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Apache, SSL and private key passphrase on Windows

Today, I solved a problem that has bothered me the past few days...

I won't enter in detail in the whole Apache/SSL configuration, but rather focus on this particular problem: have you ever tried to install an SSL certificate on your Apache 2.2 web server? Typically, you'll have to generate a private key file (yourdomain.key), then a CSR (Certificate Signing Request). While you generate the private key, you will be asked for a passphrase. This passphrase will be asked later to Apache. If Apache doesn't answer, it won't start...

So how to make Apache happy? You have to tell him where to find the passphrase. How? Use SSLPassPhraseDialog directive. But first, create a passphrase.bat file containing the following:

@echo your passphrase

Then, simply add/edit the following:

SSLPassPhraseDialog "exec:C:/path/to/your/passphrase.bat"

This will cause Apache to execute the passphrase.bat file, giving him the private key passphrase.

And you're ready to go. ;-)

Comments (75) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Amiable post and this post helped me alot in my college assignement. Thank you seeking your information.

  2. Touche. Outstanding arguments. Keep up the good spirit.

  3. SSLPassPhraseDialog “exec:C:\folder\passphrase.bat”

  4. Really like your writing design and would certainly like to connect up on Twitter sometime – look out for

  5. Thanks a lot.. It worked!

  6. I am not trying to do the above under Windows and keep receiving an error that under win32 the SSLPassPhraseDialog is not supported.
    I read in many places that the only way to get this to work is to create a private key without the passphrase. that’s fine and it works – but our security does not allow this solution…
    so i need to keep the private key with the passphrase.

    Is it possible under windows?

    This is the only post i could find that says that it works under Windows…

    please help???

  7. To noam:
    Note, that only “SSLPassPhraseDialog builtin” not supported under win32. The method above works fine (at least for me). Try to use:
    SSLPassPhraseDialog “exec:C:/path/to/passphrase.bat”
    in general context (add it into httpd.conf), NOT inside section.

  8. To noam:
    Note, that only “SSLPassPhraseDialog builtin” not supported under win32. The method above works fine (at least for me). Try to use:
    SSLPassPhraseDialog “exec:C:/path/to/passphrase.bat”
    in general context (add it into httpd.conf), NOT inside “VirtualHost” section.

  9. Hi,

    Thank you so much for the help which have saved my lots of time.


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