taken from: http://www.rpatrick.com/tech/makecert/
Following is a quick listing of the commands you need to use when setting up an SSL key for Apache that doesn’t require a passphrase to be entered during normal operations, and includes a self-signed certificate so you needn’t bother with cert requests and CAs. The sequence of events is to create a 3DES key, remove the passphrase, and then generate a self-signed certificate.
The following commands are to be entered via the command line, with each openssl statement requiring interactive input. Performed on Red Hat Linux, these instructions ought to also work on other flavors of Unix with OpenSSL and Apache installed.
openssl genrsa -des3 -out pass.key 1024
openssl rsa -in pass.key -out server.key
openssl req -new -key server.key -x509 -out server.crt -days 999
cp server.key /etc/httpd/conf/ssl.key/
cp server.crt /etc/httpd/conf/ssl.crt/
Verifying that Apache has the correct SSL directives and is using the correct key and certificate created above is left as an exercise for the webmaster.
If your system has a Makefile or symlink in the Apache conf directory, you can opt to pursue an earlier method to this madness using the below steps (provided here only for completeness):
/usr/bin/openssl genrsa 1024 > /etc/httpd/conf/ssl.key/server.key
chmod go-rwx /etc/httpd/conf/ssl.key/server.key
Optionally, if you need a server.pem file for a given application, such as courier-imapd, use the following to create the .pem file from the previously created certificate and key:
cat server.key server.crt >server.pem
Using the above method you can enjoy the encryption protection provided by SSL without having to pay a commercial vendor to sign your server keys. If you don’t like the popup presented by some applications (e.g. web browsers) about an untrusted certificate, simply follow the process provided by your application to import or install the certificate, at which point you will no longer have to deal with future dialog boxes regarding an untrusted site.