Somehow just today suddenly my seafile client throwed this error. I don't believe its a seafile issue, because my openssl throws the exact same error:

user@nb-user:~$ echo |openssl s_client -connect seafile.mydomain.ch:443
depth=1 C = IL, O = StartCom Ltd., OU = Secure Digital Certificate Signing, CN = StartCom Class 2 Primary Intermediate Server CA
verify error:num=20:unable to get local issuer certificate
verify return:0
Certificate chain
 0 s:/description=5RygJ9fx8e2SBLzw/C=CH/ST=Thurgau/L=Frauenfeld/O=mydomain GmbH/CN=*.mydomain.ch/emailAddress=postmaster@mydomain.ch
   i:/C=IL/O=StartCom Ltd./OU=Secure Digital Certificate Signing/CN=StartCom Class 2 Primary Intermediate Server CA
 1 s:/C=IL/O=StartCom Ltd./OU=Secure Digital Certificate Signing/CN=StartCom Class 2 Primary Intermediate Server CA
   i:/C=IL/O=StartCom Ltd./OU=Secure Digital Certificate Signing/CN=StartCom Certification Authority
Server certificate
[... some more lines]
subject=/description=5RygJ9fx8e2SBLzw/C=CH/ST=Thurgau/L=Frauenfeld/O=mydomain GmbH/CN=*.mydomain.ch/emailAddress=postmaster@mydomain.ch
issuer=/C=IL/O=StartCom Ltd./OU=Secure Digital Certificate Signing/CN=StartCom Class 2 Primary Intermediate Server CA
No client certificate CA names sent
SSL handshake has read 3997 bytes and written 431 bytes
New, TLSv1/SSLv3, Cipher is ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384
Server public key is 2048 bit
Secure Renegotiation IS supported
Compression: NONE
Expansion: NONE
    Protocol  : TLSv1.2
    Cipher    : ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384
    Session-ID: 96E1F6B9E123F8F8C1C1E8FB0DBACDBBE76ECB3E2CF5C46C1FD2CF46833C8212
    Master-Key: 25837E1786B0CC60E676D0694319641CD0887F9CAF48A820F1C0D6ABA6FDE0742551816ACD2A4885B0D3FC143716B1F6
    Key-Arg   : None
    PSK identity: None
    PSK identity hint: None
    SRP username: None
    TLS session ticket lifetime hint: 300 (seconds)
    TLS session ticket:
    0000 - 88 15 c0 c5 30 04 63 d6-ff 7c 72 c4 12 84 7b d6   ....0.c..|r...{.
    0010 - 73 33 8d 91 7c da ce 22-23 d0 31 fb c1 7f 1c 9c   s3..|.."#.1.....
    [... some more lines]

    Start Time: 1424953937
    Timeout   : 300 (sec)
    Verify return code: 20 (unable to get local issuer certificate)

For me the chain part looks exactly what it should. The apache conf should also be ok:

root@i-can-haz-data ~ # cat /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/seafile.conf

<VirtualHost *:443>

    ServerName seafile.mydomain.ch
    DocumentRoot /opt/seafile/www

    [... seafile specific things]

    ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
    CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined

    SSLEngine on
    SSLCertificateFile      /etc/ssl/custom/wildcardmydomain.ch.crt
    SSLCertificateKeyFile   /etc/ssl/custom/wildcardmydomain.ch.key
    SSLCertificateChainFile /etc/ssl/custom/wildcardmydomain.ch.chain.crt

    [... seafile specific things]


I cannot find what my issue is... (ca-certificates is installed on my lubuntu 14.04). Their site is not applicable because they linked their Class 1 certificate, but mine is issued by their Class 2.

  • Which operating system? Updated the ca-certificates recently? There were updates for Ubuntu on 2015-02-23. What if you add -CApath /etc/ssl/certs/ or where your certs are stored? Are you maybe missing the root certificate in the chain?
    – sebix
    Feb 26, 2015 at 13:42
  • Woow, you point me to the right direction. Thank you! echo |openssl s_client -connect seafile.mydomain.ch:443 -CApath /etc/ssl/certs/ -> Verify return code: 0 (ok) DISTRIB_DESCRIPTION="Ubuntu 14.04.2 LTS". System uptodate: 0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded. Package: ii ca-certificates 20141019ubuntu0.14.04.1
    – Dionysius
    Feb 26, 2015 at 13:51

1 Answer 1

verify error:num=20:unable to get local issuer certificate

This error by OpenSSL means the program was unable to verify the issuer of the certificate or the topmost certificate of a provided chain. This can happen in some cases, for example:

  • The certificate chain for the certificate wasn't provided by the other side or it doesn't have one (it is self-signed).
  • The root certificate is not in the local database of trusted root certificates.
  • The local database of trusted root certificates was not given and thus not queried by OpenSSL. To give the path to the certificates explicitly, use the -CApath or -CAfile option. For Debian and Ubuntu it is for example:

    -CApath /etc/ssl/certs/
    -CAfile /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt

    thus resulting in either

    openssl s_client -connect example.com:443 -CApath /etc/ssl/certs/
    openssl s_client -connect example.com:443 -CAfile /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt

The latter needs more information. There is an open bug report for OpenSSL in Ubuntu since 2009:

Using -CApath seems to set -CAfile to the the default of /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt.

No matter what you give as path by -CApath, it may work, because the -CAfile is also set to it's default value (which was empty beforehand). So, don't rely OpenSSL's default behavior on verifying certificates by a the local certificate database, it may be bogus!

  • So you mean, that either my server and my notebook system config is nothing wrong (because its fine with the -CApath option)? Well then, its a fault of the seafile-client notifying me that error? Maybe its this issue: github.com/haiwen/seafile-client/issues/93 - But thank you, marked as solved :)
    – Dionysius
    Feb 26, 2015 at 14:26
  • I digged more into the behavior of OpenSSL, see my updated post. You may also consider upvoting ;)
    – sebix
    Feb 26, 2015 at 14:55

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