Removing a passphrase from an SSL Key
The typical process for creating an SSL certificate is as follows:
# openssl genrsa -des3 -out www.key 2048
Note: When creating the key, you can avoid entering the initial passphrase altogether using:
# openssl genrsa -out www.key 2048
At this point it is asking for a PASS PHRASE (which I will describe how to remove):
Enter pass phrase for www.key:
# openssl req -new -key www.key -out www.csr
Next, you will typically send the www.csr file to your registrar. In turn, your registrar will provide you with the .crt (certificate) file.
From a security standpoint utilizing a passphrase, is a good thing, but from a practical standpoint not very useful.
For instance, what happens in 6 months when you reboot your machine, and you don’t remember the password? Well, one thing is for sure, your web server will not be online.
To remove the passphrase, you can follow the process below:
Always backup the original key first (just in case)!
# cp www.key www.key.orig
Then unencrypt the key with openssl. You’ll need the passphrase for the decryption process:
# openssl rsa -in www.key -out new.key
Now copy the new.key to the www.key file and you’re done. Next time you restart the web server, it should not prompt you for the passphrase.