How do I get a verified SSL certificate?

Answered by Edward Huber

Obtaining a verified SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate involves several steps. In this response, I will provide a detailed explanation of the process.

1. Determine the type of SSL certificate you need:
– Domain Validated (DV) certificate: Suitable for basic encryption needs and can be obtained quickly.
– Organization Validated (OV) certificate: Provides higher level of validation and is recommended for business websites.
– Extended Validation (EV) certificate: Offers the highest level of validation and displays the organization’s name in the browser bar.

2. Choose a reputable Certificate Authority (CA):
– There are numerous CAs available, such as Let’s Encrypt, Comodo, GeoTrust, Symantec, etc. Research and select a CA that meets your requirements in terms of pricing, customer support, and reputation.

3. Generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR):
– A CSR is a file containing your server’s public key and additional information about your organization. You can create a CSR using your web server software or a third-party tool. The CSR will be used by the CA to generate your SSL certificate.

4. Provide required information for validation:
– Depending on the type of certificate you choose, you may need to provide certain documents or information to verify your organization’s identity. This can include legal documents, business registration details, domain ownership verification, etc. The CA will guide you through the validation process.

5. Submit CSR and complete the validation process:
– Once you have generated the CSR and provided the necessary information, submit the CSR to the chosen CA. They will verify the information provided and perform the necessary checks to validate your request. This can take anywhere from a few minutes to several days, depending on the CA and the type of certificate.

6. Receive and install the SSL certificate:
– After the CA completes the validation process, they will issue your SSL certificate. You will receive the certificate files, usually in a .pem or .crt format. Follow your web server’s instructions to install the certificate. This typically involves uploading the certificate files and configuring your server to use the SSL certificate for secure connections.

7. Update your website configuration:
– Once the SSL certificate is installed, you need to update your website configuration to use HTTPS instead of HTTP. This involves redirecting all HTTP traffic to the HTTPS version of your site and ensuring that all internal links and resources are also using HTTPS.

8. Test and verify the SSL certificate:
– After installation, it is essential to test and verify that the SSL certificate is working correctly. Use online SSL checker tools or browser developer tools to ensure that your certificate is valid, properly installed, and all connections are secure.

9. Renew your SSL certificate:
– SSL certificates have an expiration date, usually ranging from 1 to 3 years. It is important to keep track of the expiration date and renew the certificate before it expires to ensure uninterrupted secure connections on your website. Most CAs provide notifications and reminders for renewal.

It is worth mentioning that the process may vary slightly depending on the CA and web server software you are using. Always refer to the documentation and support provided by the CA and your web server for specific instructions.

In my personal experience, obtaining an SSL certificate involved selecting a reputable CA based on recommendations and pricing. I generated a CSR using the web server software and provided the necessary information for validation. The validation process took a couple of days, during which the CA contacted me to verify the provided information. Once the SSL certificate was issued, I followed the instructions provided by the web server documentation to install the certificate and update my website configuration to use HTTPS. I tested the SSL certificate using online tools and verified that all connections were secure.