Host a Certificate Revokation List (CRL)

A Certificate Revokation List (CRL) contains all revoked certificates signed by a certificate authority. Having a CRL is completely optional (e.g. Let’s Encrypt certificates don’t have one).

A URL to the CRL is usually included in the certificates (in the crlDistributionPoints x509 extension) so clients can fetch the CRL and verify that the certificate has not been revoked. Some services (e.g. OpenVPN) also just keep a local copy of a CRL.


CRLs are usually hosted via HTTP, not HTTPS. CRLs are always signed, so hosting them via HTTP is not a security vulnerability. On the other hand, you cannot verify the the certificate used when fetching the CRL anyway, since you would need the CRL for that.

Add CRL URL to new certificates

To include the URL to a CRL in newly issued certificates (you cannot add it to already issued certificates, obviously), either set it in the admin interface or via the command line:

$ python list_cas
34:D6:02:B5:B8:27:4F:51:9A:16:0C:B8:56:B7:79:3F - Root CA
$ python edit_ca --crl-url= \
>     34:D6:02:B5:B8:27:4F:51:9A:16:0C:B8:56:B7:79:3F

Use generic view to host a CRL

django-ca provides the generic view CertificateRevocationListView to provide CRLs via HTTP.

If you installed django-ca as a full project, a default CRL is already available for all CAs. If you installed django-ca on “”, the CRL is available at<serial>/. If you installed django-ca as an app, you only need to include django_ca.urls in your URL conf at the appropriate location.

The default CRL is in the ASN1/DER format, signed with sha512 and refreshed every ten minutes. This is fine for TLS clients that use CRLs and is in fact similar to what public CAs use (see crlDistributionPoints). If you want to change any of these settings, you can override them as parameters in a URL conf:

from OpenSSL import crypto
from django_ca.views import CertificateRevocationListView

urlpatterns = [
   # ... your other patterns

   # We need a CRL in PEM format with a sha256 digest

If you do not want to include the automatically hosted CRL, please set CA_PROVIDE_GENERIC_CRL to False in your settings.

class django_ca.views.CertificateRevocationListView(**kwargs)[source]

Generic view that provides Certificate Revocation Lists (CRLs).

content_type = 'application/pkix-crl'

The value of the Content-Type header used in the response. For CRLs in PEM format, use "text/plain".

digest = <cryptography.hazmat.primitives.hashes.SHA512 object>

Digest used for generating the CRL.

expires = 600

CRL expires in this many seconds.

password = None

Password used to load the private key of the certificate authority. If not set, the private key is assumed to be unencrypted.

type = 'DER'

Filetype for CRL, one of the OpenSSL.crypto.FILETYPE_* variables. The default is OpenSSL.crypto.FILETYPE_ASN1.

Write a CRL to a file

You can generate the CRL with the dump_crl command:

$ python dump_crl -f PEM /var/www/crl.pem


The dump_crl command uses the first enabled CA by default, you can force a particular CA with --ca=<serial>.

CRLs expire after a certain time (default: one day, configure with --expires=SECS), so you must periodically regenerate it, e.g. via a cron-job.

How and where to host the file is entirely up to you. If you run a Django project with a webserver already, one possibility is to dump it to your MEDIA_ROOT directory.