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SSL Secure Server

 

This section covers certificate installation requirements, how to use the server's shared certificate, creating a self-signed certificate, and installing a purchased certificate.  Any site that processes monetary transactions or takes in sensitive information (such as passwords) needs the protection of a SSL certificate.

 

Certificate Installation Requirements 

In order to use the SSL feature your site must have it's own static (dedicated) IP address.  If you don't have a dedicated IP address, you will get an error message when you access the SSL menu:

 

Could not execute your request

Details:  You are not allowed to modify your SSL

 

Contact your web host for information on obtaining a dedicated IP address.  Please note that some web hosts don't offer dedicated IP's, and hosts that do usually charge extra for this feature.

Why do I need an owned IP address?

Triple DES certificates don't work through DirectAdmin.

 

Server's Shared and Self-Signed Certificates

 

You may use the server's built-in certificate or generate a self-signed certificate free of charge.  The requirements are:

 

- a dedicated IP address

- SSL access (ask your web host to enable the feature if they haven't already)

- an understanding of non-trusted certificates (see the sections on shared and self-signed certificates below)

 

Purchased Certificates

 

Purchased certificates require:

 

- a dedicated IP address

- SSL access (ask your web host to enable the feature if they haven't already) 

- an understanding of purchasing/installing trusted certificates (see the section on purchased certificates below)

 

Using the Server's Shared Certificate

 

One of the simplest ways to have a secure site is to use the server's built-in self-generated certificate.  To access the SSL menu, click on the "Advanced Tools" link from the main control panel menu, then click the "Install SSL Certificates" icon.

 

 

Make sure the radio button next the "User the server's certificate" is selected, and click the "Save" button at the bottom of the screen.

 

Understanding non-Trusted Certificates

 

Although non-Trusted certificates provide a high level of encryption, they are not always the best choice because they are self-generated instead of purchased from a trusted authority.  Because of this, visitors to your site may receive a warning popup window when they access a secure page:

 

 

If you can put up with this inconvenience, then a self-generated secure certificate is adequate for your site.  If you are a company selling goods or services, we highly recommend that you purchase a trusted certificate.  A non-trusted certificate may be harmful to a web site's reputation.

 

Uploading Files to your Secure Site

 

All secure files need to be uploaded to the /domains/domain.com/private_html directory.  You may upload using the control panel's built-in file manager or FTP.  For example,

 

/domains/domain.com/private_html/index.html            ---> https://www.yourdomain.com/index.html

/domains/domain.com/private_html/secure/index.html ---> https://www.yourdomain.com/secure/index.html

 

The private_html directory operates the exact same way as the public_html directory.

 

Note:  You will not see a private_html directory if the SSL feature isn't enabled on your account.

 

Creating a Self-Signed Certificate

 

An alternative to the self-generated shared server certificate is a personalized self-signed certificate.  First, access the SSL menu by clicking the "Advanced Tools" link from the main control panel menu, then click the "Install SSL Certificates" icon.

 

 

Step 1:  Click the radio buttons to select "Create your own self signed certificate."

 

Step 2:  Enter the information about yourself and your company.

 

A list of country codes is available at: http://www.site-helper.com/countrycodes.txt

 

The Common Name is the exact web address the certificate is associated with.  In the above example, https://www.garys-host.com/anything would be valid, but not https://subdomain.garys-host.com.

 

Step 3:  Click the "Save" button at the bottom of the screen.  You will be taken back to the SSL menu.

 

Understanding non-Trusted Certificates

 

Although non-Trusted certificates provide a high level of encryption, they are not always the best choice because they are self-generated instead of purchased from a trusted authority.  Because of this, visitors to your site may receive a warning popup window when they access a secure page:

 

 

If you can put up with this inconvenience, then a self-generated secure certificate is adequate for your site.  If you are a company selling goods or services, we highly recommend that you purchase a trusted certificate.  A non-trusted certificate may be harmful to a web site's reputation.

 

Uploading Files to your Secure Site

 

All secure files need to be uploaded to the /domains/domain.com/private_html directory.  You may upload using the control panel's built-in file manager or FTP.  For example,

 

/domains/domain.com/private_html/index.html            ---> https://www.yourdomain.com/index.html

/domains/domain.com/private_html/secure/index.html ---> https://www.yourdomain.com/secure/index.html

 

The private_html directory operates the exact same way as the public_html directory.

 

Note:  You will not see a private_html directory if the SSL feature isn't enabled on your account.

 

Installing a Purchased Certificate

 

A purchased certificate is the best form of security.  Because the certificate is both secure and trusted, visitors will not receive a warning popup window when viewing a secure page.

 

Note:  A dedicated (static) IP address is required for the installation of a purchased certificate.

Why do I need an owned IP address?

 

Step 1:  Generate a CSR

 

First, access the SSL menu by clicking on the "Advanced Tools" link from the main control panel menu, then click the "Install SSL Certificates" icon.

 

 

Make sure to click the radio button next to "Create A Certificate Request."  Then, enter the information about your company.  The "Common Name" refers to the address of your site that will go on the SSL certificate.  Your site will be secure only at this address.  In the above example, https://www.garys-host.com/anything would be secure, but not https://garys-host.com/anything.

 

When you are finished, click the "Save" button at the bottom of the screen.  You will then see a page that looks like this:

 

 

Copy this text (including the "BEGIN/END CERTIFICATE REQUEST" sections) into a plain text editor such as Windows Notepad and save the file to your hard drive.  You will need this CSR when you purchase a certificate.

 

Step 2:  Purchase a Certificate

 

When purchasing a certificate, you will be asked about yourself or your company, your web site, and:

 

- the CSR 

- the software that generated the CSR

- your common name

 

The CSR

 

Simply paste the CSR given to you by the control panel, including the "BEGIN/END CERTIFICATE REQUEST" sections.  There will be a text box in the order form to paste to.  Please ensure the CSR is saved and pasted as plain text.

 

Software that Generated the CSR

 

Choose Apache-ModSSL, or "Other" if you don't see Apache-ModSSL in the list.  Do not worry about making a mistake, as this information is collected for statistics purposes only.

 

Your Common Name

 

The "Common Name" refers to the address of your site that will go on the SSL certificate (see Step 1).  Enter this address without the "http://" unless otherwise specified by the certificate seller.

 

Step 3:  Install the Certificate

 

Access the SSL menu by clicking on the "Advanced Tools" link from the main control panel menu, then click the "Install SSL Certificates" icon.

 

 

Select the radio button next to "Paste a pre-generated certificate and key."  As you can see, the key is already inserted in the text box for you.  Paste the certificate immediately below it and click "Save."

The domain's certificate might be named domain.com.crt

 

Step 4:  Install the CA Root Certificate

 

Return to the main SSL menu.  At the very bottom is a link called "Click Here to paste a CA Root Certificate.  Click the link and paste your CA Root Certificate in the textbox.  Then, click the "Save" button.

 

 

Important:  Remember to check the "Use a CA Cert." box.

 

Although the installation of a CA Root Certificate is not always required, you may find that your SSL certificate will not function properly without completion of this step.

The CA Certificate may sometimes be call the gd_bundle.crt, ca_bundle.crt, ca_cert, etc..

 

Uploading Files to your Secure Site

 

All secure files need to be uploaded to the /domains/domain.com/private_html directory.  You may upload using the control panel's built-in file manager or FTP.  For example,

 

/domains/domain.com/private_html/index.html            ---> https://www.yourdomain.com/index.html

/domains/domain.com/private_html/secure/index.html ---> https://www.yourdomain.com/secure/index.html

 

The private_html directory operates the exact same way as the public_html directory.

 

Note:  You will not see a private_html directory if the SSL feature isn't enabled on your account.

 

Need more help?

 

Please contact your hosting company for more assistance, or visit the DirectAdmin support forum at http://forum.directadmin.com.

 


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