Can an individual acquire an SSL/TLS certificate?

An individual not associated with an organization nor a sole trader can have an SSL certificate issued to their domain/s. For instance, an individual’s blog will most often not be connected to an organization, thus requiring a non-organizational SSL certificate. It is important to understand which type of SSL certificates qualify as such.

SSL certificate validation types

There are three types of SSL certificate by validation:
Domain Validated (DV)
Organization Validated (OV)
Extended Validation (EV)

OV and EV SSL certificates explicitly require the vetting of an organization’s or sole trader’s details, such as government registered status. This renders them unsuitable for individuals seeking to secure their non-organizational website. DV certificates are perfect for such websites and can be acquired quickly and simply.

How to get a DV SSL certificate

DV SSL certificates only require that an individual complete Domain Control Validation (DCV) before they are issued. As the name implies, DCV proves control over the domain by completing a validation method utilizing either the server the domain is hosted on, its web hosting panel, or an email address associated with the domain. This means that to be issued a DV SSL certificate, you only need own a domain – nothing else is required!

The three types of DCV are as follows:

Approver email: The most popular method of DCV, the approver email is sent to an email address associated with the domain to be secured. It contains a unique code which is to be copied-and-pasted into a URL provided. The Certificate Authority (CA) will then validate and issue the certificate.

HTTP file-based validation: A text file with a unique code is provided, which must then be added to a specified public directory on the website. The CA will then ping the record and, if correct, validate and issue the certificate.

DNS CNAME record: The SSL certificate applicant needs to add a CNAME record to their DNS servers, which is provided by the CA. Once added, the CA will then ping the record and, if correct, validate and issue the certificate.

Once one of the three validation methods are completed, your SSL certificate will be issued.

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