I am trying to set up SSL within my ubuntu 14.04 server. After generating my self-signed RSA certificate and setting up all necessary configuration, my server failed to start. All my /var/log/apache2/error.log, /var/log/apache2/access.log and /var/log/apache2/other_vhosts_access.log are empty however I am getting this message from the console :

server failure screenshot

My /etc/apache2 directory tree :

|---> ... other files
|---> ssl
        |---> server.key
        |---> server.crt
|---> ports.conf
|---> sites-available
        |---> default-ssl.conf
|---> sites-enabled
        |---> default-ssl.conf

Checking if the the default configuration is enabled :

$sudo a2ensite default-ssl.conf
Site default-ssl already enabled

The content of default-ssl.conf :

$cat default-ssl.conf
<IfModule mod_ssl.c>
    <VirtualHost _default_:443>
            ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost
            ServerName NetSec

            DocumentRoot /var/www/html

            # Available loglevels: trace8, ..., trace1, debug, info, notice, warn,
            # error, crit, alert, emerg.
            # It is also possible to configure the loglevel for particular
            # modules, e.g.
            #LogLevel info ssl:warn

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

            # For most configuration files from conf-available/, which are
            # enabled or disabled at a global level, it is possible to
            # include a line for only one particular virtual host. For example the
            # following line enables the CGI configuration for this host only
            # after it has been globally disabled with "a2disconf".
            #Include conf-available/serve-cgi-bin.conf

            #   SSL Engine Switch:
            #   Enable/Disable SSL for this virtual host.
            SSLEngine on

            #   A self-signed (snakeoil) certificate can be created by installing
            #   the ssl-cert package. See
            #   /usr/share/doc/apache2/README.Debian.gz for more info.
            #   If both key and certificate are stored in the same file, only the
            #   SSLCertificateFile directive is needed.
            #SSLCertificateFile      /etc/ssl/certs/ssl-cert-snakeoil.pem
            SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/apache2/ssl/server.key

            #   Server Certificate Chain:
            #   Point SSLCertificateChainFile at a file containing the
            #   concatenation of PEM encoded CA certificates which form the
            #   certificate chain for the server certificate. Alternatively
            #   the referenced file can be the same as SSLCertificateFile
            #   when the CA certificates are directly appended to the server
            #   certificate for convinience.
            SSLCertificateChainFile /etc/apache2/ssl/server.crt

            #   Certificate Authority (CA):
            #   Set the CA certificate verification path where to find CA
            #   certificates for client authentication or alternatively one
            #   huge file containing all of them (file must be PEM encoded)
            #   Note: Inside SSLCACertificatePath you need hash symlinks
            #                to point to the certificate files. Use the provided
            #                Makefile to update the hash symlinks after changes.
            #SSLCACertificatePath /etc/ssl/certs/
            #SSLCACertificateFile /etc/apache2/ssl.crt/ca-bundle.crt

            #   Certificate Revocation Lists (CRL):
            #   Set the CA revocation path where to find CA CRLs for client
            #   authentication or alternatively one huge file containing all
            #   of them (file must be PEM encoded)
            #   Note: Inside SSLCARevocationPath you need hash symlinks
            #                to point to the certificate files. Use the provided
            #                Makefile to update the hash symlinks after changes.
            #SSLCARevocationPath /etc/apache2/ssl.crl/
            #SSLCARevocationFile /etc/apache2/ssl.crl/ca-bundle.crl

            #   Client Authentication (Type):
            #   Client certificate verification type and depth.  Types are
            #   none, optional, require and optional_no_ca.  Depth is a
            #   number which specifies how deeply to verify the certificate
            #   issuer chain before deciding the certificate is not valid.
            #SSLVerifyClient require
            #SSLVerifyDepth  10

            #   SSL Engine Options:
            #   Set various options for the SSL engine.
            #   o FakeBasicAuth:
            #        Translate the client X.509 into a Basic Authorisation.  This means that
            #        the standard Auth/DBMAuth methods can be used for access control.  The
            #        user name is the `one line' version of the client's X.509 certificate.
            #        Note that no password is obtained from the user. Every entry in the user
            #        file needs this password: `xxj31ZMTZzkVA'.
            #   o ExportCertData:
            #        This exports two additional environment variables: SSL_CLIENT_CERT and
            #        SSL_SERVER_CERT. These contain the PEM-encoded certificates of the
            #        server (always existing) and the client (only existing when client
            #        authentication is used). This can be used to import the certificates
            #        into CGI scripts.
            #   o StdEnvVars:
            #        This exports the standard SSL/TLS related `SSL_*' environment variables.
            #        Per default this exportation is switched off for performance reasons,
            #        because the extraction step is an expensive operation and is usually
            #        useless for serving static content. So one usually enables the
            #        exportation for CGI and SSI requests only.
            #   o OptRenegotiate:
            #        This enables optimized SSL connection renegotiation handling when SSL
            #        directives are used in per-directory context.
            #SSLOptions +FakeBasicAuth +ExportCertData +StrictRequire
            <FilesMatch "\.(cgi|shtml|phtml|php)$">
                            SSLOptions +StdEnvVars
            <Directory /usr/lib/cgi-bin>
                            SSLOptions +StdEnvVars

            #   SSL Protocol Adjustments:
            #   The safe and default but still SSL/TLS standard compliant shutdown
            #   approach is that mod_ssl sends the close notify alert but doesn't wait for
            #   the close notify alert from client. When you need a different shutdown
            #   approach you can use one of the following variables:
            #   o ssl-unclean-shutdown:
            #        This forces an unclean shutdown when the connection is closed, i.e. no
            #        SSL close notify alert is send or allowed to received.  This violates
            #        the SSL/TLS standard but is needed for some brain-dead browsers. Use
            #        this when you receive I/O errors because of the standard approach where
            #        mod_ssl sends the close notify alert.
            #   o ssl-accurate-shutdown:
            #        This forces an accurate shutdown when the connection is closed, i.e. a
            #        SSL close notify alert is send and mod_ssl waits for the close notify
            #        alert of the client. This is 100% SSL/TLS standard compliant, but in
            #        practice often causes hanging connections with brain-dead browsers. Use
            #        this only for browsers where you know that their SSL implementation
            #        works correctly.
            #   Notice: Most problems of broken clients are also related to the HTTP
            #   keep-alive facility, so you usually additionally want to disable
            #   keep-alive for those clients, too. Use variable "nokeepalive" for this.
            #   Similarly, one has to force some clients to use HTTP/1.0 to workaround
            #   their broken HTTP/1.1 implementation. Use variables "downgrade-1.0" and
            #   "force-response-1.0" for this.
            BrowserMatch "MSIE [2-6]" \
                            nokeepalive ssl-unclean-shutdown \
                            downgrade-1.0 force-response-1.0
            # MSIE 7 and newer should be able to use keepalive
            BrowserMatch "MSIE [17-9]" ssl-unclean-shutdown


The content of ports.conf file :

$cat /etc/apache2/ports.conf

Listen 80
Listen 443

<ifModule ssl_module>
    Listen 443

<ifModule mod_gnutls.c>
    Listen 443

The symbol link pointing to default-ssl.conf is well established :

$ls -l /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/default-ssl.conf
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 35 Jun 25 15:42 default-ssl.conf -> ../sites-available/default-ssl.conf

At the end I would like to stress that I have checked the completeness of my private key/certificate and the check does hold. I have followed actually the steps mentioned in this tutorial in order to generate my self-signed server certificate.

Any help will be more than appreciated. Thank you.

  • You have three Listen 443 statements. If more than one of them activates, you'll have a problem. – David Schwartz Jun 25 '17 at 20:40

You screenshot says the, have another service using the listener in port number 443 (HTTPS), use the command bellow for check name of service

sudo netstat -ntupl | grep :443

If this command says in "PID/Program name" colum "apache2", try restart, and not start apache2 with command

sudo service apache2 restart

For check you apache2 configuration use

sudo apachectl configtest

Use the 'netstat' utility to identify the process that is listening on tcp port 443. You can then uninstall the other process or reconfigure it to use a different port.


  1. Login as root
  2. run 'netstat -napt' to list all processes using tcp, their ports and the pid/process name
root@xbuntu:~# netstat -napt
Active Internet connections (servers and established)
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State       PID/Program name
tcp        0      0   *               LISTEN      1441/smbd       
tcp        0      0  *               LISTEN      1251/dnsmasq    
tcp        0      0    *               LISTEN      1100/sshd       
tcp        0      0 *               LISTEN      4527/cupsd      
tcp        0      0   *               LISTEN      1441/smbd       
tcp        0      0     ESTABLISHED 2089/sshd: raja [pr
tcp        0      0        TIME_WAIT   -               
tcp6       0      0 :::139                  :::*                    LISTEN      1441/smbd       
tcp6       0      0 :::80                   :::*                    LISTEN      4828/apache2    
tcp6       0      0 :::443                   :::*                    LISTEN      4828/apache2    
tcp6       0      0 :::22                   :::*                    LISTEN      1100/sshd       
tcp6       0      0 ::1:631                 :::*                    LISTEN      4527/cupsd      
tcp6       0      0 :::445                  :::*                    LISTEN      1441/smbd       
  1. Look for :443 in the 'local address' column (see bold line above).
  2. Identify pid and process in 'PID/Program name' column.
  3. You can then either reconfigure or kill the identified process. If the process is started as a service, you'll need to use the 'service' command to stop it (since killing it will automatically restart it).

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