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OpenSSL is an open-source implementation of the SSL and TLS protocols, designed to be as flexible as possible. It is supported on a variety of platforms, including BSD, Linux, OpenVMS, Solaris and Windows.

Warning: Collaborated research into OpenSSL protocol usage, published in May 2015, showed further significant risks for SSL connections; named "Logjam" attack. See for results and for suggested server-side configuration changes.


openssl is installed by default on Arch Linux (as a dependency of coreutils).

There are various OpenSSL library bindings available for developers:


On Arch Linux the OPENSSLDIR is /etc/ssl.

The OpenSSL configuration file, conventionally placed in /etc/ssl/openssl.cnf, may appear complicated at first. Remember that variables may be expanded in assignments, much like how shell scripts work. For a thorough explanation of the configuration file format, see config(5ssl).

req section

Merge-arrows-2.pngThis article or section is a candidate for merging with #Generate a certificate signing request.Merge-arrows-2.png

Notes: Same topic. (Discuss in Talk:OpenSSL#Plan)

Settings related to generating keys, requests and self-signed certificates.

The req section is responsible for the DN prompts. A general misconception is the Common Name (CN) prompt, which suggests that it should have the user's proper name as a value. End-user certificates need to have the machine hostname as CN, whereas CA should not have a valid TLD, so that there is no chance that, between the possible combinations of certified end-users' CN and the CA certificate's, there is a match that could be misinterpreted by some software as meaning that the end-user certificate is self-signed. Some CA certificates do not even have a CN, such as Equifax:

$ openssl x509 -subject -noout < /etc/ssl/certs/Equifax_Secure_CA.pem
subject= /C=US/O=Equifax/OU=Equifax Secure Certificate Authority


This sections assumes you have read Transport Layer Security#Obtaining a certificate.

Generate a Curve25519 private key

$ openssl genpkey -algorithm x25519 -out file

Generate an ECDSA private key

$ openssl genpkey -algorithm EC -pkeyopt ec_paramgen_curve:P-256 -out file

Generate an RSA private key

With genpkey(1ssl), which supersedes genrsa according to openssl(1ssl):

$ openssl genpkey -algorithm RSA -pkeyopt rsa_keygen_bits:keysize -out file

If an encrypted key is desired, use the -aes-256-cbc option.

Generate a certificate signing request

Use req(1ssl):

$ openssl req -new -sha256 -key private_key -out filename

Generate a self-signed certificate

$ openssl req -key private_key -x509 -new -days days -out filename

Generate a self-signed certificate with private key in a single command

You can combine the above command in OpenSSL into a single command which might be convenient in some cases:

 $ openssl req -x509 -newkey rsa:4096 -days days -keyout key_filename -out cert_filename

Generate Diffie–Hellman parameters

See Diffie–Hellman key exchange for more information.

Current best practice is to use one of the standard DH groups from RFC 7919, eg. ffdhe2048.

Alternatively you can generate a random group of your own:

$ openssl dhparam -out filename 2048
Tip: To speed up generating, especially when not on high-end hardware, add the -dsaparam option [1].


"bad decrypt" while decrypting

OpenSSL 1.1.0 changed the default digest algorithm for the dgst and enc commands from MD5 to SHA256. [2]

Therefore if a file has been encrypted using OpenSSL 1.0.2 or older, trying to decrypt it with an up to date version may result in an error like:

error:06065064:digital envelope routines:EVP_DecryptFinal_ex:bad decrypt:crypto/evp/evp_enc.c:540

Supplying the -md md5 option should solve the issue:

$ openssl enc -d -md md5 -in encrypted -out decrypted

See also