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How do I buy a certificate?

If you're buying a server certificate, the first thing that you need to do is get yourself a CSR (Certificate Signing Request). For some more information about how to get your CSR and what it ought to look like, please come this way. (And if you're wondering why you need one, this page will tell you more).

Once you have your CSR, please go to this page and you'll be able to apply for your certificate. It's a simple process and shouldn't take you too long; if you have problems or simply need some help or advice, please contact us.

If you're buying a Developer Certificate, you don't need to worry about getting a CSR - your browser and the Thawte site will interact to produce the certificate data. Just go straight to the application page and you can get going straight away. (If you're buying a Javasoft developer certificate, you will need a CSR to do so.)

If you're applying for a Personal Certificate, you go straight to the Thawte website to do that - we do not have any involvement with personal certificates.

What is a Corporate Contact? Who can act as a Corporate Contact?

The Corporate Contact is the person who will be called by Thawte as part of the final verification of the certificate details - or, if Thawte are not able to verify a phone number for the organisation concerned, the Corporate Contact will be the person who needs to sign the verification letter.

They won't be asked for any detailed technical information, but they must be aware of the certificate request and the information contained within it - for instance, they must be able to confirm the organisation name and the server name that you want to secure. They must be of at least managerial status and they must work for the organisation in whose name the certificate is being requested.

What is a Technical Contact? Who can act as a Technical Contact?

The Technical Contact is usually the person who will be installing the certificate. This person will receive an email from Thawte once the certificate is issued, with instructions on where the certificate can be downloaded.

The Technical Contact does not usually have to work for the organisation in whose name the certificate is being requested. The exception to this rule is if you are ordering a Developer Certificate, in which case the Technical Contact does need to work for the organisation concerned.

It's acceptable for the Technical Contact to be a role contact (e.g., for a larger firm, you might have a dedicated email address for the SSL Team rather than having all requests handled by one person).

What is a Billing Contact? Who can act as a Billing Contact?

The Billing Contact is usually the person who will be paying for, or authorising the payment for, the certificate. This is the only person who will receive communications including pricing information for the certificate being ordered.

The Billing Contact does not have to work for the organisation in whose name the certificate is being requested, but should work for the organisation to whom the invoice should be addressed.

What is my order number? Why might I need to know what it is?

When your online application has been accepted onto the Thawte website, the contacts will be sent an email telling them what the order number for the certificate is. For a new certificate, it will always consist of six or seven letters and one or more numbers. (The six letters are made up of your chosen country code, followed by the first four letters of your organisation name. If there is a seventh letter, it will be an X.)

The order number is not case-sensitive.

If you have an order number which has six or seven letters, a number, a dash (-) and then another number plus possibly an X, then your certificate is a renewal of an existing one - you'll need to make sure that you include the dash and the extra number when you enter your order number anywhere on the Thawte site (or when you talk to us) as otherwise it, or we, will be looking at your original certificate and not the renewal.

If your 'order number' doesn't follow this format - then you may have the transaction number relating to your credit card payment, instead of your actual order number.

If you can't remember your order number, then you could try searching on the Thawte site - though, for that, you will need to know the exact server name within your certificate request (e.g. (Despite the wording on that page on the Thawte site, it's the full server name that you need, not just the domain name; searching on just '', for example, won't work unless you actually requested a certificate for exactly that name, ''.) If you still can't find your order number, contact us and tell us the exact server name within your request, and we will find it for you.

How can I change the contact details?

If you're in the process of applying for a certificate -- you've put the application through online and you have received your order number -- then you'll need to contact us, quoting your order number and telling us which contact (Corporate, Technical or Billing) needs to be changed. We will arrange to get the necessary form sent out to you. It is a standard letter which includes the old and new contact details. The form must be printed on letterhead and it must be signed by the new contact.

When filling in the form, please note that the COMPANY NAME must be the organisation named on the cert, and the COMMON NAME must be the common name nominated when the cert was ordered. If you're not sure about either of these details, please contact us.

If your certificate has already been issued, we regret you can't change the contact details at this stage; you can, however, change them when the certificate comes up for renewal.

How long will it take for my certificate to be issued?

For a fully-authenticated certificate, generally it takes a maximum of five working days from receipt of your online application, and any required paperwork, to issue the certificate. It's usually quicker than this; around two working days. This does not apply to extended validation (EV) certificates, for which the validation process is more thorough and therefore usually takes substantially longer.

Domain-validated certificates, such as Thawte's SSL123 certificates, are designed to be quicker to issue. If the registrar through whom your domain was registered allows Thawte's systems to automatically check the domain's data, then the authorising email will usually be sent straight out at the time of application; once you have followed the link in that mail to confirm that the certificate should be issued, the certificate will usually be issued within approximately 30 - 45 minutes at most. If your registrar does not allow the domain's data to be checked automatically, or if you have selected an authorising email address that does not meet Thawte's requirements, then a human will need to review the application, and possibly contact you -- thus delaying the issue of the certificate. Please contact us if you have not received your authorising email within a working day after you applied for the certificate, and we will investigate.

Help! I've got a deadline...

If you have a deadline that falls within this time frame, please let us know once you have placed the order and we will see what we can do. We cannot promise to get the certificate out to you faster than the time we quote, but we will certainly make our best efforts.

Please bear in mind that the vast majority of the certificates we deal with are issued through Thawte's verification office, which is based in Switzerland, and therefore one hour ahead of the UK. Should you choose to call us at the end of the UK business day with an urgent request for a certificate, it's unlikely we'll be able to make much progress on it until the next working day.

"The difficult, we do immediately. The impossible takes a little longer."

How can I make the process faster?

The best way to make things run faster and more smoothly is to check the documentation requirements before you apply and make sure that you can provide anything likely to be needed.

You should check that you have included the full, correct company name within the CSR. It is acceptable to abbreviate words such as "Limited", but please don't abbreviate anything else. Do make sure to include any suffix or prefix indicating the company's legal status (Limited, PLC, BV, etc.)

When you are choosing your contact people, make sure that you choose people who will be contactable if we need to talk to them. (This is particularly important in the case of the Corporate Contact.) Don't choose people who are about to leave the office for holidays!

If you are asked for further documentation, please provide it promptly and accurately.

If you are extremely pressed for time, we suggest that you may want to consider an SSL123 (domain-validated) certificate as a stop-gap while a fully-authenticated certificate is processed, or as an alternative to a fully-authenticated certificate.

What kinds of problems can slow the process down?

  • Finding out that the company name is incorrect - you will have to start again
  • Not receiving required documentation - if you are being asked for documentation, we generally won't be able to issue the certificate until that documentation is received
  • Not being able to reach the Corporate Contact - because he or she is on leave, ill, or in meetings. Whilst Thawte's verification team will make several attempts to reach the Corporate Contact, there is a limit to what they can do in terms of leaving messages and the like. If you know that the person you have nominated as the Corporate Contact is likely to be unavailable for long periods of time, you should consider changing the contact details so that someone else can act in their stead.
  • Payment delays - Thawte will not issue the certificate until they have received payment for it. If you are paying by cheque or bank transfer and are paying Thawte directly, this can involve delays. You may find it quicker to apply through us if you cannot pay by credit card.

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Last updated: March 24th 2008
Last checked: October 14th 2009

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