How to Use Cloudflare Origin Certificates with Apache on Ubuntu Linux

This post shows students and new users steps to create Cloudflare origin certificates for use with Apache on Ubuntu Linux. Using Cloudflare to enhance your server security, use its Full SSL (Strait) SSL/TLS and Origin Certificate with your setup.

Using Cloudflare’s origin certificate, you can create an end-to-end SSL/TLS encryption between your servers and Cloudflare proxy servers, thus making sure that all connections to your servers are encrypted.

You can create a free certificate signed by Cloudflare to install on the origin server. Because the Certificate is free and provided by Cloudflare, you can choose a longer validation period — which can be set to up to 15 years, and the ability to include all your subdomains with a wildcard *

We showed you how to do that with the Apache2 HTTPS server.

When you’re ready to set up your server and Cloudflare to use Origin Certificate, follow the steps below:

How to sign up for Cloudflare

The first step in this tutorial is to sign up for a Cloudflare account. This post assumes that you already have registered a domain name. If you don’t, then go and get one before continuing further.

If you already have a Cloudflare account, then skip the registration below.

Type in your email address and click Create Account.

Cloudflare WordPress setup

Once the account is created and you’ve verified your email address and logged back into the Cloudflare account, click the button or link (Add a Site) to add a site to your account.

Cloudflare WordPress setup

Next, type in the domain name you have registered. Again, Cloudflare service will help speed up and protect the site you add.

Cloudflare WordPress setup

Next, Cloudflare will query your domain DNS provider for the records in the DNS table. Cloudflare should find the domain and import the records into its DNS systems if the domain is online.

Cloudflare WordPress setup

After that, select the plan you want to use for the site. For this tutorial, we’re going to be using Cloudflare free plan.

Cloudflare WordPress setup

You should see two nameservers provided to you by Cloudflare when you’re done. What you need to do is log on to your domain provider’s portal. Then, when you have your domain, replace the nameservers with the ones Cloudflare gives you.

For example, our site is hosted with Google Domains. Log on to your Google Domains account and select use custom nameservers.

You’ll have the option to enter the nameservers provided by Cloudflare. Save your changes when you’re done.

Cloudflare WordPress Setup

Once you’ve saved your custom nameservers changes, go back to your Cloudflare account and wait for Cloudflare to see the changes. Depending on your domain provider, it takes up to an hour for the DNS changes to be visible on Cloudflare.

Once all is ready, you’ll see your site status as Active.

When everything is done, you should also see your Cloudflare account with DNS entries, as shown below. Your DNS records might have more entries than the two below.

These two entries are the most important for running your website.

Cloudflare WordPress Setup

After that, click on the Crypto tab and choose to enable Full (strict) SSL. This should turn on SSL for the site.

Cloudflare WordPress Setup

While still on the Crypto tab, scroll down to Origin Certificates. Then click the button to create the Certificate.

Use the free TLS certificate signed by Cloudflare to install it on your origin server. Origin Certificates are only valid for encryption between Cloudflare and your origin server.

Next, let Cloudflare generate a private key and a CSR for the domain. Click Next.

WordPress Cloudflare

Then copy a paste these into a text file onto your server.

On Ubuntu, run the commands below to create the Private key, Certificate, and Origin pull files (3 files). Then, copy and paste each content into the respective file. And save.

For the Private key file. Run this, copy and paste the private key given to you into the file and save.

sudo nano /etc/ssl/private/

For the certificate file, run this and copy and paste the certificate content into the file and save.

sudo nano /etc/ssl/certs/

You’ll also want to download the Cloudflare Origin Pull certificate. You can download that from the link below:

Set up authenticated Origin pulls · Cloudflare SSL docs

Zone-Level — Cloudflare certificate

Under Zone-level certificate, expand the certificate button, the copy its content.

Next, run the commands below to create an origin-pull-ca.pem file, paste the certificate content into the file below, and save.

sudo nano /etc/ssl/certs/origin-pull-ca.pem

Once done, you should have three files. The, and origin-pull-ca.pem.

We will use these files in the Apache config below

After saving the key, Certificate, and Origin, pull the certificate files. Continue below.

Still, on the Crypto page in your Cloudflare account, enable Always use HTTPS, and you may also change settings for HSTS but not necessary.

Next, turn on Authenticated Origin Pulls and Opportunistic Encryption, and continue.

Then, turn on Automatic HTTPS Rewrites and continue.

Next, move to the Page Rules tab. Then create a new rule for the site. Then type the URL and choose Always Use HTTPS.


Always Use HTTPS

Save your settings, and you’re done with setting up Cloudflare.

How to configure Apache with Cloudflare

Finally, configure the Apache site configuration file for your website. This file will control how users access your website content. Run the commands below to create a new configuration file called

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/

Then copy and paste the content below into the file and save it. Replace the highlighted line with your domain name and directory root location.

Also, reference the certificate files created above during Cloudflare setup.

<VirtualHost *:80>

<VirtualHost *:443>
     Protocols h2 http/1.1
     DocumentRoot /var/www/html/
     SSLEngine on
     SSLCertificateFile /etc/ssl/certs/
     SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/ssl/private/
     SSLCACertificateFile /etc/ssl/certs/origin-pull-ca.pem
     SSLVerifyClient require
     SSLVerifyDepth 1

     <Directory /var/www/html/>
          Options FollowSymlinks
          AllowOverride All
          Require all granted

     ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
     CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined


Save the file and exit.

How to enable VirtualHost block with Apache

After configuring the server block above, please enable it by running the commands below.

sudo a2ensite
sudo systemctl restart apache2.service

Then open your browser and browse to the server domain name.

That should do it!


This post showed you how to enable a Cloudflare origin certificate to enhance and secure the connection between Cloudflare’s server and your servers. If you find any error above, please use the comment form below to report.