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I'm just learning about public key cryptography and I want to make a public key certificate for my web server so that I can use https. My server is hosted on some random free webhost that is practically impossible for anything...and so my question is this:

Is there any harm in making my private key, public key, and public key certificate on my computer using openssl and then transferring it to the server?

Thanks in advance. Also if there's anything else I'm missing, any help would be appreciated.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Mar 29 '12 at 8:32

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

You can generate private/public key pair on your computer. Just remember that these keys will cause webbrowser to pop a security warning.

You can generate a free certificate valid in most browsers here - StartSLL. They also have a list of browsers which recognize their CA - https://forum.startcom.org/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1802.

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it won't be recognized by any browsers, but the only thing I can think of that would prevent you is if your web host charged extra for HTTPS. If that was the case, they will probably actively prevent you from using your own certificate.

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Even a full-service top-of-the-line certificate depends on the owner generating it himself. The CA only signs keys their customers have generated. – Henning Makholm Aug 22 '11 at 22:11
Slight misconception to clear up: a website/server owner generates their own key and a CA issues the certificate, which is what actually "signs" the key. – Andrew Lott Apr 27 '15 at 18:06

Even if you generate your own key/certificate pair, it doesn't mean your webhost will let you use it to serve HTTPS pages. They'd still have to enable it in their server config, and I highly doubt a free service will do that for you.

This question has a few answers elaborating on why.

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