step certificate create

Name

step certificate create -- create a certificate or certificate signing request

Usage

step certificate create <subject> <crt-file> <key-file>
[--csr] [--profile=<profile>] [--template=<file>]
[--not-before=<duration>] [--not-after=<duration>]
[--password-file=<file>] [--ca=<issuer-cert>]
[--ca-key=<issuer-key>] [--ca-password-file=<file>]
[--san=<SAN>] [--bundle] [--key=<file>]
[--kty=<type>] [--curve=<curve>] [--size=<size>]
[--no-password] [--insecure]

Description

step certificate create generates a certificate or a certificate signing request (CSR) that can be signed later using 'step certificate sign' (or some other tool) to produce a certificate.

By default this command creates x.509 certificates or CSRs for use with TLS. If you need something else, you can customize the output using templates. See TEMPLATES below.

Positional arguments

subject The subject of the certificate. Typically this is a hostname for services or an email address for people.

crt_file File to write CRT or CSR to (PEM format)

key_file File to write private key to (PEM format). This argument is optional if --key is passed.

Options

--csr Generate a certificate signing request (CSR) instead of a certificate.

--profile=profile The certificate profile sets various certificate details such as certificate use and expiration. The default profile is 'leaf' which is suitable for a client or server using TLS.

profile is a case-sensitive string and must be one of:

  • leaf: Generate a leaf x.509 certificate suitable for use with TLS.

  • intermediate-ca: Generate a certificate that can be used to sign additional leaf certificates.

  • root-ca: Generate a new self-signed root certificate suitable for use as a root CA.

  • self-signed: Generate a new self-signed leaf certificate suitable for use with TLS. This profile requires the --subtle flag because the use of self-signed leaf certificates is discouraged unless absolutely necessary.

--template=file The certificate template file, a JSON representation of the certificate to create.

--password-file=file The file to the file containing the password to encrypt the new private key or decrypt the user submitted private key.

--ca=value The certificate authority used to issue the new certificate (PEM file).

--ca-key=value The certificate authority private key used to sign the new certificate (PEM file).

--ca-password-file=file The file to the file containing the password to decrypt the CA private key.

--key=file The file of the private key to use instead of creating a new one (PEM file).

--no-password Do not ask for a password to encrypt the private key. Sensitive key material will be written to disk unencrypted. This is not recommended. Requires --insecure flag.

--not-before=time|duration The time|duration set in the NotBefore property of the certificate. If a time is used it is expected to be in RFC 3339 format. If a duration is used, it is a sequence of decimal numbers, each with optional fraction and a unit suffix, such as "300ms", "-1.5h" or "2h45m". Valid time units are "ns", "us" (or "µs"), "ms", "s", "m", "h".

--not-after=time|duration The time|duration set in the NotAfter property of the certificate. If a time is used it is expected to be in RFC 3339 format. If a duration is used, it is a sequence of decimal numbers, each with optional fraction and a unit suffix, such as "300ms", "-1.5h" or "2h45m". Valid time units are "ns", "us" (or "µs"), "ms", "s", "m", "h".

--san=value Add DNS or IP Address Subjective Alternative Names (SANs). Use the '--san' flag multiple times to configure multiple SANs.

--bundle Bundle the new leaf certificate with the signing certificate. This flag requires the --ca flag.

--kty=kty The kty to build the certificate upon. If unset, default is EC.

kty is a case-sensitive string and must be one of:

  • EC: Create an elliptic curve keypair

  • OKP: Create an octet key pair (for "Ed25519" curve)

  • RSA: Create an RSA keypair

--size=size The size (in bits) of the key for RSA and oct key types. RSA keys require a minimum key size of 2048 bits. If unset, default is 2048 bits for RSA keys and 128 bits for oct keys.

--crv=curve, --curve=curve The elliptic curve to use for EC and OKP key types. Corresponds to the "crv" JWK parameter. Valid curves are defined in JWA [RFC7518]. If unset, default is P-256 for EC keys and Ed25519 for OKP keys.

curve is a case-sensitive string and must be one of:

  • P-256: NIST P-256 Curve

  • P-384: NIST P-384 Curve

  • P-521: NIST P-521 Curve

  • Ed25519: Ed25519 Curve

-f, --force Force the overwrite of files without asking.

--subtle

Exit codes

This command returns 0 on success and >0 if any error occurs.

Templates

With templates, you can customize the generated certificate or CSR. Templates are JSON files representing a certificate [1] or a certificate request [2]. They use Golang's text/template package [3] and Sprig functions [4].

Here's the default template used for generating a leaf certificate:

{ "subject": {{ toJson .Subject }}, "sans": {{ toJson .SANs }}, {{- if typeIs "*sa.PublicKey" .Insecure.CR.PublicKey }} "keyUsage": ["keyEncipherment", "digitalSignature"], {{- else }} "keyUsage": ["digitalSignature"], {{- end }} "extKeyUsage": ["serverAuth", "clientAuth"] }

And this is the default template for a CSR:

{ "subject": {{ toJson .Subject }}, "sans": {{ toJson .SANs }} }

In a custom template, you can change the subject, dnsNames, emailAddresses, ipAddresses, and uris, and you can add custom x.509 extensions or set the signatureAlgorithm.

For certificate templates, the common extensions keyUsage, extKeyUsage, and basicConstraints are also represented as JSON fields.

Two variables are available in templates: .Subject contains the subject argument, and .SANs contains the SANs provided with the --san flag.

Both .Subject and .SANs are objects, and they must be converted to JSON to be used in the template, you can do this using Sprig's toJson function. On the .Subject object you can access the common name string using the template variable .Subject.CommonName. In EXAMPLES below, you can see how these variables are used in a certificate request.

For more information on the template properties and functions see:

[1] https://pkg.go.dev/go.step.sm/crypto/x509util?tab=doc#Certificate
[2] https://pkg.go.dev/go.step.sm/crypto/x509util?tab=doc#CertificateRequest
[3] https://golang.org/pkg/text/template/
[4] https://masterminds.github.io/sprig/

Examples

Create a CSR and key:

$ step certificate create foo foo.csr foo.key --csr

Create a CSR using an existing private key:

$ step certificate create --csr --key key.priv foo foo.csr

Create a CSR using an existing encrypted private key:

$ step certificate create --csr --key key.priv --password-file key.pass foo foo.csr

Create a CSR and key with custom Subject Alternative Names:

$ step certificate create foo foo.csr foo.key --csr \ --san inter.smallstep.com --san 1.1.1.1 --san ca.smallstep.com

Create a CSR and key - do not encrypt the key when writing to disk:

$ step certificate create foo foo.csr foo.key --csr --no-password --insecure

Create a root certificate and key:

$ step certificate create root-ca root-ca.crt root-ca.key --profile root-ca

Create an intermediate certificate and key:

$ step certificate create intermediate-ca intermediate-ca.crt intermediate-ca.key \ --profile intermediate-ca --ca ./root-ca.crt --ca-key ./root-ca.key

Create a leaf certificate and key:

$ step certificate create foo foo.crt foo.key --profile leaf \ --ca ./intermediate-ca.crt --ca-key ./intermediate-ca.key

Create a leaf certificate and encrypt the private key:

$ step certificate create foo foo.crt foo.key --profile leaf \ --password-file ./leaf.pass \ --ca ./intermediate-ca.crt --ca-key ./intermediate-ca.key

Create a leaf certificate and decrypt the CA private key:

$ step certificate create foo foo.crt foo.key --profile leaf \ --ca ./intermediate-ca.crt --ca-key ./intermediate-ca.key --ca-password-file ./intermediate.pass

Create a leaf certificate and key with custom Subject Alternative Names:

$ step certificate create foo foo.crt foo.key --profile leaf \ --ca ./intermediate-ca.crt --ca-key ./intermediate-ca.key \ --san inter.smallstep.com --san 1.1.1.1 --san ca.smallstep.com

Create a leaf certificate and key with custom validity:

$ step certificate create foo foo.crt foo.key --profile leaf \ --ca ./intermediate-ca.crt --ca-key ./intermediate-ca.key \ --not-before 24h --not-after 2160h

Create a self-signed leaf certificate and key:

$ step certificate create self-signed-leaf.local leaf.crt leaf.key --profile self-signed --subtle

Create a root certificate and key with underlying OKP Ed25519:

$ step certificate create root-ca root-ca.crt root-ca.key --profile root-ca \ --kty OKP --curve Ed25519

Create an intermediate certificate and key with underlying EC P-256 key pair:

$ step certificate create intermediate-ca intermediate-ca.crt intermediate-ca.key \ --profile intermediate-ca --ca ./root-ca.crt --ca-key ./root-ca.key --kty EC --curve P-256

Create a leaf certificate and key with underlying RSA 2048 key pair:

$ step certificate create foo foo.crt foo.key --profile leaf \ --ca ./intermediate-ca.crt --ca-key ./intermediate-ca.key --kty RSA --size 2048

Create a CSR and key with underlying OKP Ed25519:

$ step certificate create foo foo.csr foo.key --csr --kty OKP --curve Ed25519

Create a root certificate using a custom template. The root certificate will have a path length constraint that allows at least 2 intermediates:

$ cat root.tpl { "subject": { "commonName": "Acme Corporation Root CA" }, "issuer": { "commonName": "Acme Corporation Root CA" }, "keyUsage": ["certSign", "crlSign"], "basicConstraints": { "isCA": true, "maxPathLen": 2 } } $ step certificate create --template root.tpl \ "Acme Corporation Root CA" root_ca.crt root_ca_key

Create an intermediate certificate using the previous root. This intermediate will be able to sign also new intermediate certificates:

$ cat intermediate.tpl { "subject": { "commonName": "Acme Corporation Intermediate CA" }, "keyUsage": ["certSign", "crlSign"], "basicConstraints": { "isCA": true, "maxPathLen": 1 } } $ step certificate create --template intermediate.tpl \ --ca root_ca.crt --ca-key root_ca_key \ "Acme Corporation Intermediate CA" intermediate_ca.crt intermediate_ca_key

Sign a new intermediate using the previous intermediate, now with path length 0 using the --profile flag:

$ step certificate create --profile intermediate-ca \ --ca intermediate_ca.crt --ca-key intermediate_ca_key \ "Coyote Corporation" coyote_ca.crt coyote_ca_key

Create a leaf certificate, that is the default profile and bundle it with the two intermediate certificates and validate it:

$ step certificate create --ca coyote_ca.crt --ca-key coyote_ca_key \ "coyote@acme.corp" leaf.crt coyote.key $ cat leaf.crt coyote_ca.crt intermediate_ca.crt > coyote.crt $ step certificate verify --roots root_ca.crt coyote.crt

Create a certificate request using a template:

$ cat csr.tpl { "subject": { "country": "US", "organization": "Coyote Corporation", "commonName": "{{ .Subject.CommonName }}" }, "sans": {{ toJson .SANs }} } $ step certificate create --csr --template csr.tpl --san coyote@acme.corp \ "Wile E. Coyote" coyote.csr coyote.key
Commands