Posts Tagged ‘tech support’

Don’t revoke GoDaddy SSL certificate. (Expired) Revoked SSL is impossible to revert

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

One of our company SSL (https) Certificates recently expired so I needed to renew the SSL certificate.

I was in a hurry doing plenty of other stuffs so it seemed logical for me to Revoke the Certificate. I thought revoking the certificate will simply cancel it and afterwards, in Godaddy's SSL (Manager Certificates) interface the Revoked – Cancelled certificate will re-appear in the menu, ready to be generated in the same way as earlier I initially generated the Godaddy's bought SSL certificate

Hence I proceeded and used Revoke button:

Godaddy SSL certificate manager browser certificate Screenshot

Well guess what my calculations, were wrong.
 Revoking, just cancel it. The  revoked domain SSL certificate did not show up again in Godaddy's Cert Manager and I have no way from their interface to revert the changes.

To deal with the situation, I contacted Godaddy Support immediately with the following inquiry:

Other : Revoked SSL Certificate
Issue :
Hello we have revoked the SSL certificate for our domain
 Can we revert back the certificate as it was.
If not how to generate a new key for our domain
Thanks in Advance.
Kindest Regards

"My-Company-name" Tech Support

In 5 hours time I received the following tech support answer:

Dear Tech Support,

Thank you for contacting Online Support. It is not possible to reinstate a canceled certificate. You will need to purchase a new certificate. I have requested that a refund be applied to your account. Once the credit appears in your account, please allow 5-7 business days to see the funds applied to the associated payment method. Thank you for your patience and understanding in this matter.

Please let us know if we can help you in any other way.


Christian P.
Online Support Team
Customer Inquiry
Name : Cadia Tech Support
Domain Name :
ShopperID : xxxxxxxxx
Phone : xxxxxxxx
Shopper Validated : Yes
Browser : Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20100401 Firefox/3.6.3

Apparently Godaddy, can work out a bit on their tech support answering time 5 hours for a simple reply is quite long.

Now taking in consideration, above reply from Godady, my only options are to either wait for 5 to 7 (business days) or buy a new credit for SSL certificate.

Buying a new credit will probably not happen as our company is experiencing some financial troubles because of the crisis. So I guess we will have to wait for this 7 days at worst. So again if you wonder to REVOKE or not an SSL certificate. Think again …

Just a small note to make here, that Godaddy has a very straight forward way to just renew an expered certificate, which I succesfully later have done for 4 domains. Well, if only I knew earlier what REVOKE SSL cert really does I wouldn't have ended in this mess …

How to auto restart CentOS Linux server with software watchdog (softdog) to reduce server downtime

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

How to auto restart centos with software watchdog daemon to mitigate server downtimes, watchdog linux artistic logo

I’m in charge of dozen of Linux servers these days and therefore am required to restart many of the servers with a support ticket (because many of the Data Centers where the servers are co-located does not have a web interface or IPKVM connected to the server for that purpose). Therefore the server restart requests in case of crash sometimes gets processed in few hours or in best case in at least half an hour.

I’m aware of the existence of Hardware Watchdog devices, which are capable to detect if a server is hanged and auto-restart it, however the servers I administrate does not have Hardware support for Watchdog timer.

Thanksfully there is a free software project called Watchdog which is easily configured and mitigates the terrible downtimes caused every now and then by a server crash and respective delays by tech support in Data Centers.

I’ve recently blogged on the topic of Debian Linux auto-restart in case of kernel panic , however now i had to conifgure watchdog on some dozen of CentOS Linux servers.

It appeared installation & configuration of Watchdog on CentOS is a piece of cake and comes to simply following few easy steps, which I’ll explain quickly in this post:

1. Install with yum watchdog to CentOS

[root@centos:/etc/init.d ]# yum install watchdog

2. Add to configuration a log file to log watchdog activities and location of the watchdog device

The quickest way to add this two is to use echo to append it in /etc/watchdog.conf:

[root@centos:/etc/init.d ]# echo 'file = /var/log/messages' >> /etc/watchdog.conf
echo 'watchdog-device = /dev/watchdog' >> /etc/watchdog.conf

3. Load the softdog kernel module to initialize the software watchdog via /dev/watchdog

[root@centos:/etc/init.d ]# /sbin/modprobe softdog

Initialization of softdog should be indicated by a line in dmesg kernel log like the one above:

[root@centos:/etc/init.d ]# dmesg |grep -i watchdog
Software Watchdog Timer: 0.07 initialized. soft_noboot=0 soft_margin=60 sec (nowayout= 0)

4. Include the softdog kernel module to load on CentOS boot up

This is necessery, because otherwise after reboot the softdog would not be auto initialized and without it being initialized, the watchdog daemon service could not function as it does automatically auto reboots the server if the /dev/watchdog disappears.

It’s better that the softdog module is not loaded via /etc/rc.local but the default CentOS methodology to load module from /etc/rc.module is used:

[root@centos:/etc/init.d ]# echo modprobe softdog >> /etc/rc.modules
[root@centos:/etc/init.d ]# chmod +x /etc/rc.modules

5. Start the watchdog daemon service

The succesful intialization of softdog in step 4, should have provided the system with /dev/watchdog, before proceeding with starting up the watchdog daemon it’s wise to first check if /dev/watchdog is existent on the system. Here is how:

[root@centos:/etc/init.d ]# ls -al /dev/watchdogcrw------- 1 root root 10, 130 Aug 10 14:03 /dev/watchdog

Being sure, that /dev/watchdog is there, I’ll start the watchdog service.

[root@centos:/etc/init.d ]# service watchdog restart

Very important note to make here is that you should never ever configure watchdog service to run on boot time with chkconfig. In other words the status from chkconfig for watchdog boot on all levels should be off like so:

[root@centos:/etc/init.d ]# chkconfig --list |grep -i watchdog
watchdog 0:off 1:off 2:off 3:off 4:off 5:off 6:off

Enabling the watchdog from the chkconfig will cause watchdog to automatically restart the system as it will probably start the watchdog daemon before the softdog module is initialized. As watchdog will be unable to read the /dev/watchdog it will though the system has hanged even though the system might be in a boot process. Therefore it will end up in an endless loops of reboots which can only be fixed in a linux single user mode!!! Once again BEWARE, never ever activate watchdog via chkconfig!

Next step to be absolutely sure that watchdog device is running it can be checked with normal ps command:

[root@centos:/etc/init.d ]# ps aux|grep -i watchdog
root@hosting1-fr [~]# ps axu|grep -i watch|grep -v greproot 18692 0.0 0.0 1816 1812 ? SNLs 14:03 0:00 /usr/sbin/watchdog
root 25225 0.0 0.0 0 0 ? ZN 17:25 0:00 [watchdog] <defunct>

You have probably noticed the defunct state of watchdog, consider that as absolutely normal, above output indicates that now watchdog is properly running on the host and waiting to auto reboot in case of sudden /dev/watchdog disappearance.

As a last step before, after being sure its initialized properly, it’s necessery to add watchdog to run on boot time via /etc/rc.local post init script, like so:

[root@centos:/etc/init.d ]# echo 'echo /sbin/service watchdog start' >> /etc/rc.local

Now enjoy, watchdog is up and running and will automatically restart the CentOS host 😉

How to reboot remotely Linux server if reboot, shutdown and init commands are not working (/sbin/reboot: Input/output error) – Reboot Linux in emergency using MagicSysRQ kernel sysctl variable

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

SysRQ an alternative way to restart unrestartable Linux server

I’ve been in a situation today, where one Linux server’s hard drive SCSI driver or the physical drive is starting to break off where in dmesg kernel log, I can see a lot of errors like:

[178071.998440] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] Result: hostbyte=DID_BAD_TARGET driverbyte=DRIVER_OK,SUGGEST_OK
[178071.998440] end_request: I/O error, dev sda, sector 89615868

I tried a number of things to remount the hdd which was throwing out errors in read only mode, but almost all commands I typed on the server were either shown as missng or returning an error:
Input/output error

Just ot give you an idea what I mean, here is a paste from the shell:

linux-server:/# vim /etc/fstab
-bash: vim: command not found
linux-server:/# vi /etc/fstab
-bash: vi: command not found
linux-server:/# mcedit /etc/fstab
-bash: /usr/bin/mcedit: Input/output error
linux-server:/# fdisk -l
-bash: /sbin/fdisk: Input/output error

After I’ve tried all kind of things to try to diagnose the server and all seemed failing, I thought next a reboot might help as on server boot the filesystems will get checked with fsck and fsck might be able to fix (at least temporary) the mess.

I went on and tried to restart the system, and guess what? I got:

/sbin/reboot init Input/output error

I hoped that at least /sbin/shutdown or /sbin/init commands might work out and since I couldn’t use the reboot command I tried this two as well just to get once again:

linux-server:/# shutdown -r now
bash: /sbin/shutdown: Input/output error
linux-server:/# init 6
bash: /sbin/init: Input/output error

You see now the situation was not pinky, it seemed there was no way to reboot the system …
Moreover the server is located in remote Data Center and I the tech support there is conducting assigned task with the speed of a turtle.
The server had no remote reboot, web front end or anything and thefore I needed desperately a way to be able to restart the machine.

A bit of research on the issue has led me to other people who experienced the /sbin/reboot init Input/output error error mostly caused by servers with failing hard drives as well as due to HDD control driver bugs in the Linux kernel.

As I was looking for another alternative way to reboot my Linux machine in hope this would help. I came across a blog post Rebooting the Magic Way

As it was suggested in Cory’s blog a nice alternative way to restart a Linux machine without using reboot, shutdown or init cmds is through a reboot with the Magic SysRQ key combination

The only condition for the Magic SysRQ key to work is to have enabled the SysRQ – CONFIG_MAGIC_SYSRQ in Kernel compile time.
As of today luckily SysRQ Magic key is compiled and enabled by default in almost all modern day Linux distributions in this numbers Debian, Fedora and their derivative distributions.

To use the sysrq kernel capabilities as a mean to restart the server, it’s necessery first to activate the sysrq through sysctl, like so:

linux-server:~# sysctl -w kernel.sysrq=1
kernel.sysrq = 1

I found enabling the kernel.sysrq = 1 permanently in the kernel is also quite a good idea, to achieve that I used:

echo 'kernel.sysrq = 1' >> /etc/sysctl.conf

Next it’s wise to use the sync command to sync any opened files on the server as well stopping as much of the server active running services (MySQL, Apache etc.).

linux-server:~# sync

Now to reboot the Linux server, I used the /proc Linux virtual filesystem by issuing:

linux-server:~# echo b > /proc/sysrq-trigger

Using the echo b > /proc/sysrq-trigger simulates a keyboard key press which does invoke the Magic SysRQ kernel capabilities and hence instructs the kernel to immediately reboot the system.
However one should be careful with using the sysrq-trigger because it’s not a complete substitute for /sbin/reboot or /sbin/shutdown -r commands.
One major difference between the standard way to reboot via /sbin/reboot is that reboot kills all the running processes on the Linux machine and attempts to unmount all filesystems, before it proceeds to sending the kernel reboot instruction.

Using echo b > /proc/sysrq-trigger, however neither tries to umount mounted filesystems nor tries to kill all processes and sync the filesystem, so on a heavy loaded (SQL data critical) server, its use might create enormous problems and lead to severe data loss!

SO BEWARE be sure you know what you’re doing before you proceed using /proc/sysrq-trigger as a way to reboot ;).

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

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

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 – , 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:

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

$SERVER["socket"] == "" {
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 interface 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 – .
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: = “/usr/local/solusvm/ssl/gd_bundle.crt”

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

$SERVER["socket"] == "" {
ssl.engine = "enable"
ssl.pemfile = "/etc/lighttpd/ssl/wildcard.mydomain.bundle" = "/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 ! 😉