Enable OCSP Stapling on NGINX

May 25, 2018 in SSL Technical FAQs

To enable OCSP Stapling on NGINX:

  1. First check that NGINX 1.3.7 or above is installed by running the following command:

    nginx –v

    Versions lower than 1.3.7 do not support OCSP stapling, so you should update NGINX before proceeding with the rest of this tutorial.
  2. Check whether OCSP stapling is already enabled or not:
  • Go to Qualys SSL Server Test, enter your website address and click ‘Analyze’
  • Scroll down to ‘Certificate Status Details’
  • If OCSP is enabled, the “OCSP Stapling” row will say ‘Good’
  • If OCSP is not enabled, the “OCSP Stapling” row will say ‘Not Supported’

Alternatively, you can check by running the following OpenSSL command:

openssl s_client -connect [my-domain.com]:443 -status

If OCSP is enabled, the OCSP Response Data section should say:

OCSP Response Status: successful (0x0)

If it is not enabled, you won’t see any OCSP Response Data.

  1. If step 2 revealed no evidence that OCSP is enabled on your server, it is first worth checking that NGINX can actually connect to our OCSP servers. Our OCSP servers are at the following locations:


Destination IP


OCSP.usertrust.com or 2a02:1788:2fd::b2ff:5301


To check connectivity, use the following telnet command:

telnet OCSP.ComodoCA.com 80

If the test is successful the reply will state ‘Connected to OCSP.ComodoCA.com’ for at least one of the ‘Destination IP’ addresses in the table above.

If the test is unsuccessful the replies will state ‘Network Unreachable’ and/or ‘Connection Timed Out’. Please make the required network changes to allow NGINX to connect to our OCSP servers. Once complete, we advise you to re-run the test in step 2 to establish whether OCSP stapling is already enabled.

  1. To enable OCSP stapling, first edit the server block configuration file for your site (or nginx.conf if server blocks are not used) using the editor of your choice (example editors include nano or vi):

    nano /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/my-domain.com-ssl.conf


    nano /etc/nginx/nginx.conf

    If you need to enable OCSP stapling on just one server block, it must be the “default_server”. If you need to enable OCSP stapling on more than one server block, it must be enabled on the 'default_server' before it can be enabled on any other server block.
  2. Turn on OCSP stapling and enable the server to check OCSP by adding the following lines inside the server block:

    ssl_stapling on;
    ssl_stapling_verify on;
  3. Point to a trusted certificate chain file. This must contain the intermediate & root certificates in order

    ssl_trusted_certificate /etc/nginx/ssl/full_chain.pem

    Use the example below as a reference configuration:

    server {

    listen 443 default_server;
    server_name mydomain.com

    # Change this to point to your document root.

    root /srv/www/example.com/public_html;
    index index.html index.htm;

    ssl on;
    ssl_certificate /etc/nginx/ssl/mydomain.com/my_certificate.crt;
    ssl_certificate_key /etc/nginx/ssl/mydomain.com/mydomain.key;

    ssl_stapling on;
    ssl_stapling_verify on;
    ssl_trusted_certificate /etc/nginx/ssl/full_chain.pem

  4. Test your configuration is OK:

    sudo service nginx configtest


    nginx -t
  5. Restart NGINX if OK:

    sudo service nginx reload


    systemctl restart nginx
  6. Verify OCSP Stapling is working by repeating step 2