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  • Writer's pictureArjav Dave

Self-Signed SSL: NGINX on MAC (Part 3)

Updated: Jul 23, 2022

Till now, we have installed Nginx and did a simple configuration to host an html file locally. In this part we will be configuring Nginx with a self-signed SSL certificate.


We will be creating a self signed certificate using openssl and make Nginx use it for serving content over https. Let’s get our hands dirty. Open our pal, Terminal and lets create a couple of folders to store our key and certificate. Fire the following commands:


mkdir -p /usr/local/etc/ssl/private

mkdir -p /usr/local/etc/ssl/certs


Ideally you can create these folders anywhere but it’s a good practice to have them at the above given path. We will now create key and certificate by running the below command:


sudo openssl req \ -x509 -nodes -days 365 -newkey rsa:2048 \ -keyout /usr/local/etc/ssl/private/self-signed.key \ -out /usr/local/etc/ssl/certs/self-signed.crt


Let’s alter our server context from previous tutorial. The updated file is as below.


events {}


http {

server {

# Listen on port 80 which is the default http port

listen 80;


# Set a permanent redirection from http to https

return 301 https://localhost:443;

}

}


Add another server context inside http context with configuration and locations relating to SSL


server {

listen 443 ssl;

# location of ssl certificate

ssl_certificate /usr/local/etc/ssl/certs/self-signed.crt;

# location of ssl key

ssl_certificate_key /usr/local/etc/ssl/private/self-signed.key;

}


Add location context inside the ssl server context


location / {

root /Users/arjav/Desktop/www;

index index.html index.htm;

}


This is the whole configuration file:


events {

}


http {

# HTTP server

server {

listen 80;

return 301 https://localhost:443;

}

# HTTPS server

server {

listen 443 ssl;

ssl_certificate /usr/local/etc/ssl/certs/self-signed.crt;

ssl_certificate_key /usr/local/etc/ssl/private/self-signed.key;

location / {

root /Users/arjav/Desktop/www;

index index.html index.htm;

}

}

}


As a last step we will need to add the self-signed certificate to the system keychain. Run the below command in your terminal.


sudo security add-trusted-cert \ -d -r trustRoot \ -k /Library/Keychains/System.keychain /usr/local/etc/ssl/certs/self-signed.crt


Voila! That’s it. In your terminal verify your configuration file by running nginx -t and if everything looks okay reload your Nginx server by running nginx -s reload. Visit https://127.0.0.1. You will still see a red flag or “Not secure” sign in your browser saying that your certificate is invalid, but that it’s because not signed by a third-part authority. Rest assured the content is served over secure channels.


In the next chapter we will look at some advanced ssl configuration options for better security, caching and optimisation.

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