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Managing Certificates on pfSense

pfSense® software includes a central Certificate Manager under System > Cert Manager.

This central Certificate Management takes the place of several other locations inside pfSense software, which used to require certificates be entered directly into their configurations, such as for HTTPS SSL access to the webGUI, OpenVPN PKI Certificate Management, and IPsec Certificate management.

Certificate Authority

Each set of certificates is bound to a Certificate Authority. These are managed from the CAs tab.

When adding or editing a CA, existing CA may be imported or a new one may be created.

To import, set the Method to Import an existing Certificate Authority then paste the contents of the CA certificate into the Certificate data box. If the CA will be used to create new certificates or CRL entries on this firewall, the Certificate Private Key must also be added. In that case, also set the Serial for next certificate appropriately to avoid creating certificates with duplicate serial numbers. Click Save when finished.

To generate a new CA, set the Method to Create an internal Certificate Authority, fill out the required information and click Save.


Certificates are managed on the Certificates tab.

The certificates and keys may also be downloaded from this list view:


Exports the certificate file.


Exports the private key for this certificate.


Generates a PKCS#12 .p12 file with the CA certificate, user certificate, and user key contained inside.

A certificate may be added using the following Methods:

  • Import an existing Certificate by pasting in the certificate and private key

  • Create an internal Certificate using a Certificate Authority defined on the CAs tab by choosing the appropriate CA and filling out the form

  • Create a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) for use with an external CA

Certificate Revocation Lists

Certificate Revocation Lists (CRLs) control which certificates are valid for a given CA. If a Certificate becomes compromised in some way, or is invalidated, it can be added to a CRL, and that CRL may be selected for use by an OpenVPN server, and then an OpenVPN client using that certificate will no longer be allowed to connect.

Certificate Revocation Lists are managed from the Certificate Revocation tab.

First, add a new CRL for a given CA (fa-plus). A existing CRL may be imported an CRL or a new CRL may be created. Imported CRLs cannot be altered, as there is no way to add additional certificates. If a new CRL is being created, it may be edited and certificates may be added to it for revocation.

Finally, the CRL can be chosen for use by an OpenVPN server instance (VPN > OpenVPN). The CA must be the same for the OpenVPN Server and the CRL.

When a CRL is updated, the OpenVPN server will automatically pick up the changes.