Generating a CSR code on Windows using Certeq

You can generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) by running the Certeq utility. This utility is preferred by server administrators who use a command line interface on their Windows servers. In this guide we will explain how to create a CSR using Certeq and how to import its respective SSL certificate.

You will first need to open the command prompt by following these 3 steps:

  1. Press Win+R to open the ‘Run’ window
  2. Type cmd in the ‘Open’ field
  3. Click OK

The default directory within the console is located on disk C. To avoid permission issues, we recommend switching to a different disk.

To switch to another disk, simply enter the drive letter (in the example below, it’s ‘d’), followed by a colon:

d:

This will redirect you to the main directory of disk D.

It’s also possible to enter an existing disk in the command. If you wish to create the CSR in a specific directory, simply switch to the disk that uses the aforementioned command. To run the command, it should look something like this:

cd d:\exampe\directory\ssl

After that, you will create a new text file called ‘request.inf’ by running:

notepad request.inf

Here, the dialog window will ask whether or not you wish to create a new file. Click ‘Yes’ from the options.

This will then open a new Notepad window. There you should copy and paste the following content:

;----------------- request.inf -----------------

[Version]
Signature="$Windows NT$"

[NewRequest]
Subject = "CN=example.com, C=US, L=Los Angeles, ST=California, O=NA"

KeySpec = 1
KeyLength = 2048
Exportable = TRUE
MachineKeySet = TRUE
SMIME = False
PrivateKeyArchive = FALSE
UserProtected = FALSE
UseExistingKeySet = FALSE
ProviderName = "Microsoft RSA SChannel Cryptographic Provider"
ProviderType = 12
RequestType = PKCS10
KeyUsage = 0xa0
HashAlgorithm = SHA256

[EnhancedKeyUsageExtension]
OID=1.3.6.1.5.5.7.3.1 ; this is for Server Authentication / Token Signing
;-----------------------------------------------

Now you will need to edit the data in the 'Subject' directive. The description of each variable is explained below:

CN (Common Name) - refers to the domain name or subdomain you wish to secure
C (Country) - refers to the country related to your domain
L (Locality) - refers to the city related to your domain
ST (State) - refers to the state related to your domain*
O (Organization) - refers to the company name related to your domain**

*Please enter the full name of the state, not the abbreviation

**If you do not have any organization or company, simply enter NA

Note: It is possible to add the street address value to the CSR code if needed, by specifying the 'Street' variable in the 'Subject' directive as follows:

Subject = "CN=example.com, C=US, L=Los Angeles, ST=California, O=NA, Street= Example Avenue 1"

Once you have finished editing your data, save the file and return to the command console.

To generate a new CSR using the policy we created above, simply run this command:

certreq -new request.inf request.csr

This command will then create a new file called ‘request.csr’.

To open it, run ‘notepad request.csr’ in the command console. You will then see the CSR code that looks like a block of code enclosed between the ‘-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE REQUEST-----’ and ‘-----END CERTIFICATE REQUEST-----’ header and footer. This full code should be submitted during the SSL activation in your Namecheap account.

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