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HOW DO I GET A CERTIFICATE

CERTIFICATE AUTHORITIES.
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.

OBTAINING A 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:
-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----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-----END CERTIFICATE-----




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