Generating Certificate Signing Request (CSR) in cpanel

Applicable To: Hosting/Server with cpanel
Updated: Wed 15 Jun, 2016 GMT

This tutorial talks about the process of generating a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) using cpanel.

Preview

A Certificate Signing Request (CSR) is required to get a signed SSL/TLS certificate from a Certificate Authority (CA). To create a CSR from the cpanel provided by your hosting provider follow the below steps:

1. Generate a private key:

To create a CSR you first need a private key. As the name implies, it is private, that is, the key should always be kept secret. Don't share the private key with anyone after creating.

To generate a private key, login to your cpanel, then follow the steps mentioned below:

  1. Goto Security section and open SSL/TLS manager.
    cpanel TLS/SSL manager image
  2. Now goto Private Keys (KEY) section.
    cpanel private key section image
  3. Choose key size, give it a name (description) and click on Generate.
    create private key in cpanel image
    A new private key should be created. You can view it by going to the Private Keys (KEY) section again. You will find an entry like this one:
    private key in cpanel image
    If you click on view it should show something like this:
    private key in cpanel
    In general when you need to copy-paste the private key somewhere, remember that you will be using the encoded key, that is, the key which starts with ----BEGIN.

Again, keep this key secret, don't share it with anyone

2. Generate a CSR using the private key:

We have already created a private key which we will provide when it is asked for. Follow the steps below:

  1. Goto Certificate Signing Request (CSR) in SSL/TLS manager.
    cpanel TLS/SSL manager image
  2. You will find a form here, under the heading Generate a new Certificate Signing Request (CSR). The first info it will need is the private key. Click on the drop-down selection box under the heading Key and select the key you just created. The next is to fill the Domains section in the form with the domain names you want certificate for. Put all of your domains and/or sub-domains which you want to be included. Put both www and non-www versions. Fill the other fields with appropriate information. An example filled form would look like:
    filling certificate signing request form in cpanel image
    Finally click on the Generate button.

If you have followed the steps properly, a CSR should be created by now. You can view the CSR by going to the Certificate Signing Request (CSR) section again. You may find something like this:

certficate signing request list in cpanel

Click on view to view it.

certficate signing request image

When you need to copy paste the CSR somewhere, remember that you will be using the encoded CSR, that is, the text that starts with ----BEGIN. Also you can download the CSR if you want or copy-paste-save it in a plain text file (Use a pure text editor like notepad++ or gedit etc..).