SSL OCSP Stapling With NGINX

NGINX

OCSP stapling can significantly reduce the overhead and latency of running SSL. We enable OCSP stapling on all of our NGINX instances at Commando.io.

OCSP stapling, formally known as the TLS Certificate Status Request extension, is an alternative approach to the Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP) for checking the revocation status of X.509 digital certificates. It allows the presenter of a certificate to bear the resource cost involved in providing OCSP responses, instead of the issuing Certificate Authority (CA). — Wikipedia

It is actually quite trivial to setup in NGINX with a few directives.

http {
    ssl_stapling on;
    ssl_stapling_verify on;
    ssl_trusted_certificate /etc/nginx/ssl/stapling.trusted.crt;
    resolver 8.8.4.4 8.8.8.8 valid=300s;
    resolver_timeout 10s;
}

You must specify a DNS resolver, since NGINX makes external http requests. We use Google Public DNS, but OpenDNS, or your hosting providers DNS should all work just fine. We also set a 5 minute time to live cache period and a 10 second resolver timeout.

You'll need to also provide the SSL trusted certificate. We have a wildcard SSL certificate from GoDaddy, so the content of stapling.trusted.crt is simply:

-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
MIIE0DCCA7igAwIBAgIBBzANBgkqhkiG9w0BAQsFADCBgzELMAkGA1UEBhMCVVMx  
EDAOBgNVBAgTB0FyaXpvbmExEzARBgNVBAcTClNjb3R0c2RhbGUxGjAYBgNVBAoT  
EUdvRGFkZHkuY29tLCBJbmMuMTEwLwYDVQQDEyhHbyBEYWRkeSBSb290IENlcnRp  
ZmljYXRlIEF1dGhvcml0eSAtIEcyMB4XDTExMDUwMzA3MDAwMFoXDTMxMDUwMzA3  
MDAwMFowgbQxCzAJBgNVBAYTAlVTMRAwDgYDVQQIEwdBcml6b25hMRMwEQYDVQQH  
EwpTY290dHNkYWxlMRowGAYDVQQKExFHb0RhZGR5LmNvbSwgSW5jLjEtMCsGA1UE  
CxMkaHR0cDovL2NlcnRzLmdvZGFkZHkuY29tL3JlcG9zaXRvcnkvMTMwMQYDVQQD  
EypHbyBEYWRkeSBTZWN1cmUgQ2VydGlmaWNhdGUgQXV0aG9yaXR5IC0gRzIwggEi  
MA0GCSqGSIb3DQEBAQUAA4IBDwAwggEKAoIBAQC54MsQ1K92vdSTYuswZLiBCGzD  
BNliF44v/z5lz4/OYuY8UhzaFkVLVat4a2ODYpDOD2lsmcgaFItMzEUz6ojcnqOv  
K/6AYZ15V8TPLvQ/MDxdR/yaFrzDN5ZBUY4RS1T4KL7QjL7wMDge87Am+GZHY23e  
cSZHjzhHU9FGHbTj3ADqRay9vHHZqm8A29vNMDp5T19MR/gd71vCxJ1gO7GyQ5HY  
pDNO6rPWJ0+tJYqlxvTV0KaudAVkV4i1RFXULSo6Pvi4vekyCgKUZMQWOlDxSq7n  
eTOvDCAHf+jfBDnCaQJsY1L6d8EbyHSHyLmTGFBUNUtpTrw700kuH9zB0lL7AgMB  
AAGjggEaMIIBFjAPBgNVHRMBAf8EBTADAQH/MA4GA1UdDwEB/wQEAwIBBjAdBgNV  
HQ4EFgQUQMK9J47MNIMwojPX+2yz8LQsgM4wHwYDVR0jBBgwFoAUOpqFBxBnKLbv  
9r0FQW4gwZTaD94wNAYIKwYBBQUHAQEEKDAmMCQGCCsGAQUFBzABhhhodHRwOi8v  
b2NzcC5nb2RhZGR5LmNvbS8wNQYDVR0fBC4wLDAqoCigJoYkaHR0cDovL2NybC5n  
b2RhZGR5LmNvbS9nZHJvb3QtZzIuY3JsMEYGA1UdIAQ/MD0wOwYEVR0gADAzMDEG  
CCsGAQUFBwIBFiVodHRwczovL2NlcnRzLmdvZGFkZHkuY29tL3JlcG9zaXRvcnkv  
MA0GCSqGSIb3DQEBCwUAA4IBAQAIfmyTEMg4uJapkEv/oV9PBO9sPpyIBslQj6Zz  
91cxG7685C/b+LrTW+C05+Z5Yg4MotdqY3MxtfWoSKQ7CC2iXZDXtHwlTxFWMMS2  
RJ17LJ3lXubvDGGqv+QqG+6EnriDfcFDzkSnE3ANkR/0yBOtg2DZ2HKocyQetawi  
DsoXiWJYRBuriSUBAA/NxBti21G00w9RKpv0vHP8ds42pM3Z2Czqrpv1KrKQ0U11  
GIo/ikGQI31bS/6kA1ibRrLDYGCD+H1QQc7CoZDDu+8CL9IVVO5EFdkKrqeKM+2x  
LXY2JtwE65/3YR8V3Idv7kaWKK2hJn0KCacuBKONvPi8BDAB  
-----END CERTIFICATE-----
-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
MIIDxTCCAq2gAwIBAgIBADANBgkqhkiG9w0BAQsFADCBgzELMAkGA1UEBhMCVVMx  
EDAOBgNVBAgTB0FyaXpvbmExEzARBgNVBAcTClNjb3R0c2RhbGUxGjAYBgNVBAoT  
EUdvRGFkZHkuY29tLCBJbmMuMTEwLwYDVQQDEyhHbyBEYWRkeSBSb290IENlcnRp  
ZmljYXRlIEF1dGhvcml0eSAtIEcyMB4XDTA5MDkwMTAwMDAwMFoXDTM3MTIzMTIz  
NTk1OVowgYMxCzAJBgNVBAYTAlVTMRAwDgYDVQQIEwdBcml6b25hMRMwEQYDVQQH  
EwpTY290dHNkYWxlMRowGAYDVQQKExFHb0RhZGR5LmNvbSwgSW5jLjExMC8GA1UE  
AxMoR28gRGFkZHkgUm9vdCBDZXJ0aWZpY2F0ZSBBdXRob3JpdHkgLSBHMjCCASIw  
DQYJKoZIhvcNAQEBBQADggEPADCCAQoCggEBAL9xYgjx+lk09xvJGKP3gElY6SKD  
E6bFIEMBO4Tx5oVJnyfq9oQbTqC023CYxzIBsQU+B07u9PpPL1kwIuerGVZr4oAH  
/PMWdYA5UXvl+TW2dE6pjYIT5LY/qQOD+qK+ihVqf94Lw7YZFAXK6sOoBJQ7Rnwy
DfMAZiLIjWltNowRGLfTshxgtDj6AozO091GB94KPutdfMh8+7ArU6SSYmlRJQVh  
GkSBjCypQ5Yj36w6gZoOKcUcqeldHraenjAKOc7xiID7S13MMuyFYkMlNAJWJwGR  
tDtwKj9useiciAF9n9T521NtYJ2/LOdYq7hfRvzOxBsDPAnrSTFcaUaz4EcCAwEA  
AaNCMEAwDwYDVR0TAQH/BAUwAwEB/zAOBgNVHQ8BAf8EBAMCAQYwHQYDVR0OBBYE  
FDqahQcQZyi27/a9BUFuIMGU2g/eMA0GCSqGSIb3DQEBCwUAA4IBAQCZ21151fmX  
WWcDYfF+OwYxdS2hII5PZYe096acvNjpL9DbWu7PdIxztDhC2gV7+AJ1uP2lsdeu  
9tfeE8tTEH6KRtGX+rcuKxGrkLAngPnon1rpN5+r5N9ss4UXnT3ZJE95kTXWXwTr  
gIOrmgIttRD02JDHBHNA7XIloKmf7J6raBKZV8aPEjoJpL1E/QYVN8Gb5DKj7Tjo  
2GTzLH4U/ALqn83/B2gX2yKQOC16jdFU8WnjXzPKej17CuPKf1855eJ1usV2GDPO  
LPAvTK33sefOT6jEm0pUBsV/fdUID+Ic/n4XuKxe9tQWskMJDE32p2u0mYRlynqI  
4uJEvlz36hz1  
-----END CERTIFICATE-----

Finally, you may verify that OSCP stapling is enabled with SSL Labs. Here is our report for Commando.io.

https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/analyze.html?d=commando.io.