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SSL Certificate Authority Certification Authorities

Why you need security for your website

The Internet has created many new global business opportunities for enterprises conducting online commerce. However, the many security risks associated with conducting e-commerce have resulted in security becoming a major factor for online success or failure.

Over the past seven years, consumer magazines, industry bodies and security providers have educated the market on the basics of online security. The majority of consumers now expect security to be integrated into any online service they use, as a result they expect any details they provide via the Internet to remain confidential and safe. For many customers, the only time they will ever consider buying your products or services online is when they are satisfied that their details are secure.

This guide explains how you can utilize Positive SSL to activate the core security technology available on your existing web server. You will also learn how Positive SSL allows you to protect your customer's transactions and provide visitors with proof of your digital identity - essential factors in gaining confidence in your services and identity.

Using Positive SSL Certificates to secure your online transactions tells your customers that you take their security seriously. They will visibly see that their online transaction will be secure and confidential, which will give them the confidence that you have removed the risk associated with trading over the Internet.

Using Security helps you realize the benefits of online commerce:

  • Cost effectiveness of online operations and delivery
  • Open global markets - gain customers from all over the world
  • New and exciting ways of marketing directly to your customers
  • Offer new data products and services via the Web

Only if you have visibly secured your site with SSL security technology will your customers have confidence in your online operations. Read on to learn how SSL helps you achieve the confidence essential to successful e-commerce.

What is SSL?

Secure Sockets Layer, SSL, is the standard security technology for creating encrypted communication between a web server and a browser. It ensures that all data passed between the web server and browser remain private and uncompromised. SSL is an industry standard, used by millions of websites to protect online transactions with their customers. To use SSL, a web server requires an SSL Certificate.

When you choose to activate SSL on your web server, you will be prompted to complete a number of questions about the identity of your website (e.g. your website's URL) and your company (e.g. your company's name and location). Your web server then creates two cryptographic keys - a Private Key and a Public Key. Your Private Key is so called for a reason - it must remain private and secure. The Public Key does not need to be secret and is placed into a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) - a data file also containing your details. You should then submit the CSR during the SSL Certificate application process Comodo, the Positive SSL Certification Authority will validate your details and issue an SSL Certificate containing your details and allowing you to use SSL.

Your web server will match your issued SSL Certificate to your Private Key. Your web server will then be able to establish an encrypted link between the website and your customer's web browser.

For detailed application and installation instructions, please refer to the "Step by step instructions to set up SSL on your web server" section of this guide.


Displaying the SSL secure padlock

The complexities of the SSL protocol remain invisible to your customers. Instead their browsers provide them with a key indicator to let them know they are currently protected by an SSL encrypted session - the Padlock:

SSL Secure Padlock
As seen by users of Internet Explorer


Clicking on the Padlock displays your SSL Certificate and your details:

SSL Information
As seen by users of Internet Explorer

All SSL Certificates are issued to either companies or legally accountable individuals. Typically, an SSL Certificate will contain your domain name, your company name, your address, your city, your state and your country. It will also contain the expiration date of the Certificate and details of the Certification Authority responsible for the issuance of the Certificate.

When a browser connects to a secure site, it will retrieve the site's SSL Certificate and check that it has not expired, it has been issued by a Certification Authority the browser trusts, and that it is being used by the website for which it has been issued. If it fails on any one of these checks the browser will display a warning to the end user.

Why should you use an Positive SSL Certificate?

Comodo, the Certification Authority behind Positive SSL, is the fastest growing SSL Provider in the world. Unlike other Certification Authorities, Comodo does not just provide SSL Certificates - they are a world-renowned security and cryptography service provider. When you are a customer of Comodo, you can feel safe knowing that your website security is provided by experts.

Positive SSL Certificates are the most cost-effective fully validated and fully supported 128 bit SSL Certificates you can buy today!. You can also feel safe in the knowledge that Comodo will validate your application in accordance with the latest digital signature legislation pertaining to Qualified Certificates. This validation is done effectively and quickly, ensuring you need not wait the traditional 3 working days normally associated with a fully validated SSL Certificate.

Positive SSL boasts industry leading browser compatibility - comparable to Verisign and Thawte, however without the costs associated with other SSL Providers. Positive SSL Certificates are compatible with over 99% of browsers - including Internet Explorer 5.00 and above, all versions of Firefox, Netscape 4.5 and above, AOL 6 and above and Opera 5.00 and above.

Positive SSL benefits summary:

Positive SSL Certificates are the most cost effective SSL Certificates you can buy which include:

  • Full validation conducted quickly - in many cases you can expect your SSL Certificate to be issued within minutes
  • Telephone, email, web support
  • Over 99.9% browser compatibility
  • 128 bit strong encryption security
  • Backed by warranties ranging from $50 to $10,000

Positive SSL Certificates provide you with the key to successfully using SSL on your web server.


Testing your web server before you buy -
Try an SSL Certificate for free

Trial SSL Certificates provide full SSL functionality for 30 days and are fully supported by our expert technical support staff. Unlike test Certificates from other CAs, Positive SSL trial Certificates are issued using the same Trusted Root CA that issues our end-entity SSL Certificates and provides 99% browser ubiquity, and NOT by a different test CA. This unique service helps you fully test your system prior to your live roll out.

Trial SSL Certificates are ideal for anyone requiring proof of ease of installation, confirmation of high quality technical support and also confirmation of compatibility with the majority of the browsers that exist today. Trial SSL Certificates are also ideal for practicing with Certificates and learning about SSL implementation before committing to installing a Certificate on your live system.


Get your free 30 day trial SSL Certificate

Step by step instructions to set up SSL on your
Apache web server

There are four stages to setting up SSL on your Apache web server:

1. Create a Certificate Signing Request (CSR)
2. Apply online
3. Installing your Certificate
4. Displaying your Secure Site Seal

1. Generating a Certificate Signing Request (CSR)

A CSR is a file containing your certificate application information, including your Public Key. Generate your CSR and then copy and paste the CSR file into the web form in the enrollment process:

Generate keys and certificate:

To generate a pair of private key and public Certificate Signing Request (CSR) for a web server, "server", use the following command :

openssl req -new -nodes -keyout myserver.key -out server.csr

This creates two files. The file myserver.key contains a private key; do not disclose this file to anyone. Carefully protect the private key.

In particular, be sure to backup the private key, as there is no means to recover it should it be lost. The private key is used as input in the command to generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR).

You will now be asked to enter details to be entered into your CSR

What you are about to enter is what is called a Distinguished Name or a DN.

For some fields, there will be a default value. If you enter '.', the field will be left blank.

-----
Country Name (2 letter code) [AU]: GB
State or Province Name (full name) [Some-State]: New York
Locality Name (city) []: New York
Organization Name (eg, company) [Internet Widgits Pty Ltd]: MyCompany Inc
Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) []: IT
Common Name (eg, YOUR name) []: mysubdomain.mydomain.com
Email Address []:

Please enter the following 'extra' attributes to be sent with your certificate request

A challenge password []:
An optional company name []:
-----

Use the name of the web server as Common Name (CN). If the domain name is mydomain.com append the domain to the hostname (use the fully qualified domain name).

The fields email address, optional company name and challenge password can be left blank for a web server certificate.

Your CSR will now have been created. Open the server.csr in a text editor and copy and paste the contents into the online enrollment form when requested.


2. Applying for your Positive SSL Certificate Online

Visit www.Positive SSL.com and select your SSL Certificate product type. You will be required to submit the CSR into a web form. When you make your application, make sure you include the CSR in its entirety into the appropriate section of the enrollment form. When you view your CSR it will appear something like:

-----BEGIN NEW CERTIFICATE REQUEST-----
MIIDVjCCAr8CAQAwezEdMBsGA1UEAxMUd3d3Lm15ZG9tYWlubmFtZS5jb20xDDAK
BgNVBAsTA1dlYjEaMBgGA1UEChMRWW91ciBDb21wYW55IE5hbWUxEDAOBgNVBAcT
B015IENpdHkxETAPBgNVBAgTCE15IFN0YXRlMQswCQYDVQQGEwJVUzCBnzANBgkq
hkiG9w0BAQEFAAOBjQAwgYkCgYEAuev9LnSRX/6u5Iz7ckpt0IG4DwnAF/lsksJ0
n5r9w1EK9Np5/OJEt72r5es3nie5rTKo3O4yvSLovkS0vqT+iOlEZvl5B4mXTEPw
fDLjEcwcNb8SCJ4ArUAhHKJWHDKJHDKDA6587568gfhjfjFHGFHFhsgGHJGJjhhj
HFD^TGFrYTrYTrfGHI&DHJKDHkjwjkkgAgcwCgYIKoZIhvcNHKJHFrytDETR$456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-----END NEW CERTIFICATE REQUEST-----

Be sure to copy the CSR text in its entirety into the application form, including the:

-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE REQUEST----- and -----END CERTIFICATE REQUEST-----


3. Installing your Positive SSL Certificate

Step one: Copy your certificate to file

You will receive an email from Comodo Security Services with the certificate in the email (yourdomainname.crt). When viewed in a text editor, your certificate will look something like:

-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
MIIDVjCCAr8CAQAwezEdMBsGA1UEAxMUd3d3Lm15ZG9tYWlubmFtZS5jb20xDDAK
BgNVBAsTA1dlYjEaMBgGA1UEChMRWW91ciBDb21wYW55IE5hbWUxEDAOBgNVBAcT
B015IENpdHkxETAPBgNVBAgTCE15IFN0YXRlMQswCQYDVQQGEwJVUzCBnzANBgkq
hkiG9w0BAQEFAAOBjQAwgYkCgYEAuev9LnSRX/6u5Iz7ckpt0IG4DwnAF/lsksJ0
n5r9w1EK9Np5/OJEt72r5es3nie5rTKo3O4yvSLovkS0vqT+iOlEZvl5B4mXTEPw
fDLjEcwcNb8SCJ4ArUAhHKJWHDKJHDKDA6587568gfhjfjFHGFHFhsgGHJGJjhhj
HFD^TGFrYTrYTrfGHI&DHJKDHkjwjkkgAgcwCgYIKoZIhvcNHKJHFrytDETR$456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-----END CERTIFICATE-----

Copy your Certificate into the directory that you will be using to hold your certificates. In this example we will use /etc/ssl/crt/. Both the public and private key files will already be in this directory. The private key used in the example will be labeled private.key and the public key will be yourdomainname.crt.

We recommend that you make the directory that contains the private key file only readable by root.

Step two: Install the Intermediate Certificates

You will need to install the chain certificates (intermediates) in order for browsers to trust your certificate. As well as your SSL certificate (yourdomainname.crt) two other certificates, named GTECyberTrustRootCA.crt and ComodoClass3SecurityServicesCA.crt, are also attached to the email from Comodo Security Services.

Apache users will not require these certificates. Instead, you can install the intermediate certificates using the following 'bundle' method. In the Virtual Host settings for your site, in the httpd.conf file, you will need to complete the following:

1. Copy the below ca-bundle file to the same directory as httpd.conf (this contains all of the CA certificates in the chain).

-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
MIIB+jCCAWMCAgGjMA0GCSqGSIb3DQEBBAUAMEUxCzAJBgNVBAYTAlVTMRgwFgYD
VQQKEw9HVEUgQ29ycG9yYXRpb24xHDAaBgNVBAMTE0dURSBDeWJlclRydXN0IFJv
b3QwHhcNOTYwMjIzMjMwMTAwWhcNMDYwMjIzMjM1OTAwWjBFMQswCQYDVQQGEwJV
UzEYMBYGA1UEChMPR1RFIENvcnBvcmF0aW9uMRwwGgYDVQQDExNHVEUgQ3liZXJU
cnVzdCBSb290MIGfMA0GCSqGSIb3DQEBAQUAA4GNADCBiQKBgQC45k+625h8cXyv
RLfTD0bZZOWTwUKOx7pJjTUteueLveUFMVnGsS8KDPufpz+iCWaEVh43KRuH6X4M
ypqfpX/1FZSj1aJGgthoTNE3FQZor734sLPwKfWVWgkWYXcKIiXUT0Wqx73llt/5
1KiOQswkwB6RJ0q1bQaAYznEol44AwIDAQABMA0GCSqGSIb3DQEBBAUAA4GBABKz
dcZfHeFhVYAA1IFLezEPI2PnPfMD+fQ2qLvZ46WXTeorKeDWanOB5sCJo9Px4KWl
IjeaY8JIILTbcuPI9tl8vrGvU9oUtCG41tWW4/5ODFlitppK+ULdjG+BqXH/9Apy
bW1EDp3zdHSo1TRJ6V6e6bR64eVaH4QwnNOfpSXY
-----END CERTIFICATE-----
-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----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-----END CERTIFICATE-----


2. Add the following line to SSL section of the httpd.conf (assuming /etc/httpd/conf is the directory to where you have copied the ca.txt file). If the line already exists amend it to read the following:

SSLCACertificateFile /etc/httpd/conf/ca-bundle/ca.txt

If you are using a different location and certificate file names, you will need to change the path and filename to reflect your server.

The SSL section of the updated httpd config file should now read similar to this example (depending on your naming and directories used):

SSLCertificateFile /etc/ssl/crt/yourdomainname.crt

SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/ssl/crt/private.key

SSLCACertificateFile /etc/httpd/conf/ca-bundle/ca_new.txt

Save your httpd.conf file and restart Apache.


4. Displaying your Secure Site Seal

As a valued Positive SSL customer we encourage you to display the Positive SSL secure site seal to help promote your secure site to customers. The secure site seal is free to all Positive SSL customers.