Setting up Certificate Authorities

A how-to for creating and importing certificate authorities (CAs) in TrueNAS.

  3 minute read


TrueNAS can act as a Certificate Authority (CA). When encrypting SSL or TLS connections to the TrueNAS system, either import an existing CA, or create a CA and certificate on the TrueNAS system. This certificate will appear in the drop-down menus for services that support SSL or TLS. If desired, a new CA can be created or an existing CA can be imported. To add or import a CA, go to System > Certificate Authorities and click ADD. First, enter the name for the CA. Next, choose the Type. The three options are Internal CA, Intermediate CA, and Import CA. The process for each type is slightly different. Follow the appropriate section below based on your desired type.

Internal CA

To create an internal CA, select Internal CA as the Type. If desired, a profile can be selected for the CA. Selecting a profile automatically sets certain options such as Key Type, Key Length, Digest Algorithm, and more. If you would like to set each option manually, do not select a profile from the Profiles dropdown. Select a Key Type from the dropdown. The recommended key type is RSA. Next, select the Key Length. A minimum of 2048 is recommended for security reasons. Select a Digest Algorithm. The recommended is SHA256. Enter the Lifetime of the CA in days, this is how long the CA will remain valid.

Next, fill out the geographic information of the certificate. This includes Country, Locality, Organizational Unit (optional), Common Name, State, Organization, Email, and Subject Alternate Names. The Common Name is the fully-qualified hostname (FQDN) and must be unique within a certificate chain.

If Basic Constraints are desired, set Enabled and more options will appear. Set a Path Length. This is how many non-self-issued intermediate certificates that can follow this certificate in a valid certification path. Entering 0 allows a single additional certificate to follow in the certificate path. Cannot be less than 0. Next, select the Basic Constraints Config. More than one can be selected from the dropdown.

If an Authority Key Identifier is desired, set Enabled. Next, select the Authority Key Config. More than one can be selected from the dropdown.

If Extended Key Usage is desired, set Enabled. Next, select the usage for this public key from the Usages dropdown. This is typically used for end entity certificates. Multiple usages can be selected. Do not set this Critical Extension when the Usages contains ANY_EXTENDED_KEY_USAGE. Using both Extended Key Usage and Key Usage extensions requires that the purpose of the certificate is consistent with both extensions. See RFC 3280, section for more details.

Intermediate CA

To create an Intermediate CA, select Intermediate CA as the Type. All the settings are the same as Internal CA except an existing Signing Certificate Authority is needed.

Import CA

To import an existing CA, select Import CA as the Type. Paste the certificate of the CA in the Certificate field. Paste the CA private key in the Private Key field. If the private key is protected by a passphrase, enter the Passphrase.

Last modified January 7, 2021: Update (52e761bf)