How to fix “Could not verify this certificate for unknown reasons” SSL certificate lighttpd troubles

Firefox SSL Pro could not verify for uknown reasons solve error

I’ve been issuing new wildcard multiple SSL certificate to renew an expiring ones. After I completed the new certificate setup manually on the server (a CentOS 5.5 Final running SoluSVM Pro – Virtual Private Manager), I launched Firefox to give a try if the certificate is properly configured.

Instead of my expectations that the browser would just accept the certificate without spitting any error messages and all will be fine, insetad I got error with the just installed certificate and thus the browser failed to report the SSL cert is properly authenticated.

The company used to issue the SSL certificate is GlobeSSL – http://globessl.com , it was quite “hassle”, with the tech support as the first certficate generated by globessl was generation based on SSL key file with 4096 key encryption.

As the first issued Authenticated certificate generated by GlobeSSL was not good further on about a week time was necessery to completethe required certificate reissuing ….

It wasn’t just GlobeSSL’s failure, as there were some spam filters on my side that was preventing some of GlobeSSL emails to enter normally, however what was partially their fault as they haven’t made their notification and confirmation emails to pass by a mid-level strong anti-spam filter…

Anyways my overall experience with GlobeSSL certificate reissue and especially their technical support is terrible.
To make a parallel, issuing certificates with GoDaddy is a way more easier and straight forward.

Now let me come back to the main certificate error I got in Firefox …

A bit of further investigation with the cert failure, has led me to the error message which tracked back to the newly installed SSL certificate issues.
In order to find the exact cause of the SSL certificate failure in Firefox I followed to the menus:

Tools -> Page Info -> Security -> View Certificate

Doing so in the General browser tab, there was the following error:

Could not verify this certificate for unknown reasons

The information on Could not verify this certificate for unknown reasons on the internet was very mixed and many people online suggested many possible causes of the issue, so I was about to loose myself.

Everything with the certificate seemed to be configured just fine in lighttpd, all the GlobeSSL issued .cer and .key file as well as the ca bundle were configured to be read used in lighttpd in it’s configuration file:
/etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

Here is a section taken from lighttpd.conf file which did the SSL certificate cert and key file configuration:

$SERVER["socket"] == "0.0.0.0:443" {
ssl.engine = "enable"
ssl.pemfile = "/etc/lighttpd/ssl/wildcard.mydomain.bundle"
}

The file /etc/lighttpd/ssl/wildcard.mydomain.bundle was containing the content of both the .key (generated on my server with openssl) and the .cer file (issued by GlobeSSL) as well as the CA bundle (by GlobeSSL).

Even though all seemed to be configured well the SSL error Could not verify this certificate for unknown reasons was still present in the browser.

GlobeSSL tech support suggested that I try their Web key matcher interfacehttps://confirm.globessl.com/key-matcher.html to verify that everything is fine with my certificate and the cert key. Thanks to this interface I figured out all seemed to be fine with the issued certificate itself and something else should be causing the SSL oddities.
I was further referred by GlobeSSL tech support for another web interface to debug errors with newly installed SSL certificates.
These interface is called Verify and Validate Installed SSL Certificate and is found here

Even though this SSL domain installation error report and debug tool did some helpful suggestions, it wasn’t it that helped me solve the issues.

What helped was First the suggestion made by one of the many tech support guy in GlobeSSL who suggested something is wrong with the CA Bundle and on a first place the documentation on SolusVM’s wiki – http://wiki.solusvm.com/index.php/Installing_an_SSL_Certificate .
Cccording to SolusVM’s documentation lighttpd.conf‘s file had to have one extra line pointing to a seperate file containing the issued CA bundle (which is a combined version of the issued SSL authority company SSL key and certificate).
The line I was missing in lighttpd.conf (described in dox), looked like so:

ssl.ca-file = “/usr/local/solusvm/ssl/gd_bundle.crt”

Thus to include the directive I changed my previous lighttpd.conf to look like so:

$SERVER["socket"] == "0.0.0.0:443" {
ssl.engine = "enable"
ssl.pemfile = "/etc/lighttpd/ssl/wildcard.mydomain.bundle"
ssl.ca-file = "/etc/lighttpd/ssl/server.bundle.crt"
}

Where server.bundle.crt contains an exact paste from the certificate (CA Bundle) mailed by GlobeSSL.

There was a couple of other ports on which an SSL was configured so I had to include these configuration directive everywhere in my conf I had anything related to SSL.

Finally to make the new settings take place I did a lighttpd server restart.

[root@centos ssl]# /etc/init.d/lighttpd restart
Stopping lighttpd: [ OK ]
Starting lighttpd: [ OK ]

After lighttpd reinitiated the error was gone! Cheers ! 😉

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