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Requesting InCommon IGTF Host Certificates

Many institutions in the United States already subscribe to InCommon and offer IGTF certificate services. If your institution is in the list of InCommon subscribers, continue with the instructions below. If your institution is not in the list, Let's Encrypt certificates do not meet your needs, and you do not have access to another IGTF CA subscription, please contact us.

As with all OSG software installations, there are some one-time (per host) steps to prepare in advance:

From a host that meets the above requirements, there are two options to get InCommon IGTF-accredited host certificates:

  1. Requesting certificates from a Registration Authority (RA): This requires a Certificate Signing Request (CSR), which can be generated with the osg-cert-request tool.
  2. Requesting certificates as an RA: As an RA, you can request, approve, and retrieve certificates yourself through the InCommon REST API using the osg-incommon-cert-request tool .

Install the osg-pki-tools where both command line tools are available:

root@host # yum install osg-pki-tools

Requesting certificates from a registration authority

  1. Generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) and private key using the osg-cert-request tool:

    user@host $ osg-cert-request --hostname <HOSTNAME> \
                 --country <COUNTRY> \
                 --state <STATE> \
                 --locality <LOCALITY> \
                 --organization <ORGANIZATION>

    You may also add DNS Subject Alternative Names (SAN) to the request by specifying any number of --altname <SAN>. For example, the following generates a CSR for with and as SANs:

    user@host $ osg-cert-request --hostname \
                 --country US \
                 --state Wisconsin \
                 --locality Madison \
                 --organization 'University of Wisconsin-Madison' \
                 --altname \

    If successful, the CSR will be named <HOSTNAME>.req and the private key will be named <HOSTNAME>-key.pem. Additional options and descriptions can be found here.

  2. Find your institution-specific InCommon contact and submit the CSR that you generated above. Make sure to request a 1-year IGTF Server Certificate for OTHER server software.

  3. After the certificate has been issued by your institution, download the host certificate only (not the full chain) to its intended host and copy over the key you generated above.
  4. Verify that the issuer CN field is InCommon IGTF Server CA:

    $ openssl x509 -in <PATH TO CERTIFICATE> -noout -issuer
    issuer= /C=US/O=Internet2/OU=InCommon/CN=InCommon IGTF Server CA

    Where <PATH TO CERTIFICATE> is the file you downloaded in the previous step

  5. Install the host certificate and key:

    root@host # cp <PATH TO CERTIFICATE> /etc/grid-security/hostcert.pem
    root@host # chmod 444 /etc/grid-security/hostcert.pem
    root@host # cp <PATH TO KEY> /etc/grid-security/hostkey.pem
    root@host # chmod 400 /etc/grid-security/hostkey.pem

    Where <PATH TO KEY> is the ".key" file you created in the first step

Requesting certificates as a registration authority

If you are a Registration Authority for your institution, skip ahead to this section. If you are not already a Registration Authority (RA) for your institution, you must request to be made one:

  1. Find your institution-specific InCommon contact (e.g. campus central IT)
  2. Request a Department Registration Authority user with SSL auto-approve enabled and a client certificate:
    • If they do not grant your request, you will not be able to request, approve, and retrieve certificates yourself. Instead, you must request certificates from your RA.
    • If they grant your request, you will receive an email with instructions for requesting your client certificate; download the .p12 file.
  3. Find your institution-specific organization and department codes at the InCommon Cert Manager ( These are numeric codes that should be specified through the command line using the -O/--orgcode ORG,DEPT option:

    • Organization code is shown as OrgID under Settings > Organizations > Edit
    • Department code is shown as OrgID under Settings > Organizations > Departments > Edit

Once you have RA privileges, you may request, approve, and retrieve host certificates using osg-incommon-cert-request:

  • In order to request a certificate, you will need your InCommon client certificate as two separate files, incommon_user_key.pem for the key, and incommon_user_cert.pem for the cert. If you don't already have them, perform the following steps:

    1. Download the .p12 file with your client certificate and save this as incommon_file.p12. You should have received instructions for how to obtain this file in an email when you became an RA.

    2. Extract the certificate and key:

      user@host $ openssl pkcs12 -in incommon_file.p12 \
                  -nocerts -out ~/path_to_dir/incommon_user_key.pem
      user@host $ openssl pkcs12 -in incommon_file.p12 \
                  -nokeys -out ~/path_to_dir/incommon_user_cert.pem
  • Requesting a certificate with a single hostname <HOSTNAME>:

    user@host $ osg-incommon-cert-request --username <INCOMMON_LOGIN> \
                --cert ~/path_to_dir/incommon_user_cert.pem \
                --pkey ~/path_to_dir/incommon_user_key.pem \
                --hostname <HOSTNAME>
                [--orgcode <ORG,DEPT>]
  • Requesting a certificate with Subject Alternative Names (SANs):

    user@host $ osg-incommon-cert-request --username <INCOMMON_LOGIN> \
                --cert ~/path_to_dir/incommon_user_cert.pem \
                --pkey ~/path_to_dir/incommon_user_key.pem \
                --hostname <HOSTNAME> \
                --altname <ALTNAME> \
                --altname <ALTNAME2>
                [--orgcode <ORG,DEPT>]
  • Requesting certificates in bulk using a hostfile name:

    user@host $ osg-incommon-cert-request --username <INCOMMON_LOGIN> \
                --cert ~/path_to_dir/incommon_user_cert.pem \
                --pkey ~/path_to_dir/incommon_user_key.pem \
                --hostfile ~/path_to_file/hostfile.txt \
                [--orgcode <ORG,DEPT>]

    Where the contents of hostfile.txt contain one hostname and any number of SANs per line:

    hostname02.yourdomain hostnamealias.yourdomain hostname03.yourdomain
    hostname04.yourdomain hostname05.yourdomain


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