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I'm the founder of a little non-profit French organization.

Currently, we're providing free web and shell hosting.

Is there a way to become a Trusted Certificate Authority, in order to give free SSL certificates to my customers, and also to avoid being an intermediate (and pay a lot for that), and/or avoid paying a lot for each certificate?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Mar 1 '11 at 21:45

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

It is not hard to become a Certificate Authority. The tricky part is Trusted. – rene Mar 1 '11 at 21:37
Exactely =) and the question is how to become trusted ^^ - Any idea? – Max13 Mar 1 '11 at 21:41
up vote 7 down vote accepted

I suspect you will find that it is too expensive to do so in terms of auditing requirements. Also, there is no single definition of what it means to be trusted. Each application is free to define their own trust, and to use their own root certificates. Practically speaking, you may only care about getting your CA certificate in the Windows root certificate program, in the Mozilla program, in the Java cacerts file, Opera, and maybe a few smaller ones. I think Chrome uses either Windows root certs or the Mozilla root certs.

Mozilla just issued a new policy for CAs.

Here a few link to articles about Microsoft's program:
Microsoft Root Certificate Program
Windows root certificate program members
Microsoft Root Certificate Program Members

Here is an article on getting into Opera's root certificates.

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Here is Apple's policy too: apple.com/certificateauthority/ca_program.html – Bruno Mar 21 '12 at 19:04

According to http://www.mozilla.org/projects/security/certs/policy/InclusionPolicy.html (access date: June 2013) it is possible for anyone to become a CA FOR FREE.

Once You get Your certificate bundled with the browser, You are technically as trusted as it gets, in the same league with VeriSign and major banks.

The hard part is, probably, fulfilling all the requirements.

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You're trusted till, like that Dutch CA, you get hacked. Then you're in for damages and lawsuits. Resource allocation to maintain that trust will be extremely necessary and that will be one of the requirements. – Fiasco Labs Jun 19 '13 at 20:16

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