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SSL Certificate Services at Northwestern

Northwestern IT participates in the InCommon Certificate Program, powered by Comodo, which entitles Northwestern to issue unlimited SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates for secure Web servers on the domain.

A secure Web site uses encryption and authentication standards to protect the confidentiality of Web transactions. SSL is a protocol commonly used for Web security.

The InCommon Certificate Service makes the following products available:

Certificate Signing Requests

Each University school or administrative unit interested in using the InCommon SSL Certificate Service must delegate a maximum of two (one primary and one back-up) Departmental Registration Authority Officers (DRAOs) entrusted to authenticate applicants and review and approve Certificate Signing Requests (CSRs) through a secure Web interface.

Members of the University must contact the DRAO for their area to request an SSL Certificate.  Depending on the CSR process for participating schools and administrative units, server owners may be able to self-enroll for certificates.

Upon approval, applicants will receive an e-mail from InCommon which contains a link to the certificate collection form. Once the appropriate certificate ID is entered, the SSL certificate can be downloaded and installed for the domain. View the InCommon SSL Certificate Request Workflow (jpg).

Note: Approved requests are processed by InCommon within two to three business days.

Who is Eligible

Any member of the University community with a valid Northwestern e-mail address can request an SSL certificate through this program. 

DRAOs are chosen by Technology Leaders and have log in access to the InCommon Service Manager.


SSL Certificates are offered for a one, two, or three year period at no additional cost to University schools and administrative units.

Technical Support

Technical support and troubleshooting is provided by Comodo, the InCommon SSL Certificate Service vendor, via e-mail, a Web ticketing system, and telephone.

The Comodo Web site Knowledge Base and step-by-step troubleshooting guide for registered users.

Last Updated: 13 November 2018

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