I need to get SSL certificate of some mail servers. I know I need to do execute following steps.

  1. Do a DNS mx query on the domain name (dig google.com mx).
  2. Use the information to download SSL certificate (openssl s_client -showcerts -connect google.com:443).

But I am not sure what information I should pick up from step 1 and how it should be used in step 2.


1 Answer 1


To get the SSL/TLS Certificate of an SMPT server pick the domain of one MX record from the answer section of your DNS query and feed it to openssl:

$ dig gmail.com mx
gmail.com.      3599    IN  MX  20 alt2.gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com.
gmail.com.      3599    IN  MX  5 gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com.
gmail.com.      3599    IN  MX  30 alt3.gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com.
gmail.com.      3599    IN  MX  10 alt1.gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com.
gmail.com.      3599    IN  MX  40 alt4.gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com.

$ openssl s_client -connect gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com:25 -starttls smtp

Note: it's not a safe assumption that the web server (if there is any) running on the same machine as the SMTP server uses the same certificate.

see also https://serverfault.com/questions/131627/how-to-inspect-remote-smtp-servers-tls-certificate#131628

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