Installing HTTPS

HTTPS Certificates

Before adding a custom SSL certificate to a VNS3 Controller, Cohesive Networks strongly recommends creating and downloading a VNS3 Snapshot from the Snapshots page. This VNS3 Snapshot backup can be used to re-instantiate the VNS3 Controller in the event the certificate/key pair creates an error (usually due to a mismatch or wrong files specified).

If you are unsure about the SSL Certificate files to upload, contact Cohesive Networks support staff to review.

About SSL Certificates

SSL Certificates for HTTPS interactions provide web users website ownership verification (so users can make sure they are interacting with an organization they intend) and encryption of communication to that website.

In order to be granted an SSL Certificate, a site owner needs to create a private key file (use later in the interactions between the web browser and the actual web server). This private key file is then used to generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) that is sent to a Certificate Authority (CA) like Verisign or Geotrust.

The Certificate Authority then sends back the SSL Certificate which includes information about the owner of the certificate, period of validity, URL that is certified and the ID of the CA, the public key used for encrypting communications and a hash to ensure the certificate is valid and not compromised.

The SSL Certificate along with the Private key used to generate the CSR are the two files required to add the Certificate to a VNS3 instance.

Uploading SSL Certificate

To order an SSL Certificate from a Certificate Authority you need to validate you are the owner of the specific URL you are certifying (typically via email validation or similar depending on the CA) and generate a CSR to send to the CA. The CA then uses the CSR to create the SSL Certificate.

Creating a CSR is a two step process:

  1. Generate Private Key
  2. Generate CSR

To generate a CSR you first must create a Private Key. This document’s example uses openssl. NOTE: VNS3 requires the private key to be an RSA key.

openssl genrsa -out vns3-example-com.key 2048

Once the private key is created, use it to generate the CSR with the following:

openssl req -new -sha256 -key vns3-example-com.key -out vns3-example-com.csr

The CA will send back one or multiple Certificates:

  • Root Certificate - typically not needed for VNS3
  • Intermediate Certificate - included if the CA is not a Root CA
  • End User Certificate - the certificate for the actual URL you plan on secure

Uploading via the UI

Upload the SSL Cert or SSL Certificate Chain in the event your CA provided an intermediate Certificate (see example below) under the SSL Certificate file selection. General begins with “—–BEGIN CERTIFICATE—–".

Then upload the Private RSA key file used to generate the CSR under the SSL Key file section. Generally begins with “—–BEGIN RSA PRIVATE KEY—–". Click Upload and Install.

VNS3 SSL Cert 2 UI

Installing SSL with Lets Encrypt Plugin

Lets Encrypt simplifies the task of managing SSL certificates. You can take advantage of Lets Encrypt by plugging a Lets Encrypt container directly into your network edge to manage your controller’s SSL.