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Re: Gmail and SSL
From: Peter Kristolaitis <alter3d () alter3d ca>
Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2012 18:03:05 -0500

I've heard this argument fairly often when I mention free/cheap certificates to colleagues, etc, but no one has ever actually pointed to a reasonable case where this is true ("the 20 year old VMS system that I've never patched running OpenSSL 0.0.0.0.1-pre-alpha doesn't work" doesn't count...).

I tested my StartSSL certs against quite a number of clients and haven't found anything reasonably modern (say in the last 10 years) that didn't work either out of the box or by updating the root CA list from the OS vendor via the OS' standard patching mechanism

In my experience, free/cheap certs "not working" on some clients is, in 99.9% of cases, a misconfiguration error where the server isn't presenting the cert chain properly (usually omitting the intermediate cert), which works on some platforms (often because they include the intermediate certs to work around these kinds of problems) but not on others. Fixing the cert chain that's presented to the client has ALWAYS resolved these types of issues in my experience.

If you have specific example that you know breaks with a specific (free/cheap cert, client) pair, I'd love to know so I can test it (if possible, i.e. I can actually get my hands on the client device/software).

- Pete


On 12/14/2012 4:45 PM, Matthew Black wrote:
A major problem with free or low-cost certificates is that their intermediate CA certificate does not always point back 
to a root certificate in client machines and/or software.

matthew black
california state university, long beach



-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Kristolaitis [mailto:alter3d () alter3d ca]
Sent: Friday, December 14, 2012 7:53 AM
To: nanog () nanog org
Subject: Re: Gmail and SSL

On 12/14/2012 10:47 AM, Randy wrote:
I don't have hundreds of dollars to get my ssl certificates signed
You can get single-host certificates issued for free from StartSSL, or
for very cheaply (under $10) from low-cost providers like CheapSSL.com.
I've never had a problem having my StartSSL certs verified by anyone.

- Pete





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