SSL Certificate Installation in Apache

If you have not yet created a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) and ordered your certificate, see
OpenSSL CSR Creation for Apache SSL or try our CSR Generator OpenSSL CSR Creation.

Apache Server SSL Certificate Installation

If you are installing an Extended Validation SSL Certificate, use our Apache EV SSL Certificate Installation Instructions. If you are installing any other certificate, follow the instructions below.

  1. Copy the Certificate files to your server.

    Download your Intermediate (DigiCertCA.crt) and Primary Certificate (your_domain_name.crt) files from your Customer Area, then copy them to the directory on your server where you will keep your certificate and key files. Make them readable by root only.

  2. Find the Apache config file to edit.

    The location and name of the config file can vary from server to server - especially if you use a special interface to manage your server configuration.

    Apache's main configuration file is typically named httpd.conf or apache2.conf. Possible locations for this file include /etc/httpd/ or /etc/apache2/. For a comprehensive listing of default installation layouts for Apache HTTPD on various operating systems and distributions, see Httpd Wiki - DistrosDefaultLayout.

    Often, the SSL Certificate configuration is located in a <VirtualHost> block in a different configuration file. The configuration files may be under a directory like /etc/httpd/vhosts.d/, /etc/httpd/sites/, or in a file called httpd-ssl.conf.

    One way to locate the SSL Configuration on Linux distributions is to search using grep, as shown in the example below.

    Type the following command:

    grep -i -r "SSLCertificateFile" /etc/httpd/

    Where "/etc/httpd/" is the base directory for your Apache installation.

  3. Identify the SSL <VirtualHost> block to configure.

    If you need your site to be accessible through both secure (https) and non-secure (http) connections, you will need a virtual host for each type of connection. Make a copy of the existing non-secure virtual host and configure it for SSL as described in step 4.

    If you only need your site to be accessed securely, configure the existing virtual host for SSL as described in step 4.

  4. Configure the <VirtualHost> block for the SSL-enabled site.

    Below is a very simple example of a virtual host configured for SSL. The parts listed in bold are the parts that must be added for SSL configuration:

    DocumentRoot /var/www/html2
    SSLEngine on
    SSLCertificateFile /path/to/your_domain_name.crt
    SSLCertificateKeyFile /path/to/your_private.key
    SSLCertificateChainFile /path/to/DigiCertCA.crt


    Adjust the file names to match your certificate files:

    • SSLCertificateFile should be your DigiCert certificate file (eg. your_domain_name.crt).
    • SSLCertificateKeyFile should be the key file generated when you created the CSR.
    • SSLCertificateChainFile should be the DigiCert intermediate certificate file (DigiCertCA.crt)

      If the SSLCertificateChainFile directive does not work, try using the SSLCACertificateFile directive instead.
  5. Test your Apache config before restarting.

    It is always best to check your Apache config files for any errors before restarting, because Apache will not start again if your config files have syntax errors. Run the following command: (it is apache2ctl on some systems)

    apachectl configtest
  6. Restart Apache.

    You can use apachectl commands to stop and start Apache with SSL support:

    apachectl stop
    apachectl start

    Note: If Apache does not start with SSL support, try using "apachectl startssl" instead of "apachectl start". If SSL support only loads with "apachectl startssl" we recommend you adjust the apache startup configuration to include SSL support in the regular "apachectl start" command. Otherwise your server may require that you manually restart Apache using "apachectl startssl" in the event of a server reboot. This usually involves removing the <IfDefine SSL> and </IfDefine> tags that enclose your SSL configuration.

Apache SSL Certificates, Guides, & Tutorials

Buy Now Learn More

Visite nuestras instrucciones en español para Apache Instalar Certificado SSL.


  1. If your web site is publicly accessible, our SSL Certificate Tester tool can help you diagnose common problems.

  2. For help moving your certificates to additional servers or across server platforms, see our OpenSSL export instructions.

  3. If you need to disable SSL version 2 compatibility in order to meet PCI Compliance requirements, you will need to add the following directive to your Apache configuration file:

        SSLCipherSuite HIGH:+MEDIUM:!SSLv2:!EXP:!ADH:!aNULL:!eNULL:!NULL

    If the directive already exists, you will probably need to modify it to disable SSL version 2.

  4. Also you can visit our page with instructions to fix common Apache SSL Errors for additional tips.

Apache Server Configuration

For information about Apache server configurations that can strengthen your SSL environment:

Installing your SSL Certificates in Apache

How to install your SSL Digital Certificate.