ cp server.key
      $ openssl rsa -in -out server.key

   2. Make sure the server.key file is now only readable by root:

      $ chmod 400 server.key

Now server.key will contain an unencrypted copy of the key. If you point 
your server at this file it will not prompt you for a pass-phrase. 
HOWEVER, if anyone gets this key they will be able to impersonate you on 
the net. PLEASE make sure that the permissions on that file are really 
such that only root or the web server user can read it (preferably get 
your web server to start as root but run as another server, and have the 
key readable only by root).

As an alternative approach you can use the ``SSLPassPhraseDialog 
exec:/path/to/program'' facility. But keep in mind that this is neither 
more nor less secure, of course.

More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list