Sun Java System Web Server 7.0 Update 1 Administrator's Guide

Requesting a Certificate

A certificate consists of digital data that specifies the name of an individual, company, or other entity, and certifies that the public key, included in the certificate, belongs to that individual. SSL enabled servers must have a certificate and clients may optionally have a certificate.

A certificate is issued and digitally signed by a Certificate Authority, or CA. The CA can be a company that sells certificates over the Internet, or it can be a department responsible for issuing certificates for your company’s intranet or extranet. You decide which CAs you trust enough to serve as verifiers of other people’s identities.

You can request a certificate and submit it to a Certificate Authority (CA). If your company has its own internal CA, request your certificate from them. If you plan to purchase your certificate from a commercial CA, choose a CA and ask for the specific format of the information they require. You can also create a self-signed certificate for the server. Self-signed certificates are not suitable for Internet-facing deployments but can be very useful for development and testing because they allow you to set up test servers without CA involvement.

As mentioned above, a certificate includes the public key of the entity (the web server in this case). A public key is generated based on a particular algorithm (the algorithm type is also encoded in the certificate). The next section provides background on the algorithm types supported by the Web Server for its keys.

ProcedureTo Request a Certificate

  1. Click Server Certificates tab > Request button.

  2. Select a Configuration

    Select a configuration from the configuration list for which you need to install the certificate.

  3. Select Tokens

    Select the token (Cryptographic Device), which contains the keys. If your key is stored in the local key database maintained by the server. If your key is stored in a Smart Card or other external device or engine, choose the name of the external token from the drop down list box. Enter the password for the selected token.

  4. Enter Details

    Before you begin the request process, make sure you know what information your CA requires. Whether you are requesting a server certificate from a commercial CA or an internal CA, you need to provide the following information:

    • Server Name must be the fully qualified hostname used in DNS lookups (for example, This is the hostname in the URL that a browser uses to connect to your site. If these two names do not match, a client is notified that the certificate name doesn’t match the site name, creating doubt about the authenticity of your certificate.

      You can also enter wildcard and regular expressions in this field if you are requesting a certificate from an internal CA. Most vendors will not approve a certificate request with a wildcard or regular expression entered for common name.

    • Organization is the official, legal name of your company, educational institution, partnership, and so on. Most CAs require that you verify this information with legal documents (such as a copy of a business license).

    • Organizational Unit is an optional field that describes an organization within your company. This can also be used to note a less formal company name (without the Inc., Corp., and so on).

    • Locality is an optional field that usually describes the city, principality, for the organization.

    • State or Province is optional.

    • Country is a two-character abbreviation of your country name (in ISO format). The country code for the United States is US.

    All this information is combined as a series of attribute-value pairs called the distinguished name (DN), which forms the subject of the certificate.

  5. Choose Certificate Options

    You are required to provide the key information. For key type, you can choose RSA or ECC. If the key type is RSA, the key size can be 1024, 2048 or 4098. If your key type is ECC you will also need to select a curve. Keep in mind that generating a new key pair takes time. The longer the key length the longer the time the wizard takes to generate it.

    Caution – Caution –

    Be sure to select a key type that the CA (to which you will later submit the request for signing) can support.

  6. Select Certificate Type

    Select the Certificate Signing Authority (CSA) for the certificate (Self signed or CA signed). If you are selecting a self-signed certificate, you can also associate an HTTP Listener for the certificate. You can also perform this action later.

  7. Generate Request

    The generated certificate request will be available in ASCII format in case of CA signed certificate. In case of self signed certificate, it will be installed directly. If the type is self signed, provide values for nickname, validity (Months) and the HTTP Listener name for handling secure requests.

  8. View Results

    This page provides you with the summary of selected options. Click on Finish to complete the request generation.

    Note –

    Using CLI

    To request a certificate through CLI, execute the following command.

    wadm> create-cert-request --user=admin --password-file=admin.pwd 
    --host=serverhost --port=8989 --config=config1 
    --org=sun --country=ABC --state=DEF --locality=XYZ --token=internal

    See CLI Reference, create-cert-request(1).

    Note –

    For creating self signed certificate through CLI, see Creating a Self-Signed Certificate.