Most webmasters would usually use a pass phrase for an Apache SSL key considering the security perspective. But often fail to realize that you need to manually enter it every time you start Apache, else it would not start.
So, if you wish to get rid of this and want to remove the pass-phrase, here’s what you must do.
As with any activity that you carry out over the server, make sure you back it up.
cp -rp www.key www.key.original
To proceed further, you must unencrypt the key first, for which you have use the openssl. You must first know the passphrase to initiate this process.
Then run the below command:
openssl rsa -in www.key -out new.key
Then copy the new.key to www.key file and try restarting Apache. If you followed these steps correctly, you should not be prompted to enter the passphrase.