The bash script getWebserverNames.sh connects to a SSL/TLS server on a specifiable TCP port and display information about the presented certificate.

Information that are shown:

  • The issuer of the certificate.
  • The date up to which the certificate is valid.
  • The subject of the certificate.
  • It’s subject alternate names (SAN).
  • The certificate chain presented by the server.


  • It is tested on MacOS and Linux
  • openssl is on MacOS and most Linux distribution installed.
  • The Bash shell should be available on any Linux distribution and currently is available on MacOS (which might change in the future).
  • Since sed differ between most Linux distribution and MacOS and has different syntax, this script tries to discover which sed is installed and use the apropriate syntax.


~$ openSSLscripts/getWebserverNames.sh github.com
Issuer:  C=US
         CN=DigiCert High Assurance TLS Hybrid ECC SHA256 2020 CA1
Up to:   Mar 30 23:59:59 2022 GMT
Subject: C=US
         L=San Francisco
SAN:     DNS:github.com
presented certificate chain:
         0 s: CN=github.com
         1 s: CN=DigiCert High Assurance TLS Hybrid ECC SHA256 2020 CA1

Some explanations

openssl s_client

  • Connects to a SSL/TLS server (like “telnet server port”, but SSL/TLS encrypted)
    and - as a side effect - gives several information of the active SSL/TLS-session including the certificate(s).
  • in script: openssl s_client $EXTRAOPTS -showcerts -connect $SERVERADDRESS:$SERVERPORT
    • -showcerts adds the full certificate chain to the output, otherwise only the server’s certificate is shown.
    • -starttls smtp uses a SMTP dialog to connect in cleartext and then sends STARTTLS to switch to SSL/TLS and finaly will get the certificate
  • Examples:
    • openssl s_client -connect www.example.com:443
    • openssl s_client -showcerts -starttls smtp -connect mail.example.com:25

openssl x509

  • Displays or manipulates certificate information provided either on stdin or from file, if -in filename is specified.
  • By default it expects PEM encoded certificates (= everyting between -----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
    and -----END CERTIFICATE-----).
  • It usually handles only the first certificate, if multiple are presented.
  • in script: openssl x509 -noout -text
    • -noout supresses the certificate output in “binary” format (by default PEM).
    • -text prints the certificate’s information in plain text.


  • The sed commands on Linux and MacOS are different (= have different options / syntax), so we have to test which one is running.
    if sed --version 2>/dev/null | head -1 | grep -q GNU
  • On MacOS the syntax looks a bit complex to replace all comma+space combinations (, ) with new lines and an indentation:
    sed $'s/,/\\\n        /g'
    The $'...' expands the escape sequences in the quote:
    • \\ converts to a real \.
    • \n converts to a newline.
    • \<newline> is send to sed.
    • it needs to be escaped for sed, so sed won’t end, but show the newline-

This script is included in my git repository openSSLscripts hosted at GitHub: