Certificate expiration date


Getting the expiration date of a TLS certificate.

The openssl command from OpenSSL has a lot of options, including the possibility to print the expiration date of a TLS certificate on standard output:

$ openssl x509 -noout -enddate -in mycert.pem
notAfter=May 10 03:09:21 2021 GMT

This can be combined with automated fetching of a remote certificate, again via openssl using the s_client sub-command:

$ openssl s_client \
        -connect polettix.it:443 \
        -servername polettix.it \
        </dev/null 2>/dev/null \
    | openssl x509 -noout -enddate

A few hints that might save you some time:

  • the -connect option is only used to locate where to connect, putting a FQDN here will not do what you mean. Or at least, what I mean. If you have a virtualhosts environment where multiple domains lye on the same IP Address, you MUST use the -servername option too, so that the right (virtual) host will be selected;
  • by default, s_client opens a connection and waits for input to be sent to the other side. In this case we are interested only in the “handshake stuff”, so we get our standard input from /dev/null so that the program closes the connection and exists as soon as the initial phase is completed.

Of course we can wrap it into a shell function:

certificate_expiration_date() {
   local target="$1"
   local domain="${target%:*}"
   local port="${target#*:}"
   [ "$port" != "$target" ] || port='443'
   openssl s_client \
         -connect "$domain:$port" \
         -servername "$domain" \
         </dev/null 2>/dev/null \
      | openssl x509 -noout -enddate


This accepts both a plain domain name - defaulting to port 443 - or a full target which includes the port number:

$ /tmp/ced.sh polettix.it:443
notAfter=May 10 03:09:21 2021 GMT

$ /tmp/ced.sh polettix.it
notAfter=May 10 03:09:21 2021 GMT

$ /tmp/ced.sh google.com
notAfter=Jun  3 14:54:06 2021 GMT

Stay safe everyone!

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