SSL (Secure Socket Layer) - General Questions
Q What do I need to enrol for an SSL Certificate for my webserver?
You need the following:
- A web server that is capable of running SSL
- Access to the SSL configuration functions of your webserver (you may need to speak to your webhost if you cannot readily identify where these functions are)
- A Certificate Signing Request (CSR) - see below
Q What is a CSR and how do I generate one?
A CSR is a Certificate Signing Request. It is a block of encoded data that is generated by your webserver and contains the necessary details about your domain and organization.
Q The enrolment form says my CSR is invalid
There are a number of common issues that would cause the CSR to be invalid. When you created the CSR you will have been asked for several pieces of information, now:
Check the common name field. You may have specified an IP address (e.g. 126.96.36.199) or a server name (e.g. mywebserver) instead of a Fully Qualified Domain Name such as www.mydomain.com or domain name such as mydomain.com. You must specify a Fully Qualified Domain Name or domain name to enrol for a RapidSSL, FreeSSL or Professional Level certificate.
Make sure you do not have any illegal characters in any of the fields in the CSR. Illegal characters are [! @ # $ % ^ ( ) ~ ? / \ , . " ']
Check the country field. If you are located in the United Kingdom, do not specify your country code when generating the CSR as "UK" - it must be "GB".
Make sure you have included the header and footer of the CSR into the enrolment form. The header and footer will look like:
----BEGIN CERTIFICATE REQUEST -----
-----END CERTIFICATE REQUEST------
Make sure that there are 5 dashes on each side of Begin and End certificate request. There should also be no trailing spaces in the CSR.
Q What is the enrolment process?
The enrolment process is online and immediate and includes telephony based validation. Depending on the certificate purchased you may receive a telephone/mobile phone call to complete the enrolment process in one step - which takes about 5 minutes.
If you do not have access to a telephone when the enrolment is taking place you can complete the telephony validation at a later time. We will send you an email containing a link for you to be able to complete the process at any time. It is very important that you do not lose this email, doing so will delay the issuance of your certificate. If you do lose your email please contact the support team. Please note that until the telephony validation is complete we will not be able to issue your certificate
Q I am not based in the US or Europe, will the Phone Authentication still work?
Yes, just remember to select the country code that you are in. If you cannot find your country code in the list provided during enrolment, you can enter you country code into the "Other Country Code".
Q My country code is listed, do I need to specify anything in "Other Country Code"?
No. If your country code is available in the list provided during enrolment you do not need to specify any other country codes, simply specify your telephone number and extension if necessary.
Q The telephone validation process tells me that my country's local exchange does not recognize the area code.
Your telephone area code must be in brackets.
Q I have not received any emails from Geotrust since enrolling
Please ensure that you have access to the email addresses used in the application process. Also, as we send unique URLs in the issued emails, be sure that your mailserver has not separated or quarantined the emails. They will be from email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q I have not received the "Approval" email from Geotrust
The Approval email will be sent to the authorized domain name owner or controller. When you apply for your certificate we will attempt to obtain the authorized domain contacts for your domain name. You may then choose to have the approval email sent to either the authorized domain contact, or alternatively you will be able to choose a generic domain contact such as
Q My browser informs me of errors when I browse to the secure part of my site
This would tend to indicate there are issues with the SSL installation or expiry date, contact your support team
Q My browser states a warning next to "The security certificate is not from a trusted certifying authority " whenever I connect to my website using SSL
This usually indicates that the certificate has not been installed correctly or the server requires a physical reboot. First try reinstalling the certificate and physically restarting your server. This error would tend to mean the intermediate certificate is not installed correctly. If the problem persists, contact support for detailed troubleshooting instructions.
Q My browser states a warning "The security certificate date is not valid" whenever I connect to my website using SSL
This indicates that the certificates has expired, or is not yet valid. It may also indicate that the time/date is incorrect on the computer being used to visit the website over https.
Q My browser states "The name on the security certificate is invalid or does not match the name of the site" whenever I connect to my website using SSL
An SSL Certificate is issued to a Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN). The actual FQDN is digitally signed and sealed within the issued certificate. The SSL Certificate can only be used on this FQDN and nothing else - otherwise a name mismatch occurs. For example: An SSL Certificate issued to www.yourdomain.com can only be used on www.yourdomain.com. It cannot be used on secure.yourdomain.com or even just yourdomain.com (with no subdomain). If you require a single SSL certificate that can be used on multiple subdomains then you may want to consider a RapidSSL Wildcard certificate..
Q When connecting to my site over https, my browser alerts me that I have both secure and non-secure content
This error occurs when you are trying to reference files from your (or somebody else's ) webserver over http when you have a https session. Either change the file references, e.g. graphics, stylesheets, etc, in your HTML webpage code to https or use relative links.
Q I cannot view my webpages over SSL
This error will occur when your webserver, firewall or network has not been correctly configured to serve pages over SSL. Check the following:
- Your certificate has been installed for the correct website
- Your private key is not corrupt or has not been accidentally deleted
- You have assigned port 443 as the SSL port on your webserver
- You have opened port 443 for SSL traffic on your firewall or router
- You have correctly configured your DNS settings on your network
Q I may need to change my IP address for my webserver, does this matter?
An SSL Certificate is issued to a domain name and not an IP address. So long as your webserver is hosting the domain name for which your SSL certificate has been issued, the IP address doesn't matter.
Q My webserver hosts many sites on a single IP address, can I install a certificate for each domain name?
The SSL protocol encrypts the domain name when an SSL session is being established. If you are hosting many websites each with their own SSL certificate on the same webserver, each website must have a unique IP to ensure that the webserver knows which domain the SSL session should be for. If you only host a single domain then you can use name based hosting. However if you host multiple domains on the same server then you must use IP based hosting. Please note that host headers on Microsoft IIS will cause SSL errors if you install multiple SSL certificates for multiple domains on a single IP address.