Clyde... Obtaining a VeriSign Certificate


This page is aimed at Concordia University Webmasters who need to buy a web site certificate for their secure (SSL) web server. If you already have a certificate and need to renew it, use the page on renewing your VeriSign site certificate.

In 2000, VeriSign subcontracted its Canadian certificate operations to CIBC. In late 2001, a new company, Soltrus, was created to handle the Canadian certificate business, in partnership with VeriSign, CIBC, and Telus.

The multi-step online application procedures are rather daunting, but fortunately, the hard parts have already been done, so if you follow the steps described below, you should have no problems.

Before you start

A few browser issues: first, you must have JavaScript turned on in your browser, at least for the domains "digitalid.soltrus.com" and "servicecenter.verisign.com". Second, if you use non-standard browser colours, be aware that Soltrus sets the background to white without also setting the text colour, which can cause problems if your settings are for "pale-on-dark".

Step 1: Create your CSR

You must create your CSR (certificate signing request) as per the instructions in the Soltrus step 3. Make a note of the "common name" (server name, something like YOURHOSTNAME.concordia.ca). Instructions on creating a CSR are available from Soltrus at:

Step 2: Decide on a challenge passphrase

Come up with a challenge passphrase; this is a kind of password which you will need to have in the future when you need to deal with Soltrus about your certificate, so keep this passphrase in a secure place. Keep the passphrase shorter than 30 characters; experience shows that a longer one may cause problems with the Soltrus system later.

Step 3: Fill out the Soltrus forms, part 1

Go to the Soltrus enrollment page, which starts at:

and start paging through their "standard" application. In their step 5, use the CSR you just generated.

Step 4: Fill out the Soltrus forms, part 2

Fill out the form in their step 6. Here's the information you'll need:

Within a couple of hours, you (the technical contact) should receive an e-mail message from Soltrus. This message will contain your PIN, which you can use to verify the status of your order.

Step 5: Notify our organizational contact of your application

Soltrus will telephone Steve Bush (Concordia's organizational contact) to confirm the information on your certificate application, so you must make him aware of your application. Send e-mail to steveb@alcor.concordia.ca, containing:

Step 6: Get a purchase order

Send a purchase requisition to the Concordia Purchasing Department, as follows:

     Vendor:         Soltrus
                     P.O.Box 69534
                     Willowdale (ON)
                     M2S 4K3 
                     Fax: 1-877-862-2270


     Order:        1 Secure Server ID
                     NO DELIVERABLE.  * Please fax immediately. *
		     Make very sure this info appears on P.O.:
                     common name: YOURHOSTNAME.concordia.ca

Note the presence of your "common name" (YOURHOST.concordia.ca) on the requisition.

Step 7: Fax the P.O. number

Have Purchasing fax your Purchase Order to Soltrus at 1-877-862-2270, reminding them to make sure your "common name" (YOURHOST.concordia.ca) appears prominently on the purchase order.

Step 8: After you have completed your order

Once Soltrus has received your order, usually a few hours after Purchasing has faxed your P.O. number, you will receive by e-mail your new certificate, along with pointers to instructions on how to install it. Install it.

Also, I'd appreciate it if you'd let us know that you are running a secure web server and have (or have not!) purchased a VeriSign certificate; I'm keeping a list of secure web servers at Concordia for statistical purposes, and also because if there turn out to be many such sites, we may be able to get better prices on the certificates.


Copyright, © 2005, Concordia University, (IITS).
Author: Anne Bennett
Credits: (none)
Maintained by: webdoc@clyde.concordia.ca
Last update: 2003/03/07 -- Anne Bennett

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