Advanced Reference

This is a technical reference for advanced users familiar with PKI processes. If you need a more detailed description, see the EasyRSA-Readme or Intro-To-PKI docs instead.

Configuration Reference

Configuration Sources

There are 3 possible ways to perform external configuration of Easy-RSA, selected in the following order where the first defined result wins:

  1. Commmand-line option
  2. Environmental variable
  3. 'vars' file, if one is present (see vars Autodetection below)
  4. Built-in default

Note that not every possible config option can be set everywhere, although any env-var can be added to the 'vars' file even if it's not shown by default.

vars Autodetection

A 'vars' file is a file named simply vars (without an extension) that Easy-RSA will source for configuration. This file is specifically designed not to replace variables that have been set with a higher-priority method such as CLI opts or env-vars.

The following locations are checked, in this order, for a vars file. Only the first one found is used:

  1. The file referenced by the --vars CLI option
  2. The file referenced by the env-var named EASYRSA_VARS_FILE
  3. The directory referenced by the EASYRSA_PKI env-var
  4. The default PKI directory at $PWD/pki
  5. The directory referenced by the EASYRSA env-var
  6. The directory containing the easyrsa program

Defining the env-var EASYRSA_NO_VARS will override the sourcing of the vars file in all cases, including defining it subsequently as a global option.

OpenSSL Config

Easy-RSA is tightly coupled to the OpenSSL config file (.cnf) for the flexibility the script provides. It is required that this file be available, yet it is possible to use a different OpenSSL config file for a particular PKI, or even change it for a particular invocation.

The OpenSSL config file is searched for in the following order:

  1. The env-var EASYRSA_SSL_CONF
  2. The 'vars' file (see vars Autodetection above)
  3. The EASYRSA_PKI directory with a filename of openssl-easyrsa.cnf
  4. The EASYRSA directory with a filename of openssl-easyrsa.cnf

Advanced extension handling

Normally the cert extensions are selected by the cert type given on the CLI during signing; this causes the matching file in the x509-types subdirectory to be processed for OpenSSL extensions to add. This can be overridden in a particular PKI by placing another x509-types dir inside the EASYRSA_PKI dir which will be used instead.

The file named COMMON in the x509-types dir is appended to every cert type; this is designed for CDP usage, but can be used for any extension that should apply to every signed cert.

Additionally, the contents of the env-var EASYRSA_EXTRA_EXTS is appended with its raw text added to the OpenSSL extensions. The contents are appended as-is to the cert extensions; invalid OpenSSL configs will usually result in failure.

Environmental Variables Reference

A list of env-vars, any matching global option (CLI) to set/override it, and a possible terse description is shown below:

  • EASYRSA - should point to the Easy-RSA top-level dir, where the easyrsa script is located.
  • EASYRSA_OPENSSL - command to invoke openssl
  • EASYRSA_SSL_CONF - the openssl config file to use
  • EASYRSA_PKI (CLI: --pki-dir) - dir to use to hold all PKI-specific files, defaults to $PWD/pki.
  • EASYRSA_DN (CLI: --dn-mode) - set to the string cn_only or org to alter the fields to include in the req DN
  • EASYRSA_REQ_COUNTRY (CLI: --req-c) - set the DN country with org mode
  • EASYRSA_REQ_PROVINCE (CLI: --req-st) - set the DN state/province with org mode
  • EASYRSA_REQ_CITY (CLI: --req-city) - set the DN city/locality with org mode
  • EASYRSA_REQ_ORG (CLI: --req-org) - set the DN organization with org mode
  • EASYRSA_REQ_EMAIL (CLI: --req-email) - set the DN email with org mode
  • EASYRSA_REQ_OU (CLI: --req-ou) - set the DN organizational unit with org mode
  • EASYRSA_KEY_SIZE (CLI: --key-size) - set the keysize in bits to generate
  • EASYRSA_ALGO (CLI: --use-algo) - set the crypto alg to use: rsa or ec
  • EASYRSA_CURVE (CLI: --curve) - define the named EC curve to use
  • EASYRSA_EC_DIR - dir to store generated ecparams
  • EASYRSA_CA_EXPIRE (CLI: --days) - set the CA expiration time in days
  • EASYRSA_CERT_EXPIRE (CLI: --days) - set the issued cert expiration time in days
  • EASYRSA_CRL_DAYS (CLI: --days) - set the CRL 'next publish' time in days
  • EASYRSA_NS_SUPPORT (CLI: --ns-cert) - string 'yes' or 'no' fields to include the deprecated Netscape extensions
  • EASYRSA_NS_COMMENT (CLI: --ns-comment) - string comment to include when using the deprecated Netscape extensions
  • EASYRSA_TEMP_FILE - a temp file to use when dynamically creating req/cert extensions
  • EASYRSA_REQ_CN (CLI: --req-cn) - default CN, necessary to set in BATCH mode
  • EASYRSA_DIGEST (CLI: --digest) - set a hash digest to use for req/cert signing
  • EASYRSA_BATCH (CLI: --batch) - enable batch (no-prompt) mode; set env-var to non-zero string to enable (CLI takes no options)