So your Apache machine crashes at 3am morning and restarts but it will not start up the apache process or the whole machine at all because it require the pass phrase from the SSL key to be entered. From a security aspect having a passphrase is good but in the real world sometimes it can be frustrating.
This is the process I go through to remove the key.
Create the key, you will need to enter a passphrase here
# openssl genrsa -des3 -out www.yourdomain.com.pass. key 2048
Then we remove the pass phrase with the following command
# openssl rsa -in www.yourdomain.com.pass.key -out www.yourdomain.com.key
Then we create the CSR to send to the SSL provider to issue our Certificate file.
# openssl req -new -key www.yourdomain.com.key -out www.yourdomain.com.csr