Pass phrase is required after restarting Apache server

Solution ID:    SO14536    Updated:    06/14/2011


After restarting Apache server, a server administrator is prompted for pass phrase.


The reason this dialog pops up at startup and every re-start is that the RSA private key inside a server.key file is stored in encrypted format for security reasons. The pass phrase is needed to decrypt this file, so it can be read and parsed.


There are two recommended solutions to resolve this issue on Apache server. Please review the suggested solutions.

How to remove pass phrase requirement in Apache

SO10262 - Remove passphrase requirement on private key for Apache-SSL

Use the "SSLPassPhraseDialog exec:/path/to/program"

1. Create a file, for example in /etc/httpd/conf, named passphrase-file. Within the passphrase file, include 2 lines of code and make it executable.

The passphrase file contains something like:
echo "passphrase"

To make the passphrase file executable:
chmod +x /etc/httpd/conf/passphrase-file

2. Check /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf for the line that contains "SSLPassPhraseDialog ..."

SSLPassPhraseDialog exec:/etc/httpd/conf/passphrase-file

Note: What the passphrase file does is that, when Apache asks for the passphrase it runs this file and echoes the passphrase for Apache to continue loading.

3. Stop and start Apache at this point.

/usr/sbin/apachectl stop
/usr/sbin/apachectl startssl

Please visit Apache's web site documentation for more information.


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