12 Practical Examples of OpenSSL [Updated 2023]

OpenSSL is the open-source implementation of SSL and TLS protocol. It is a general-purpose cryptographic library and free to use for commercial and non-commercial under simple license conditions. Some software components of OpenSSL are FIPS 140-2 certified which adds further confidence among developers and the security community. It basically implements in the C programming language. It supports different cryptographic algorithms categorizes under ciphers, cryptographic hash functions, and public-key cryptography.

Now, we will discuss the usage of OpenSSL by using different CLI commands.

(1) Generate a new private key and certificate signing request

Using OpenSSL, a user can generate a new private key and certificate signing request by using the below command.

$openssl req -out TestCSR.csr -new -newkey rsa:2048-nodes -keyout TestPrivateKey.key

We can see the generated certificate signing request by using the cat command

We can see the generated private key by using the cat command

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(2) Generate a self-signed certificate

By using OpenSSL, a user can generate a self-signed certificate by using the below command.

$openssl req -x509 -sha512 -nodes -days 180 -newkey rsa:1024 -keyout TestPrivateKey.key -out TestCertificate.crt

We can see the generated test certificate by using cat command

(3) Generate a certificate signing request (CSR) based on an existing certificate

$openssl x509 req -in certificate.crt -out TestCSRNew.csr -signkey TestPrivateKey.key

(4) Generate a certificate signing request (CSR) for an existing private key

$openssl req -out TestCSR.csr -key TestPrivateKey.key -new

(5) Convert a certificate file .cer (or .crt, .der) to PEM (.pem)

$openssl x509 -inform pem -in TestCertificate.crt -out TestCertificate.pem

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(6) Convert a certificate file PEM (.pem) to .der

$openssl x509 -outform der -in TestCertificate1.pem -out TestCertificate1.der

(7) Check a private key using OpenSSL

$openssl rsa -in TestPrivateKey.key -check

(8) Check a Certificate Signing Request (CSR)

$openssl req -text -noout -verify -in TestCSR.csr

(9) Check Certificate using OpenSSL

$openssl x509 -in TestCertificate.crt -text -noout

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(10) Check an SSL connection by giving URL as input.

$openssl s_client -connect www.allabouttesting.org:443

(11) Check the version of OpenSSL

$openssl version

(12) Check the .pem file for a certification expiration date

$openssl x509 -noout -in TestCertificate.pem -dates

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If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments section below. Nothing gives me greater joy than helping my readers!

Disclaimer: This tutorial is for educational purpose only. Individual is solely responsible for any illegal act.

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  1. October 6, 2021

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  2. October 26, 2021

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