Classic SysAdmin: How to Install an SSL Certificate on Linux Server
The Linux Foundation | 21 May 2022
This is a classic article from the Linux.com archives. For more great SysAdmin tips and techniques check out our free intro to Linux course.
With Security being the top most priority in the e-commerce world, the importance of SSL Certificates has skyrocketed. Installing an SSL Certificate on an online portal has become the basic foundation of a company’s business structure.
But the question is ‘How to install an SSL Certificate on a server?’
It is not necessary that everyone who is into e-commerce has a technical background. E-commerce is all about business and the owners are mostly businessmen. So also the core team of an e-commerce industry is not fully technical. In such a situation it becomes very difficult for people with minimal technical knowledge to grasp concepts even as basic like SSL Certificates or its installation for that matter.
This article aims at giving a sneak peek into the process of installing an SSL Certificate on Linux server in lay man’s words. This would help the non-technical people also to get a grasp of what it is all about. Of course, every e-commerce company has a core technical team, so they can easily take over from here. But it is always good to have a know-how of the process.
The installation of SSL Certificates on a Linux server is very easy. It can be done using a Plesk control panel and also without it.
What is Plesk?
It is a web hosting platform that has a very simple configuration. This simple configuration helps all web hosting providers to manage a lot of virtual hosts easily and on a single server. Ever since its conception, Plesk has been coming up as a preferred choice for all the web hosting companies.
How to install an SSL certificate on a Linux Server that has Plesk
1. First Log into the control panel of Plesk.
2. Then, Select Domain;
3. The third step implies choosing the domain to be updated.
4. In the next step click on the ‘Add New Certificate’ icon.
5. Save the certificate name in the ‘Certificate Name’ box.
One would have the certificate and key files saved on the local computer. These certificate and key files are provided by the certificate authority and are important for the installation.
6. The next step is to find these files. Open these in a Notepad or in other similar text formats from where one can copy the text.
7. Copy the entire text of the files.
8. Paste them in the correct boxes. Reading through the content and the box name in Plesk will give one an idea where to paste it.
9. Next, click on the ‘Send Text’ button.
10. Go to the ‘Hosting Section’. It is on the domain screen.
11. Click ‘Set-up’ from this section. A drop down list will follow.
12. The next step is to click on the ‘new certificate’ from the drop down list.
13. Click ‘Ok’ to finish.
How to install SSL Certificate on Linux servers that do not have Plesk
1. The first and foremost step is to upload the certificate and important key files. One can upload the files to the server using – S/FTP.
2. Login to Server. It is important to log in via SSH. Logging in via SSH will help the user to become the root user.
3. Give Root Password.
4. One can see /etc/httpd/conf/ssl.crt in the following step. Move the certificate file here
5. Next move key file also to /etc/httpd/conf/ssl.crt
It is important to ensure the security of the files that has been moved. One can keep the files secure by restricting permission. Using ‘chmod 0400’ will help users to securely restrict permission to the key.
6. Next Go to etc/httpd/conf.d/ssl.conf. Here the user will find Virtual Host Configuration set up for the domain.
7. Edit Virtual Host Configuration.
8. Restart Apache.
The technicality of installing an SSL certificate may baffle many non-technical people, but once one gets a hang of it, it becomes easy.
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