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WARNING: this is an beta project with a paucity of tests

The OCSP Renewer renews OCSP Staples on local disk.

An X.509 PKIX setup can use checks that a certificate is still valid, in the form of OCSP proofs. These can be requested of the CA's servers by the clients, but this is Bad in many ways. The proofs can also be requested by the server using the certificate which needs to be proved still valid, and delivered over TLS to the client. In this form, they're called "staples".

Each staple has a short lifetime, typically on the order of days, and must be renewed to be valid. Ideally, something on the server side starts trying to renew before the end of the current validity period and keeps trying until successful.

For simple standalone servers this functionality is best if just embedded in the server. For some setups, it's best to have one system with the responsibility of managing this renewal and distributing that out to the components which need it.

The OCSP Renewer tooling provides a library suitable for use by Golang programs to manage this flow, and a command-line tool suitable for use in fairly arbitrary setups. The command-line tool can run as a daemon, or a one-shot "try".

This author uses the Exim MTA which is able to serve staples as long as they're provided to it on local filesystem storage; Exim does nothing to try to renew staples, but will just use what it's given. ocsprenewer was written with that as a key usage model.


go get -v

The script .compile will embed this repository's git version information into the binary, and can be invoked as ./.compile static to get a static binary.


Probably lots.

Missing almost all tests. I got something working, needs some TLC.


Would be good to have a notify-watch on a directory to automatically pick up new certs to watch over. Also replaced (renewed) certs.

Need to select an appropriate issuer certificate when it's not bundled in the same file as the end-entity certificate. My primary use-case is Let's Encrypt (with certs issued through so bundling is the norm for me. If you need this issuer found and get the UNIMPLEMENTED complaint, file an issue with details.

Should have a periodic sweep of all files, to catch unexpected or dropped-by-bug things. (Can be done with SIGUSR2 now).


Invoke with -help to see flags.

Use -persist to set up timers and retry as and when appropriate. Signal handlers will also be setup, so that SIGUSR1 will trigger an immediate check, per timers, and SIGUSR2 will trigger a full check, ignoring timers, forcibly getting new staples. (SIGHUP is also accepted, as per SIGUSR1, but we reserve the right to make that do Other Things in the future, including full checks and anything else appropriate).

There's no self-daemon mode. Instead, run it in the "foreground" under a keep-alive system, such as supervise, or a "modern" init system, or whatever.

In the contrib/ sub-directory, there's an rc.d script for FreeBSD which will need adjustment for your installation. The path to the command, the place you choose to keep OCSP staples, and where the TLS certificates are stored are likely to need adjusting. The script relies upon chpst from the runit package.

The core lines are:

: ${ocsprenewer_flags="-out-dir /var/cache/exim -cert-extensions .crt -extension .ocsp.der -now -allow-nonocsp-in-dir -dirs -persist /etc/x509/services/exim"}

/usr/sbin/daemon >> "$ocsprenewer_logfile" 2>&1 \
  -c -P "$pidfile" -r \
  /usr/local/sbin/chpst -u "$ocsprenewer_daemon_user" \
  $command ${ocsprenewer_flags}`

The -now forces a scan on startup, despite -persist; we're working on "every cert in a directory" but accept that some certs are issued without OCSP information (a private CA) so skip those without erroring.

We tell daemon to switch to the root directory (-c), to supervise and restart if needed (-r) and to write its own pid to a pidfile (-P instead of -p) so that rc-system signals are sent to daemon, not ocsprenewer, allowing the service to be shut down.