RCL SSL HTTP AutoRenew for Windows

V7.1.0

RCL SSL HTTP AutoRenew runs as a Windows Service in a Windows hosting machine. The Windows Service will run every seven (7) days to automatically renew and save SSL/TLS certificates from a user’s subscription in the RCL SSL Portal to the Windows hosting machine.

Automatically Renew SSL/TLS Certificates

You can use the service to automatically renew SSL/TLS certificates created in the RCL SSL Portal using the the following creation options :

Installation

If you have an older version of the service installed in your hosting machine, you should completely delete it and install the new one.

Download the Files

  • The Windows Service files (http-autorenew-win-xxx) are available in the GitHub Project page in the Releases section:

  • Download the zip file with bitness

    to match your Windows bitness

  • Extract the zip file to a folder on your Windows hosting machine after it is downloaded

Configure the Service

Create an API Key

The service uses the RCL SSL Core API to renew certificates. You must create an Api Key to make authorized requests to the API. Follow the instructions in the following link to create an Api Key in the RCL SSL Portal.

Create an Api Key

Get the SubscriptionId

Get the Subscription Id in the RCL SSL Portal.

install

  • Scroll down and copy the ‘Subscription Id’

install

Add the Configuration variables

  • In the folder containing the files for the Windows Service that you extracted, find and open the appsettings.json file

  • Add the credentials for the Api Key and Subscription Id in the RCLSDK section :

    • ApiKey
    • SubscriptionId

Example

"RCLSDK": {
    "ApiBaseUrl": "https://rclapi.azure-api.net/v2",
    "SourceApplication": "RCL HTTP AutoRenew Windows",
    "ApiKey": "xxx",
    "SubscriptionId": "xxx"
  }
  • In the CertificateBot section, set a folder path to save the SSL/TLS certificates.

    • saveCertificatePath

Example

    "CertificateBot" : {
        "IncludeCertificates":[],
        "SaveCertificatePath": "C:/ssl",
    }

Note : when setting any folder path , use forward slashes(/) in the path name, eg. C:/ssl . Failure to do this will result in inability to run the windows service.

  • Create the folder on your hosting machine at the path you specified to save the certificates.

  • Ensure the folder has read/write permissions so that the certificates can be saved to it.

  • The includeCertificates settings will allow for including specific certificates by its name (eg: “contoso.com” or “contoso.com, www.contoso.com” - for SAN) for the certificate(s) you want to save on the server.

  • certificateName - the name of the certificate in the RCL Portal to be included for automatic renewal
  • validationPath - the path to the root folder where the website is hosted from. The validations tokens for the HTTP Challenge will be saved to the root of the website

The website must be actively served by the web server from the validationPath and the site must be publicly accessible on the web in a web browser. If these conditions are not met, the SSL/TLS certificate update will fail for the HTTP challenge.

Example of a single certificate

  "CertificateBot": {
    "saveCertificatePath": "C:/ssl",
     "includeCertificates": [
        {
          "certificateName": "adventureworks.com",
          "validationPath": "C:/sites/adventureworks/wwwroot"
        }
      ]
  }
  

Example of multiple certificates

  "CertificateBot": {
    "saveCertificatePath": "C:/ssl",
     "includeCertificates": [
        {
          "certificateName": "contoso.com",
          "validationPath": "C:/sites/contoso/wwwroot"
        },
        {
          "certificateName": "fabricam.com,www.fabricam.com",
          "validationPath": "C:/sites/fabricam/wwwroot"
        }
      ]
  }

Example of a configured appsettings.json file

{
  "Logging": {
    "LogLevel": {
      "Default": "Information",
      "Microsoft": "Warning",
      "Microsoft.Hosting.Lifetime": "Information"
    },
    "EventLog": {
      "LogLevel": {
        "Default": "Information",
        "Microsoft.Hosting.Lifetime": "Information"
      }
    }
  },
  "RCLSDK": {
    "ApiBaseUrl": "https://rclapi.azure-api.net/v2",
    "SourceApplication": "RCL HTTP AutoRenew Windows",
    "ApiKey": "abc123",
    "SubscriptionId": "2345"
  },
  "CertificateBot": {
    "SaveCertificatePath": "C:/ssl",
    "IncludeCertificates": [
      {
        "certificateName": "adventureworks.com",
        "validationPath": "C:/inetpub/adventureworks/wwwroot"
      }
    ],
    "IISBindings": []
  }
}
  • Save the appsettings.json file when you are done.

Create the Windows Service

  • Open a Command Prompt in the Windows server as an Administrator

  • Run the following command to install the Windows Service. Replace the < file-path > placeholder with the actual path where your windows service zip files were extracted

sc.exe create HttpAutoRenewWindows binpath= <file-path>\RCL.SSL.HTTP.AutoRenew.Windows.exe
  • After the service in installed, open Services in Windows, look for the HttpAutoRenewWindows service and Start the service

image

  • Set the Properties of the service to start automatically when the hosting machine starts

image

View the Event Logs

  • Open Event Viewer, under ‘Windows Logs > Application’, look for the RCL.SSL.HTTP.AutoRenew.Windows events

image

  • Ensure that there are no error events for the service. If there are error events, the service is misconfigured and will not function

  • Each time a certificate is renewed, a log will be written

Fixing Errors

If you encounter error events for the service in the Event Viewer, please stop the service and delete it completely.

Ensure the ‘appsettings’ configuration is correct and the certificate save path settings point to a folder that exists.

Fix any other errors that are reported. Then, re-install and restart the service.

Deleting the Windows Service

If you need to remove the Windows Service for any reason, run the command to delete the service

sc.exe delete HttpAutoRenewWindows

Updating the Service

If you need to update the service to include other certificates, follow these steps:

  • Stop the service and delete it
  • Change the appsettings.json file to include additional certificates
  • Re-create the service and start it

Reset the Service

If you need to reset the service because of an error or corrupted certificate renewal, follow these steps :

  • Stop the service and delete it
  • Delete all certificates and their folders in the directory in which certificates are saved
  • Re-create the service and start it

Testing Certificate Renewal

Force Certificate Expiration

In order to test certificate renewal, you must first force certificate expiration in the RCL SSL Portal.

  • In the RCL SSL Portal, click on the SSL/TLS Certificate > Certificates List link in the side menu

  • In the certificates list, click the Manage > Force Expiry link

  • In the Force Expiry page, click the Force Expiry button

  • The certificate will be forced to expire in the next 14 days

Force Expiry

Testing Renewal

  • Re-start the service to trigger the certificate renewal

  • Open Event Viewer, under ‘Windows Logs > Application’, look for the RCL.SSL.HTTP.AutoRenew.Windows events

  • Ensure that there are no error events for the service

  • If there are errors: fix the errors , restart the service to run the test again

  • Check that the certificate files are stored in the folder that you specified. Review the section below to learn how the service saves certificate files

  • Once this test passes, the service will run every seven days to automatically renew certificates and save the certificate files to the folder.

Certificate Files

The SSL/TLS certificate files will be stored at the path you specified in the appsettings.json configuration file. In this example, we used the path C:/ssl to store the certificate files.

At this path, a folder is generated by the service based on the certificate name. All the files for the certificate will be stored in this folder.

For each certificate, the following files are downloaded and saved on the hosting machine with the following file names:

  • certificate.pfx - The PFX certificate file
  • primaryCertificate.crt - The Primary Certificate file
  • fullChainCertificate.crt - The full chain certificate file
  • caBundle.crt - The Intermediate Certificates (CA Bundle) file
  • privateKey.key - The Certificate Private Key file

The files are saved in a folder generated by the service based on the certificate name following these conventions :

Type Example Certificate Name Example Folder Name
Apex Domain shopeneur.com shopeneur-com
Sub-domain store.shopeneur.com store-shopeneur-com
Wildcard domain *.shopeneur.com wcard-shopeneur-com
SAN HTTP Challenge shopeneur.com,www.shopeneur.com shopeneur-com-san-www
SAN DNS Challenge shopeneur.com,*.shopeneur.com shopeneur-com-san-wcard

Configuring the Web Servers

After, you have installed the Windows Service and the renewed certificates have been downloaded to the specified folder. Please follow the links below to configure your web server to use the certificates files in the folder generated by the service :