O'Reilly

PHP, SSL, and cURL SSL3_GET_SERVER_CERTIFICATE Errors

By on  

I recently developed a complex system for a customer that involved PHP, cURL, and a SSL connection to a third party vendor. The third party vendor would validate the security certificate of the source (the system I created) and either allow or reject access. My code looked like this:

$ch = curl_init();
curl_setopt($ch,CURLOPT_URL,'https://thirdparty.com/token.php'); //not the actual site
curl_setopt($ch,CURLOPT_TIMEOUT,60);
curl_setopt($ch,CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER,1);
curl_setopt($ch,CURLOPT_POST,1);
curl_setopt($ch,CURLOPT_POSTFIELDS,'customer_id='.$cid.'&password='.$pass);
curl_setopt($ch,CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYPEER,true); 
curl_setopt($ch,CURLOPT_CAINFO,'ca-bundle.crt'); /* problem here! */
$result = curl_exec($ch);
if(empty($result)) { /* error: nothing returned */ } else { /* success! */ }
curl_close($ch);

Unfortunately I was persistently receiving the following error message:

error:14090086:SSL routines:SSL3_GET_SERVER_CERTIFICATE:certificate verify failed

It turns out that the SSL bundle file I was using was old, as was the default bundle that came with the old version of cURL the shared hosting server. Essentially the third party didn't trust that the system's SSL certificate was valid. I downloaded Mozilla's bundle file, named it mozilla.pem and changed my PHP code to:

$ch = curl_init();
curl_setopt($ch,CURLOPT_URL,'https://thirdparty.com/token.php'); //not the actual site
curl_setopt($ch,CURLOPT_TIMEOUT,60);
curl_setopt($ch,CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER,1);
curl_setopt($ch,CURLOPT_POST,1);
curl_setopt($ch,CURLOPT_POSTFIELDS,'customer_id='.$cid.'&password='.$pass);
curl_setopt($ch,CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYPEER,true); 
curl_setopt($ch,CURLOPT_CAINFO,'mozilla.pem'); /* fixed! */
$result = curl_exec($ch);
if(empty($result)) { /* error: nothing returned */ } else { /* success! */ }
curl_close($ch);

I share this with you because it cost me over three hours. Hopefully this will save someone time and frustration in the future.

Treehouse Learning

Recent Features

  • Write Better JavaScript with Promises

    You've probably heard the talk around the water cooler about how promises are the future. All of the cool kids are using them, but you don't see what makes them so special. Can't you just use a callback? What's the big deal? In this article, we'll...

  • Responsive and Infinitely Scalable JS Animations

    Back in late 2012 it was not easy to find open source projects using requestAnimationFrame() – this is the hook that allows Javascript code to synchronize with a web browser's native paint loop. Animations using this method can run at 60 fps and deliver fantastic...

Incredible Demos

  • CSS Vertical Centering

    Front-end developing is beautiful, and it's getting prettier by the day. Nowadays we got so many concepts, methodologies, good practices and whatnot to make our work stand out from the rest. Javascript (along with its countless third party libraries) and CSS have grown so big, helping...

  • Custom Scrollbars in WebKit

    Before each of the browser vendors we like was providing unique CSS controls, Internet Explorer was setting the tone.  One such example is IE's early implementation of CSS filters. Internet Explorer was also the first browser that allowed developers to, for better or worse, customize...

Discussion

  1. Thanks for sharing. That’s going to same someone a great deal of time.

  2. Great post. Thanks…

  3. “Hopefully this will save someone time and frustration in the future.”

    Yes, it has saved many time to me. There is, however, a point that you don’t explain in your article: where to put the Mozilla’s bundle file? I develop using WAMP, and this is the code I use:

    curl_setopt($rRequest, CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYPEER, 1);
    curl_setopt($rRequest, CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYHOST, 2);
    curl_setopt($rRequest, CURLOPT_CAINFO, "C:\path\sub-path\wamp\www\php\mozilla.pem");
    

    The CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYHOST option verify that the name field matches the host name of the server.

    More information:
    Using cURL in PHP to access HTTPS (SSL/TLS) protected sites

  4. SomeDude

    I still can’t get mine to work. I’m getting this problem with my Facebook app.

    • Koen

      Dear somedude, did you fix your SSL CURL error that you were experiencing with your Facebook app? I’m experiencing the same thing and cannot get it fixed!

  5. Dude, you saved my life! ;o)

  6. az

    Very helpful. Thank you!

  7. i am getting this now.
    error setting certificate verify locations:

  8. Neelesh

    Thanks david… But I don’t understand How its working for common cert file ,that I downloaded from above link..

  9. Weston

    THANKS YOU SOOOOO MUCH.

    This _did_ save me hours of time!

  10. Alfredo

    David, thank you for saving me three invaluable hours!

  11. mozilla rocks

    thanks dave

  12. yuvraj jain

    Thanks David, it saved my important hours:). I have faced the same problem and this article solved all the things.

    Keep posting man Thanks again.

  13. Lech

    Thank you for the info and link, but I think what you mean is that *your* system did not trust the third party’s certificate.

  14. Mohamed

    Or you could just turn ssl verification off

    curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYPEER,false);
    
  15. Ferg

    Thank you so much! I only wish I had found this post sooner.

  16. mark

    you can check if both ends use the same ssl version: http://newexception.com/php-curl-https

  17. Abhay

    Hi David,

    Even after updating the certs, I get same error

    I have also set absolute path for the latest crt file

        curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_CAPATH, "/path/to/certfile");
        curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_CAINFO, "cacert.pem"); 
    

    —————-
    successfully set certificate verify locations:
    * CAfile: none
    CApath: /etc/ssl/certs
    * SSL certificate problem, verify that the CA cert is OK. Details:
    error:14090086:SSL routines:SSL3_GET_SERVER_CERTIFICATE:certificate verify failed
    * Closing connection #0
    —————-

  18. Chintan

    Thanks a lot !! It helped me ..

Wrap your code in <pre class="{language}"></pre> tags, link to a GitHub gist, JSFiddle fiddle, or CodePen pen to embed!