SSL_set_cert_cb(3) handle certificate callback function

Other Alias



#include <openssl/ssl.h>
void SSL_CTX_set_cert_cb(SSL_CTX *c, int (*cert_cb)(SSL *ssl, void *arg), void *arg);
void SSL_set_cert_cb(SSL *s, int (*cert_cb)(SSL *ssl, void *arg), void *arg);
int (*cert_cb)(SSL *ssl, void *arg);


SSL_CTX_set_cert_cb() and SSL_set_cert_cb() sets the cert_cb() callback, arg value is pointer which is passed to the application callback.

When cert_cb() is NULL, no callback function is used.

cert_cb() is the application defined callback. It is called before a certificate will be used by a client or server. The callback can then inspect the passed ssl structure and set or clear any appropriate certificates. If the callback is successful it MUST return 1 even if no certificates have been set. A zero is returned on error which will abort the handshake with a fatal internal error alert. A negative return value will suspend the handshake and the handshake function will return immediately. SSL_get_error(3) will return SSL_ERROR_WANT_X509_LOOKUP to indicate, that the handshake was suspended. The next call to the handshake function will again lead to the call of cert_cb(). It is the job of the cert_cb() to store information about the state of the last call, if required to continue.


An application will typically call SSL_use_certificate() and SSL_use_PrivateKey() to set the end entity certificate and private key. It can add intermediate and optionally the root CA certificates using SSL_add1_chain_cert().

It might also call SSL_certs_clear() to delete any certificates associated with the SSL object.

The certificate callback functionality supercedes the (largely broken) functionality provided by the old client certificate callback interface. It is always called even is a certificate is already set so the callback can modify or delete the existing certificate.

A more advanced callback might examine the handshake parameters and set whatever chain is appropriate. For example a legacy client supporting only TLS v1.0 might receive a certificate chain signed using SHA1 whereas a TLS v1.2 client which advertises support for SHA256 could receive a chain using SHA256.

Normal server sanity checks are performed on any certificates set by the callback. So if an EC chain is set for a curve the client does not support it will not be used.