Replacing the default XenServer WSS Certificate

Something a little bit different from the normal RES related posts this time. During the deployment of the Demo Showcase platform we needed to replace the SSL certificate used by the XenServer Web Self Service (WSS) servers. Reviewing the WSS documentation revealed very little about how to achieve this. As you can see the user and installation guides offer very little guidance!


Much to my surprise, I couldn’t locate a web resource that details how to do this, i.e. generate the required ssl.crt and ssl.key files. There are lots of snippets of information but no simple post that details the requirements nor the steps to perform. This is my attempt to rectify this situation!


Before you begin there is the assumption that you have the following prepared/installed:

  1. The required SSL certificate has been exported into .PFX format (and you know the private key password!);
  2. You have OpenSSL is installed;
  3. WinSCP (or other SCP client) is installed.

Converting the Certificate to a .CRT and .KEY Pair

The WSS appliance expects the certificate and private key to be provided as two separate files rather one as contained in the .PFX (or .PEM) file. We can generate the correct files by utilising the OpenSSL tools. The secret to this part is to ensure that the generated .KEY file is not encoded with a password. If there is, you’ll receive an error when attempting to start the web service on the WSS appliance.

To export the certificate (.CRT) component from the .PFX file run the following OpenSSL command: openssl pkcs12 -in <ssl-certificate.pfx> -clcerts -nokeys -out <ssl.crt>

To export the private key (.KEY) without a password, run the following OpenSSL command: openssl pkcs12 -in <ssl-certificate.pfx> -nodes -nocerts -out <ssl.key>

Transferring the Certificate Files to the WSS Appliance

Once you have the required .CRT/.KEY file pair, you’ll need to copy them to the Web Self Service appliance. This is a fairly straightforward process but requires enabling the SSH daemon on the appliance first. To do this you’ll need to connect to the WSS appliance console via XenCenter. Once you’ve logged onto the console, issue the following command: service sshd start

You’ll also want to stop the Web Self Service process by running the following command: service webss stop

After the SSH service has started and WSS services are stopped, you can now copy the .CRT and .KEY files to the /root/sse/conf directory via WinSCP (or your tool of choice). Note: you might want to rename the original .CRT and .KEY files before copying the replacements in!

Restart the WSS services by executing: service webss start

All being well, you should receive no errors and when browsing to the WSS homepage you should not be warned about the SSL certificate! Here’s an example using a certificate with the Common Name set as the default sse-https-server.


Simples! I hope someone finds this useful one day! Iain

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Replacing the RES HyperDrive SSL Certificate | Virtual Engine April 12, 2013 (7:02 pm)

    […] know how to generate these files from a .pfx file, I suggest you refer to the instructions in the Replacing the Default XenServer WSS Certificate post first and look for the “Converting the Certificate to a .CRT and .KEY Pair” section. Note: […]

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