I need to download an SSL certificate of a remote server (not HTTPS, but the SSL handshake should be the same as Google Chrome / IE / wget and curl all give certificate check fail errors) and add the certificate as trusted in my laptops Windows' certificate store since I am not able to get my IT guys to give me the CA cert.

this is for office communications so I cannot really use the actual client to get the cert.

How do I do this, I have Windows 7 and a pile of Linuxes handy so any tool / scripting language is fine.


9 Answers 9


If you have access to OpenSSL, try

openssl s_client -connect {HOSTNAME}:{PORT} -showcerts

replacing {HOSTNAME} and {PORT} with whatever your values are.

  • 2
    I prefer this option as I don't have to open a GUI, and I can do it via SSH from our servers.
    – bramp
    Jan 23, 2012 at 21:14
  • 4
    Plus it works for protocols other than HTTP.
    – matt
    Dec 3, 2013 at 15:49
  • 23
    elec3647's solution fully automates extracting the PEM in a shell pipeline.
    – phs
    Dec 10, 2013 at 7:05
  • 5
    443 is the default port for HTTPS.
    – Flimm
    Nov 2, 2016 at 10:40
  • 8
    I needed -servername option to get the virtual host certificate. gist.github.com/Artistan/5219484efb2fe51cd064175b3d0d5971
    – Artistan
    Jan 25, 2018 at 16:00

A quick method to get the certificate pulled and downloaded would be to run the following command which pipes the output from the -showcerts to the x509 ssl command which just strips everything extraneous off. For example:

openssl s_client -showcerts -connect server.edu:443 </dev/null 2>/dev/null|openssl x509 -outform PEM >mycertfile.pem

To use the certificate, with wget,

wget https:/server.edu:443/somepage --ca-certificate=mycertfile.pem
  • 8
    I tried this (on another website) - but was expected the full chain of certs: seems this only brought back the first in the chain - is that to be expected?
    – monojohnny
    Aug 30, 2014 at 20:42
  • 14
    That is not working for me: unable to load certificate 27262:error:0906D06C:PEM routines:PEM_read_bio:no start line:/SourceCache/OpenSSL098/OpenSSL098-50/src/crypto/pem/pem_lib.c:648:Expecting: TRUSTED CERTIFICATE
    – Janusz
    Sep 9, 2014 at 9:05
  • 4
    I agree with monojohnny, this doesn't give you the full chain. Dec 2, 2014 at 23:51
  • 15
    Late but @monojohnny: openssl s_client -showcerts displays all the certs in the received chain (if connection succeeds), but piping through openssl x509 takes only the first one and discards the rest. To get all of them instead use ...| sed -n '/^-----BEGIN CERT/,/^-----END CERT/p' or ...| awk '/^-----BEGIN CERT/,/^-----END CERT/' You can also use a slightly more complicated awk to put each cert in a separate file which makes them easier to use with openssl and some other tools. Aug 11, 2016 at 21:13
  • 3
    using wget it seems to only save a index.html => HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK Length: unspecified [text/html] Saving to: ‘index.html.1’
    – OZZIE
    Oct 25, 2017 at 7:53

To be honest, I have never tried this before (never needed to) however, I have just tried in Firefox and it seems to work for saving:

  1. Click on the SSL certificate icon at the top / Padlock at the bottom.
  2. Click View Certificate
  3. Click on the Details Tab
  4. Chose which certificate you want from the hierarchy [not circled in picture]
  5. Click Export

alt text

  • 1
    That's a server certificate, not a client certificate. The main reason to export a client private key & certificate is to maintain a backup, or if you want to authenticate using another browser or computer.
    – gbroiles
    Aug 17, 2010 at 7:23
  • 1
    right, and I answered your question - why would someone want to save a client certificate? "SSL client certificate" was your term, not his.
    – gbroiles
    Aug 18, 2010 at 6:43
  • 1
    Doesn't look like there's a way to do this in Chrome, right?!
    – fatuhoku
    Feb 11, 2016 at 16:52
  • 5
    This is no longer possible in modern Firefox. Those goofballs wanted to "modernize" the cert viewer and took away the ability to export it in the process :(
    – Coderer
    Apr 19, 2021 at 10:20
  • 1
    @Coderer This is no longer true. I've just checked Firefox 117 and there is a way to download either a single certificate or the whole chain. You need to go to certificate details and find the Miscellaneous section
    – Erathiel
    Sep 12, 2023 at 13:29

Exporting a certificate using the Chrome browser

  1. Connect to the website using SSL (https://whatever)

2. Click on the lock symbol and then click on Details

  1. Since Chrome version 56, you do the following: go to the Three Dots Menu -> More Tools -> Developer Tools, then click on the Security Tab. This will give you a Security Overview with a View certificate button.

  2. Click on the View certificate button.

    A modal window will open. It has two panes. The top one shows the trust hierarchy of the site's certificate (the last one listed), the intermediate certificate(s), and the root certificate (the topmost one).

    The second, larger pane, shows the details of one of the certificates.

    There may be zero or more intermediate certificates.

    Note that the root certificate has a gold-bordered icon. The others have a blue border.

    See the screen shot below.

  3. To export a certificate:

    1. First click on the certificate's icon in the trust hierarchy.
    2. The certificate will be shown in the main part of the modal.
    3. Click on the certificate's large icon in the main part of the modal. Drag the icon to your desktop. Chrome will then copy the certificate to your desktop.

enter image description here

  • 1
    I had to drag the icon onto a text editor, desktop didn't work for me.
    – Cory Klein
    May 4, 2017 at 19:23
  • 4
    For Chrome on Windows, after you click 'View certificate' the modal is different than Mac. Click the Details tab and then Copy to File...Then choose the format and filename, which is straightforward. Aug 30, 2017 at 12:06
  • 1
    When I use Chrome v63 on Mac OS, the text file I get from dragging the certificate is human-readable, but not in any structured format that I can figure out how to convert into machine-readable form like X.509 .crt . Dec 19, 2017 at 2:06
  • no difference if opening from address bar or from this dev tab, and still can't download crt...
    – user25
    Mar 31, 2018 at 0:32
  • 3
    Not working anymore on Chrome 72.0.3626.121 Mar 13, 2019 at 10:11


-servername was required for me to get the right cert from the virtual host on our server.

openssl s_client -showcerts -connect host.name.com:443 -servername host.name.com </dev/null | sed -ne '/-BEGIN CERTIFICATE-/,/-END CERTIFICATE-/p' > host.name.com.pem

you may also convert to a certificate for desktop

openssl x509 -inform PEM -in host.name.com.pem -outform DER -out host.name.com.cer

last part is to add it to your certs, not sure on windows
for mac keychain I used, should be similar...

sudo security add-trusted-cert -d -r trustRoot -k /Library/Keychains/System.keychain host.name.com.cer

  • Note that some applications have trouble with the System and SystemRoot keychains (Golang, I'm looking at YOU), so after installing and setting the trust for those levels, you may also want to copy it to your own user's login.keychain via the Keychain Access app, you can just browse to the certificate in System/SystemRoot and click and drag it to your login keychain.
    – dragon788
    Nov 20, 2018 at 22:45
  • 1
    @dragon788 - my intent was to automate this with command line and this works for me. Please share here if you find a solution for login.keychain via CLI as well! thanks!
    – Artistan
    Nov 21, 2018 at 17:17
  • judging from what I've read on the web I believe just omitting the -d from the command will apply only to the user keychain instead of the System keychain.
    – dragon788
    Nov 28, 2018 at 21:18
  • If you are also adding an intermediate certificate(s) you will want to use trustAsRoot instead of trustRoot in order for it to get correctly added.
    – dragon788
    Nov 29, 2018 at 18:20

This is gbroiles' answer, but I wanted to point out that the cURL project has a page with a few more details on using openssl to save the remote server's SSL certificate:

  • openssl s_client -connect {HOSTNAME}:{PORT} | tee logfile
  • Type QUIT and press the Enter / Return key.
  • The certificate will be listed between "BEGIN CERTIFICATE" and "END CERTIFICATE" markers.
  • If you want to see the data in the certificate, you can use:

    openssl x509 -inform PEM -in certfile -text -out certdata

    where certfile is the certificate extracted from logfile. Look in certdata.

  • This worked for me. To be a bit more explicit, I edited logfile and trimmed everything that was outside of the BEGIN CERTIFICATE and END CERTIFICATE and saved the result as certfile.pem (Not sure if the extension was necessary). Oct 25, 2018 at 19:52

This will give the results containing the certificates only

echo QUIT | \
openssl s_client -showcerts -connect hostname:port | \
awk '/-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----/ {p=1}; p; /-----END CERTIFICATE-----/ {p=0}'
  • I think the double quotation mark on the end can be omitted. Oct 30, 2020 at 1:54

Found a much easier way if on Windows. Tried Microsoft Edge (pre-chromium) and clicked on the lock in the address bar -> View certificate Dialog pops up with an "Export to File" button, which saves it as a .crt file.

Not much I'd use Edge for, but this was piece of cake.


on a windowz machine one can retrieve a server certificate on the Windows Terminal prompt and type the following command:

openssl s_client -connect www.github.com:443 -showcerts

Is a requirement to have installed openSSL. One can download it here: https://slproweb.com/products/Win32OpenSSL.html

open the openSSL/bin folder and type the command above.

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