SSL basics

Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encrypts all sensitive data travelling between a client
and a server. A website that uses SSL displays a padlock symbol in the browser,
which you can click to see more information.

SSL has four layers of encryption:

  • Certificate Signing Request (CSR): Contains information about
    your domain, your business, and what SSL covers for you.
  • Key: Generated along with the CSR.
  • Cert: A certificate.
  • Certificate Authority (CA): A trusted organization that verifies websites.

SSL vendors include the following examples:

Let's Encrypt®Free, lasts 6 months.
RackspaceExtra secure, lasts 1-2 years, easy to use
Purchase directly with an SSL vendorExtra secure, lasts 1-2 years.

Decide whether you want a free SSL, or whether you want to purchase one from an SSL vendor.

If you just need the encryption, you can use a software called Let's Encrypt
to generate an SSL certificate for free. Let's Encrypt is a non-profit CA that provides
90-day certificates during that you can renew at any time.

If you need more security to comply with the Payment Card Industry (PCI), you need to
purchase an SSL certificate from a vendor like Thawte® or Verisign®. These SSL
companies, apart from providing you an SSL certificate, verify that your business is
legitimate and that you own it.

The padlock in the browser shows people accessing your website that a CA has verified your
business, which is an extra security measure. This service varies in costs, depending on the
level of security needed, and typically lasts for a year or two.

If you need an SSL certificate quickly, purchase a cost-effective SSL certificate because
they make fewer security checks. Those security checks involve the SSL vendor contacting
you by phone or email. Check your email regularly and respond as soon as you can to speed
the process.

Purchase through Rackspace

If you have a dedicated account with at least one active Linux® or Windows® dedicated
server, you can purchase your SSL certificate through Rackspace.

We handle the following processes for you:

  • Generate the initial CSR.
  • Communicate with the SSL vendor.
  • Keep the encryption files.
  • Install the SSL certificate.
  • Remind you through a ticket when you should renew the SSL certificate.

To purchase a certificate:

  • Go to
  • Select Network at the top of the page.
  • Select SSL Certificates > Actions > Purchase Certificate.

You get an email from the SSL vendor, and you need to reply to it to continue
the process. We receive the SSL certificate, and you decide whether you install
the certificate or have Rackspace do it.

Purchase from an SSL vendor

If you purchase an SSL certificate from an SSL vendor, generate a CSR. A CSR is
a file with encrypted text that includes information about your business, your
domain, and a public key for the SSL vendor.

Note: You don't need a CSR if you renew the SSL certificate and the previous
information is still valid.

Generate a CSR

You can generate a CSR in the following ways:

  • If you have a Cloud account, use our CSR Generator.

  • If you want to generate the CSR, use this guide.

  • If you want Rackspace to generate an SSL certificate for you, log a ticket with
    the following details:

    • Common Name (such as
    • Do you want to include www or not? Y or N.
    • Alternative names
    • Organization
    • Locality (city)
    • State (full name)
    • Country name (two-letter code)

The CSR generates a key. Ensure that you save the key because you can't
retrieve it later. SSL doesn't work without it. Use the CSR to purchase your
SSL certificate.

For more information, see Purchase or renew an SSL certification.

Verify the SSL components

The SSL vendor provides the SSL certificate, key, and CA after completing the
security checks. You need the following components for a complete installation:

  • Key: Generated with the original CSR. You can retrieve it from a previous
    installation if you are only renewing your SSL.

  • Certificate: Provided by the SSL vendor.

  • CA: Rackspace can retrieve this for you if you have the key and certificate.

You can find your private key in the following ways:

  • You can retrieve your key from your previous SSL certificate if it is a
    renewal and the company details haven't changed.

  • If you created the CSR in your server, the key should be in the server.

  • If you created the CSR with an online tool, the key should be on the server.

  • If Rackspace created the CSR, find the key in the ticket.

Without the key, you need to start another process to obtain an SSL certificate.

Verify the SSL certificate installation

You can visit your website and click on the padlock in your browser. You should
see an option to get more information.

You can verify the installation the folloiwng cURL command:

$ curl -vI 2>&1 | egrep 'start|expire|common|issuer|OK'
 *       start date: Aug 21 00:00:00 2019 GMT
 *       expire date: Sep 19 12:00:00 2020 GMT
 *       common name:
 *       issuer: CN=RapidSSL RSA CA 2018,,O=DigiCert Inc,C=US
 < HTTP/1.1 200 OK

Note: If you need the SSL certificate installed on your hardware firewall, raise a support ticket.

Further references: