Is there a way to create SSL cert requests by specifying all the required parameters on the initial command? I am writing a CLI-based web server control panel and I would like to avoid the use of expect when executing openssl if possible.

This is a typical way to create a cert request:

$ openssl req -new -newkey rsa:2048 -nodes -sha256 -keyout foobar.com.key -out foobar.com.csr
Generating a 2048 bit RSA private key
writing new private key to 'foobar.com.key'
You are about to be asked to enter information that will be incorporated
into your certificate request.
What you are about to enter is what is called a Distinguished Name or a DN.
There are quite a few fields but you can leave some blank
For some fields there will be a default value,
If you enter '.', the field will be left blank.
Country Name (2 letter code) [AU]:US
State or Province Name (full name) [Some-State]:New Sweden
Locality Name (eg, city) []:Stockholm
Organization Name (eg, company) [Internet Widgits Pty Ltd]:Scandanavian Ventures, Inc.
Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) []:
Common Name (e.g. server FQDN or YOUR name) []:foobar.com
Email Address []:gustav@foobar.com

Please enter the following 'extra' attributes
to be sent with your certificate request
A challenge password []:
An optional company name []:FooBar

I am hoping to see something like this: (unworking example)

$ openssl req -new -newkey rsa:2048 -nodes -sha256 -keyout foobar.com.key -out foobar.com.csr \
-Country US \
-State "New Sweden" \
-Locality Stockholm \
-Organization "Scandanavian Ventures, Inc." \
-CommonName  foobar.com \
-EmailAddress gustav@foobar.com \
-Company FooBar

The fine man page had nothing to say on the matter, nor was I able to find anything via Google. Must SSL cert request generation be an interactive process, or is there some way to specify all the parameters in a single command?

This is on a Debian-derived Linux distro running openssl 1.0.1.

  • 2
    – ceejayoz
    Dec 8, 2014 at 15:05
  • @ceejayoz: Very nice, thank you. א) Where are those openssl flags documented? ב) What did you google for to find that? Thank you!
    – dotancohen
    Dec 8, 2014 at 15:07
  • 1
    I googled "CSR generate script". The -subj parameter is documented (not in much detail) at openssl.org/docs/apps/req.html.
    – ceejayoz
    Dec 8, 2014 at 15:11
  • It is also possible to create a config file, typically called openssl.cnf.
    – sebix
    Dec 10, 2014 at 8:55

3 Answers 3


you are missing two part:

the subject line, which can be called as

-subj "/C=US/ST=New Sweden/L=Stockholm /O=.../OU=.../CN=.../emailAddress=..."
  • replacing ... with value, X= being X509 code (Organisation/OrganisationUnit/etc ... )

the password value, which can be called as

-passout pass:client11
-passin  pass:client11
  • which give an output/input password

my calling for new key looks like

openssl genrsa -aes256 -out lib/client1.key -passout pass:client11 1024
openssl rsa -in lib/client1.key -passin pass:client11 -out lib/client1-nokey.key

openssl req -new -key lib/client1.key -subj req -new \
    -passin pass:client11 -out lib/client1.csr \
    -subj "/C=US/ST=New Sweden/L=Stockholm/O=.../OU=.../CN=.../emailAddress=..."

(now that I see it, there is two -new ... )


I append to my regular openssl command:

openssl req -x509 -nodes -days 7300 -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout /etc/ssl/private/key.pem -out /etc/ssl/private/cert.pem

This line:

-subj "/C=PE/ST=Lima/L=Lima/O=Acme Inc. /OU=IT Department/CN=acme.com"


  • Country Name (2 letter code) [AU]:PE
  • State or Province Name (full name) [Some-State]:Lima
  • Locality Name (eg, city) []:Lima
  • Organization Name (eg, company) [Internet Widgits Pty Ltd]:Acme Inc.
  • Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) []:IT Department
  • Common Name (e.g. server FQDN or YOUR name) []:acme.com

Use "/" like separator.

  • 1
    It seems that the accepted answer already includes this information. Otherwise, thank you.
    – dotancohen
    Nov 13, 2018 at 13:36
  • 3
    Upvoted since this answer better explains the data to put into the -subj line
    – mjaggard
    Dec 7, 2020 at 13:28

Check for -batch option as described in the official docs.

  • 3
    Thank you. I see that the batch option exists, but there seems to be no explanation of how to use it.
    – dotancohen
    Dec 8, 2014 at 15:53
  • Why was this answer downvoted? Is batch not a possible solution to the issue? From the name, it sounds like it just might be.
    – dotancohen
    Dec 8, 2014 at 15:54
  • It's definitely only way to do this with -batch option, why downvoted I have no idea. Statement "The fine man page had nothing to say on the matter" is false, because of "-batch" option.
    – eject
    Dec 8, 2014 at 15:58
  • Upvoted for mentioning batch, as even though I didn't use it in the solution it may come in handy in the future.
    – dotancohen
    Dec 8, 2014 at 16:11
  • 1
    This answer doesn't seem to be very useful, as it doesn't explain how to use that option (neither does the doc). Using -batch without -subj causes the command to fail, while using -subj without -batch works just fine, so it's unclear what benefit -batch provides, if any.
    – mustaccio
    Aug 21, 2020 at 20:29

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