Installing TLS/SSL Certificates in Apache Server


This article assumes that you have experience with Apache 2 and configuring Virtual Hosts in Linux or Windows.

Get the Certificate Files Manually

You can download the files required to install the TLS/SSL certificate in the Apache web server from the RCL SSL Portal on the Certificate Details page.


Files Required

The files required are :

  • Certificate Private Key (.key)
  • Primary Certificate (.crt)
  • Intermediate Certificates (CA Bundle) (.crt)

Download the files to a suitable folder in your hosting machine.

Linux Command :

wget https://url-of-the-file -O filename.extension

In Linux, you can use the wget command to download the file. Run the command for each file you want to download.

Windows :

Download the file to a folder in the hosting machine

Get the Certificate Files Automatically

You can also use the RCL SSL HTTP AutoRenew or RCL SSL DNS AutoRenew to automatically renew and download the files required to install the SSL/TLS certificate in the Apache web server.

The SSL/TLS certificate files will be stored at the path you specified in the appsettings.json configuration file.

At this path, a folder is generated by the auto renew 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 auto renew service based on the certificate name following these conventions :

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

Assigning the TLS/SSL certificate to Apache

After you have obtained the certificate files, the next step is to edit your Apache configuration file to use them.

It is assumed that you have Apache 2 already installed and hosting your website on your hosting machine. In addition, you have established your own custom domain name that points to your website.

Ensure the SSL module is enabled in Apache.

Linux Command

sudo a2enmod ssl

Windows :

In the conf/httpd.conf file, change the following lines by removing the leading # sign in order to uncomment the lines:

#Loadmodule ssl_module modules/

#LoadModule socache_shmcb_module modules/

#Include conf/extra/httpd-default.conf

#Include conf/extra/httpd-ssl.conf

Create a Virtual Host

In your hosting machine, create a Virtual Host entry or file for your domain under the recommended folder. Use it to enable SSL and include the certificate files as required.

If there is a SSL default template available in your Apache server, then use the template to create the Virtual Host.

In Linux, the Virtual Host files are usually located at:


In Windows, the Virtual Host files are usually located at:


Please see the Virtual host example below:

<VirtualHost *:443>

   DocumentRoot /path/to/mysite

# This is the important section   

   SSLEngine on
   SSLCertificateFile	/path/to/primaryCertificate.crt
   SSLCertificateKeyFile /path/to/privateKey.key
   SSLCertificateChainFile /path/to/caBundle.crt

Note : The SSLCertificateChainFile may be named SSLCACertificateFile in some apache installations.

You can modify the paths to match the location that you used to save your certificate files:

  • SSLCertificateFile - should be your Primary Certificate file (.crt)
  • SSLCertificateKeyFile - should be the Certificate Private Key file (.key)
  • SSLCertificateChainFile - should be the CA Bundle (Intermediate Certificates) file (.crt)

Ensure the actual files exists at the path shown above. If the files do not exist, Apache will not be able to re-start.

Ensure the Virtual host is enabled in Apache.

Linux example command for ‘mysite.conf’ :

sudo a2ensite mysite.conf

Reload the Apache service once you’re done.

Linux command:

sudo systemctl reload apache2

In Windows, save the virtual host file and restart the Apache service.

Now you can confirm your domain SSL certificate using any of the SSL checker tools available. Or you can just browse the URL.