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How to create a .pem File for SSL Certificate Installations

This document (7013103) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.


SUSE Linux Enterprise Server


How to create a .pem File for SSL Certificate Installations


Privacy Enhanced Mail (PEM) files are concatenated certificate container files frequently used in certificate installations when multiple certificates are being imported as one file. They are a defined standard in RFCs 1421 through 1424. They can be thought of as a layered container of certificates. A .pem file is a container format that may just include the public certificate or the entire certificate chain (private key, public key, root certificates).

The following details the structure of a typical .pem file (including the entire certificate chain):

(Private Key: domain_name.key contents)
(Primary SSL certificate: domain_name.crt contents)
(Intermediate certificate: certChainCA.crt contents)

.pem SSL Creation Instructions require the following files:

  • Private Key
  • Server Certificate (crt, puplic key)
  • (optional) Intermediate CA and/or bundles if signed by a 3rd party

How to create a PEM file with OpenSSL:

  • Remove the password from the Private Key by following the steps listed below:
    • Type openssl rsa -in server.key -out nopassword.key and press Enter.
    • Enter the pass phrase of the Private Key.
  • Combine the private key, public certificate and any 3rd party intermediate certificate files:
    • cat nopassword.key > server.pem
    • cat server.crt >> server.pem
      • Repeat this step as needed for third-party certificate chain files, bundles, etc:
        cat intermediate.crt >> server.pem

How to create a PEM file with the help of an automated script:

  • Download NetIQ Cool Tool OpenSSL-Toolkit.
  • Select Create Certificates | PEM with key and entire trust chain
  • Provide the full path to the directory containing the certificate files.
  • Provide the filenames of the following:
    • private key
    • public key (server crt)
    • (conditional) password for private key
    • (conditional) any intermediate certificate chain file(s)

    Additional Information

    See TID 7015502 - Common Mistakes in SSL Certificate Management & Implementation


    This Support Knowledgebase provides a valuable tool for NetIQ/Novell/SUSE customers and parties interested in our products and solutions to acquire information, ideas and learn from one another. Materials are provided for informational, personal or non-commercial use within your organization and are presented "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

    • Document ID:7013103
    • Creation Date:26-AUG-13
    • Modified Date:06-JUL-16
      • NovellData Synchronizer

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