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mod_ssl on Rocky Linux in an httpd Apache Web-Server Environment

Apache Web-Server has been used for many years now; mod_sslis used to provide greater security for the Web-Server and can be installed on almost any version of Linux, including Rocky Linux. The installation of mod_ssl will be part of the creation of a Lamp-Server for Rocky Linux.

This procedure is designed to get you up and running with Rocky Linux using mod_ssl in an Apache Web-Server environment..

Prerequisites

  • A Workstation or Server, preferably with Rocky Linux already installed.
  • You should be in the Root environment or type sudo before all of the commands you enter.

Install Rocky Linux Minimal

When installing Rocky Linux, we used the following sets of packages:

  • Minimal
  • Standard

Run System Update

First, run the system update command to let the server rebuild the repository cache, so that it could recognize the packages available.

dnf update

Enabling Repositories

With a conventional Rocky Linux Server Installation all necessary Repositories should be in place.

Check The Available Repositories

Just to be sure check your Repository Listing with:

dnf repolist

You should get the following back showing all of the enabled repositories:

appstream                                                        Rocky Linux 8 - AppStream
baseos                                                           Rocky Linux 8 - BaseOS
extras                                                           Rocky Linux 8 - Extras
powertools                                                       Rocky Linux 8 - PowerTools

Installing Packages

To install mod_ssl, run:

dnf install mod_ssl

To enable the mod_ssl module, run:

apachectl restart httpd apachectl -M | grep ssl

You should see an output as such:

ssl_module (shared)

Open TCP port 443

To allow incoming traffic with HTTPS, run:

firewall-cmd --zone=public --permanent --add-service=https
firewall-cmd --reload

At this point you should be able to access the Apache Web-Server via HTTPS. Enter https://your-server-ip or https://your-server-hostname to confirm the mod_ssl configuration.

Generate SSL Certificate

To generate a new self-signed certificate for Host rocky8 with 365 days expiry, run:

openssl req -newkey rsa:2048 -nodes -keyout /etc/pki/tls/private/httpd.key -x509 -days 365 -out /etc/pki/tls/certs/httpd.crt

You will see the following output:

Generating a RSA private key
................+++++
..........+++++
writing new private key to '/etc/pki/tls/private/httpd.key'
-----
You are about to be asked to enter information that will be incorporated
into your certificate request.
What you are about to enter is what is called a Distinguished Name or a DN.
There are quite a few fields but you can leave some blank
For some fields there will be a default value,
If you enter '.', the field will be left blank.
-----
Country Name (2 letter code) [XX]:AU
State or Province Name (full name) []:
Locality Name (eg, city) [Default City]:
Organization Name (eg, company) [Default Company Ltd]:LinuxConfig.org
Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) []:
Common Name (eg, your name or your server's hostname) []:rocky8
Email Address []:
After this command completes execution, the following two SSL files will be created, run:

ls -l /etc/pki/tls/private/httpd.key /etc/pki/tls/certs/httpd.crt

-rw-r--r--. 1 root root 1269 Jan 29 16:05 /etc/pki/tls/certs/httpd.crt
-rw-------. 1 root root 1704 Jan 29 16:05 /etc/pki/tls/private/httpd.key

Configure Apache Web-Server with New SSL Certificates

To include your newly created SSL certificate into the Apache web-server configuration open the ssl.conf file by running:

nano /etc/httpd/conf.d/ssl.conf

Then change the following lines:

FROM:

SSLCertificateFile /etc/pki/tls/certs/localhost.crt
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/pki/tls/private/localhost.key
TO:
SSLCertificateFile /etc/pki/tls/certs/httpd.crt
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/pki/tls/private/httpd.key

Then reload the Apache Web-Server by running:

systemctl reload httpd

Test the mod_ssl configuration

Enter the following in a web browser:

https://your-server-ip or https://your-server-hostname

To Redirect All HTTP Traffic To HTTPS

Create a new file by running:

nano /etc/httpd/conf.d/redirect_http.conf

Insert the following content and save file, replacing "your-server-hostname" with your hostname.

<VirtualHost _default_:80>

        Servername rocky8
        Redirect permanent / https://your-server-hostname/

</VirtualHost/>

Apply the change when reloading the Apache service by running:

systemctl reload httpd

The Apache Web-Server will now be configured to redirect any incoming traffic from http://your-server-hostname to https://your-server-hostname URL.

Final Steps

We have seen how to install and configure mod_ssl. And, create a new SSL Certificate in order to run a Web-Server under HTTPS Service.

Conclusion

This tutorial will be part of the tutorial covering installing a LAMP (Linux, Apache Web-Server, Maria Database-Server, and PHP Scripting Language), Server on Rocky Linux version 8.x. Eventually we will be including images to help better understand the installation.

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