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How to get a server certificate

how to get a server certificate



Operating a secure server addresses two issues: proving that you (the server operator) are who you say you are, and preventing data from being intercepted and decoded by a less than nice person. The certificate authority is a company such as Verisign and Thawte. Their role is to grant the certificate to the site operator, and in doing so guarantee to the visitor to the site that they are in fact at a site owned and/or operated by the company that purchased the certificate.

The Certificate Authority has rules and regulations regarding the issuance of certificates, such as only granting a certificate to the company designated as the owner of the domain. This would preclude someone from trying to get a certificate claiming they are a well know company, unless they are in fact authorized by an officer of that company to obtain the certificate.


The exact steps involved in getting a certificate to install on your site vary depending on which web software package you are

running. The general idea is this:

  • Generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR). The method to create this information varies from server to server, but the result is the same: to create a strange looking mush of numbers and letters that contain information such as: company name, address, server name, state and so on. You will need to know which Certificate Authority you will be using.
  • Follow the procedures outlined at the Certificate Authority for submitting your CSR. Be sure to complete all information accurately as any mistakes will delay processing.

  • Wait. The Certificate Authority will do a little investigation to make sure you are in fact who you claim to be!

  • Install your certificate. Again, this procedure will vary from server to server. Each secure server package has some type of utility that allows you to install a certificate on the server.
  • If you are curious, after spending a couple of hundred bucks or so, this is what you get back:

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