What is PFX and PEM Certificate?
Before we proceed, let us first understand what PFX and PEM Certificates are. PFX is a binary format for storing the server certificate, intermediate certificate, and private key in one single encrypted file. On the other hand, PEM is a base64 encoded format for exchanging data between different systems. It can store the server certificate and private key in separate files.
Why Convert PFX to PEM Certificate and Key?
There are times when you need to use a PEM certificate instead of a PFX certificate. For instance, if you want to use a certificate with Nginx or Apache, you need to convert the PFX certificate to PEM format.
Converting PFX to PEM Certificate and Key
The conversion from PFX to PEM format is a straightforward process. You can use OpenSSL, an open-source implementation of SSL and TLS protocols, to convert the certificate file.
Step 1: Install OpenSSL
If you don’t have OpenSSL installed on your system, you can install it using the following command:
Step 2: Convert PFX to PEM
The next step is to convert the PFX file to PEM format. You can use the following command to convert the PFX certificate to PEM format:
-nodes option ensures that the output file does not have any encryption.
Step 3: Enter Password
When you run the above command, you will be prompted to enter the password for the PFX file. Enter the password and hit Enter.
Step 4: Verify PEM Certificate and Key
Once the conversion is complete, you can verify that the PEM certificate and key are correct using the following commands:
The first command will display the content of the PEM file, and the second command will check the private key in the PEM file.
Advantages of PEM Certificate
PEM certificate is widely used and is supported by most platforms. It is a text-based format, which makes it easy to read and understand. It also allows you to store the server certificate and private key in separate files, which can be useful in certain situations.
If you want to include the intermediate certificate in the PEM file, you can use the following command:
If you want to protect the private key with a password, you can omit the
-nodesoption. You will be prompted to enter a password for the private key.
FAQs – Convert PFX to PEM Certificate and Key
What is PFX and PEM certificate?
A PFX (Personal Information Exchange) certificate is a type of digital certificate containing both the public key and the private key used in an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) connection. While PEM (Privacy Enhanced Mail) certificate is an encoded extension used primarily for web servers.
Why do I need to convert PFX to PEM certificate?
There are several reasons why you may need to convert a PFX certificate to a PEM format. One of the most common reasons is that some web servers require the PEM format for SSL security certificate installation. In addition, some software applications may require PEM format instead of PFX.
Which tools can I use to convert PFX to PEM certificate?
There are various methods to convert PFX files to the PEM format. You can use OpenSSL command-line tools that are available on different platforms, including Windows, Linux, and macOS systems. You can also use online tools or third-party software to convert PFX to PEM certificate format.
How do I convert PFX to PEM certificate using OpenSSL?
You can use the OpenSSL command-line tool to convert PFX to PEM certificate format through a simple series of commands. First, you need to open the command prompt or Terminal and enter the following command: openssl pkcs12 -in certificate.pfx -out certificate.pem -nodes. This command will prompt you for the PFX passphrase, which you provided while exporting your PFX file. Once you enter the passphrase, OpenSSL will create a new PEM file with both your certificate and private key.
What do I do if my PFX file has a password?
When converting a PFX file to PEM format, you may face some challenges if the PFX file has a password. Some applications or tools may prompt you to enter the password while others may not. In case you face issues, you can try adding the -passin and -passout parameters to the OpenSSL command as follows: openssl pkcs12 -in certificate.pfx -out certificate.pem -nodes -passin pass:yourpassword and -passout pass:yourpassword.
Is it possible to convert PEM back to PFX certificate format?
Yes, it is possible to convert PEM back to PFX certificate format. You can easily do this using OpenSSL. You can use the following command: openssl pkcs12 -export -in certificate.pem -out certificate.pfx. This will create a new PFX file from your PEM file by telling OpenSSL to include your certificate and private key. You may be prompted for a new password, which will protect the PFX file.
Can I convert PFX to PEM certificate on a Mac computer?
Yes, you can convert PFX to PEM certificate on Mac computers using the OpenSSL command-line tool. To achieve this, you need to launch the Terminal app and enter the command: openssl pkcs12 -in certificate.pfx -out certificate.pem -nodes. This will prompt you to provide the PFX password. Once successful, OpenSSL will generate a new PEM file that contains both the certificate and private key.