It has been decades since the internet was created. And during the early ages of the internet, it wasn’t uncommon to see people spying on one another. In other words, internet privacy was a joke back then. But thanks to the introduction of items we call TLS certificates, people can now enjoy some privacy on the internet. However, getting a TLS certificate isn’t a thing that is always free. To get a TLS certificate, you’re probably going to have to pay some amount of money. But thanks to Let’s Encrypt and a bunch of other prominent organizations, this doesn’t have to be anymore.
With the help of Let’s Encrypt and some organizations, it’s now possible for anyone to obtain a valid TLS certificate for free. But unfortunately, getting a TLS certificate from Let’s Encrypt is very tedious for people who have little or no technical knowledge. In other words, despite the fact that it’s now possible to get a valid TLS certificate for free, there are many people who can’t get one, due to a lack of the technical knowledge needed to create one. And after seeing this a countless number of times, we felt it would be a good idea to figure out a way to help more people lay their hands on valid TLS certificates. And it is for this reason we created this content. In this context, we’d be showing you, step-by-step, how to create a free TLS certificate.
How To Create A Free TLS Certificate
Here we take a look at the step by step procedure to create a free TLS certificate.
Get a domain, DNS, and hosting
Before even thinking of getting a TLS certificate, you must have a domain you want to use it for. And if you don’t have one yet, you can always register a domain with any of the domain name registrars available in the world. Domain name registration has become so cheap that it may cost you less than $1. In short, you’d need a domain.
However, the domain is not the only requirement. You’d also need things like a domain name server [DNS] and hosting.
Head over to ZeroSSL.com
ZeroSSL is an online tool that helps create TLS certificates. While using Let’s Encrypt, directly, posses challenge for some people, ZeroSSL does not. In fact, ZeroSSL is positioned as a more user-friendly alternative to the less user-friendly Let’s Encrypt tool.
Create a certificate signing request
Before a TLS certificate can be created, one of the things needed to be done is to create a certificate signing request [CSR]. A CSR is a piece of information that contains things needed to create the TLS certificate. And to create a CSR, you simply have to find the section of the page containing the link to the ZeroSSL’s CSR generator.
Once you open the CSR generator, you’d be asked to provide some information, which you should. Try as much as possible not to make mistakes here, as mistakes can render a CSR invalid.
However, we have two info you shouldn’t provide: a domain key and a CSR. You shouldn’t provide this information since both of them are what you need. And rather than you providing them, the tool would be the one to generate them for you.
Save your private key and CSR
Once your private key and CSR have been generated, the next thing to do is to find a safe place to save them. And when saving them, use a text editor, not a word document editor. And if you don’t know the differences between the two, you can check out this article.
A very common text editor available on the Windows OS is the Notepad. So just save your private key and your CSR in files. Also, make sure to keep them safe.
You should furthermore note that this private key we’re talking about, is what you’re going to provide to a server asking for a TLS private key, while the certificate we are talking about, is what you’d be providing as the TLS certificate. Furthermore, you can save the private key as key.pem and the CSR as csr.pem.
Create your TLS
Once you have created your CSR, the next thing to do is to create a certificate. And to do this, you simply have to head over to the home interface of ZeroSSL. When on the interface, find a section called “Free SSL Certificate Wizard”, and use the tool. We wouldn’t start discussing how to use the Certificate Wizard since using it is very simple.
And once your certificate has been created, you should use a text editor to save it in a file called crt.pem.