Installing an SSL Certificate on an ESXI Server

In the latest version of the ESXI server, the web UI is only available for managing the existing virtual machines (VMs) or creating new VMs. By default, the SSL certificate that comes with ESXI is a self-signed certificate, which is not accepted by most browsers. In this case, we are using ESXI version 6.7, with the URL dubbed esxi-srv.example.com and an expired SSL certificate. We are going to replace it with a new SSL certificate.

Login to the ESXI Web UI

To install the new SSL, we will need to log in to the ESXI web UI and enable SSH access. We can use the Mozilla web browser, which will help us log in to the UI by accepting the risk associated with an expired SSL.

Install SSL Certificate-ESXI Server

Start the SSH Service

To start the SSH service, log in to the ESXI server with root credentials, then click on Manage –> Services –> Start TSM-SSH service.

Install SSL Certificate-ESXI Server

Locate Your Certificates

Navigate to the dir /etc/vmware/ssl

[root@vmxi:/etc/vmware/ssl] pwd
/etc/vmware/ssl

We will need to update the rui.crt and rui.key files by adding your new SSL and Chain certificates to file rui.crt (SSL certificate and Chain certificate in that order). Then you will add your SSL private key to the rui.key file.

Safety First

Before making any changes though, make a backup of the existing certificate and key.

cp /etc/vmware/ssl/rui.crt /etc/vmware/ssl/rui.crt_old
cp /etc/vmware/ssl/rui.key /etc/vmware/ssl/rui.crt_key

Update Certificates and Restart

Then, using the vi editor, replace the SSL and key certificate.

cat /dev/null > /etc/vmware/ssl/rui.crt
vi /etc/vmware/ssl/rui.crt
cat /dev/null > /etc/vmware/ssl/ rui.key
vi /etc/vmware/ssl/ rui.key

After making the changes, you will need to restart the hosted service using the below commands:

[root@vmxi:/etc/vmware/ssl]  /etc/init.d/hostd restart
watchdog-hostd: Terminating watchdog process with PID 5528316
hostd stopped.
hostd started.
[root@vmxi:/etc/vmware/ssl]  /etc/init.d/hostd status
hostd is running.
[root@vmxi:/etc/vmware/ssl]

Now if we look at the browser, we can see the new SSL certificate is in effect.

Install SSL Certificate - ESXI Server

Conclusion

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Article written by Nandakumar Chitra Suresh and edited by Katie Gerhardt