Knowledge Base

What is a CSR?

When you secure your site with SSL you are creating a trusted connection with your site's users. In order to create this connection, both sides need to verify that they are exactly who they say they are.

This is to prevent certain types of cyber attacks. For example, a so-called "Man-in-the-middle" attack can create a copy of a trusted site that looks exactly like it. When people enter their login details into the site, it simply returns an error. In the meantime, the attackers have already logged into the accounts (using the details submitted through the fake malicious site) and stolen all their information!

This obviously isn't good, so the way a site equipped with an SSL Certificate can stop this from happening is by verifying its identity. Even if an attacker can visually recreate portions of a site, they can never use the same domain name and identifying information as the original site. The more information, the better. That is why certificates with more validation are more trusted.

So, in order to create an SSL Certificate, you need to submit some pieces of information. Here is some of the information that a CSR normally needs, although in the case of EV SSL Certificates, this may be considerably greater:

Distinguished Name (DN) The domain name that you want to use to make secure connections.
Business Name (or Organization) This is the legal name of the organization or company that is applying for the SSL Certificate. It should be written in full and include LLC, Ltd, Inc or Corp, if applicable.
Organizational Unit The name of the department that will be handling the certificate. This is usually IT, but it can be any department.
Town The town or city where your operations are based.
County, Region, State or Province This name should not be abbreviated, but should instead be written in full.
Country The ISO country code for your location - e.g. AU, NZ, UK, etc...
Email contact A way of reaching a responsible person via email.

All of this information is encrypted in the CSR and used when you create your SSL Certificate to ensure that nobody is ever able to compromise the security of your connections with your users.

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