Samuel Jackson Samuel Jackson - 2 months ago 4x
PHP Question

How do I keep my cacert.pem current for security reasons when using curl?

I would like to keep my root certificates current for use with cURL and PHP's internal

command, however there is no parameter currently to download the current file it requires for a proper secure connection and to keep it current.

And example of using
in PHP for a secure connection which requires a file named
(PEM encoded certificate chain for validating remote connections) is as follows :

$ch = curl_init();
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_URL, "");
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_CONNECTTIMEOUT, 15);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_TIMEOUT, 15);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER, 1);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_HEADER, 0);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYPEER, 1);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_CAINFO, "pathto/cacert.pem");
if (!($data = curl_exec($ch))) {
echo "No data received";
} else {
echo strlen($data) + " total byte(s)";

While most people simply set
to false, and thus ignore the problem, which is bad . You can see here where a certificate authority shows that if you do not have this file current, the only way to connect to a secure server is to disable certificate checking and further warns of the implications behind disabling peer verification.

What I am requesting is for a legitimate way to maintain a local copy of
so that when I use
in PHP to communicate with other servers, I can continue to do so securely .

This is not a request for an external resource or off-site link etc, however due to the nature of the problem, it is likely that may be the ONLY way to resolve this as it would require continuous updating as certificate chains are revoked. To date, there is no way to obtain this file either as part of the distribution of curl itself, or php, or the curl library for php and continue to maintain it. While it is discouraging that this is not something which a simple update command like
curl --update-root-ca
would be nice, it does not exist in any form.


Since initially writing this article, (and thus this rewrite), I was able to resolve my own problem by including links directly to the only legitimate source to maintain this file which is provided on the site maintained by the author of curl at this location

Further as technology is advancing this question has been updated to show how to use curl in PHP and force TLS v1.2 connection (something which certain transaction providers require or recommend and may not supply the information on how to do this).

Regarding certificate authorities, there are a few key root authorities such as :

  • Symantec
  • RapidSSL
  • thawte
  • GeoTrust
  • Comodo

As well as other authorities by their nature such as

  • Microsoft
  • Mozilla
  • Google

Which can be a frame for anyone looking to maintain their own cacert.pem. Keep in mind that you would need to download their revocation lists (certificates that have been breached or expired) from the respective crl's to maintain a proper trust mechanism, while you should be able to get away with just downloading their root certificate chains and using those as a local authorative file as your cacert.pem.