DigiCert certificate

This section describes how to obtain and install a DigiCert Grid certificate. This is a prerequisite to get started on the Grid.


If you need help to obtain your DigiCert certificate, please have a look to this User Guide or contact us at helpdesk@surfsara.nl.

Obtain a DigiCert certificate

DigiCert CA allows you to get your Grid certificate instantly from the GEANT Trusted Certificate Service (former was the Terena portal), by using your institutional login and SURFconext.

  • Open a Firefox browser in your laptop or in your UI account
  • Access the DigiCert portal
  • Select your institution from the list and login with your account
  • Request a so called Grid certificate. Select: Product: Grid Premium
  • If everything went well, after a while you should see this window:

Once finished, you will have a Grid certificate automatically stored in your browser.

Install a DigiCert certificate on the UI

In order to install the DigiCert certificate on the UI, you need to export it first from your browser, copy it to your UI account and convert it to .pem format. This section shows you how to do this.

Export certificate from browser

You can export the certificate from the browser that you stored your certificate in the previous step:

  • Open the Firefox browser where the certificate is stored. This is the browser you used to access the DigiCert portal
  • Select: Preferences -> Advanced (left pane) -> Certificates (tab) -> View Certificates (button)
  • Select the certificate (.p12 file) that you stored in the previous step
  • Press Backup
  • Give it a name, e.g. browsercert and select the location to store it
  • Give a safe password and press Ok

The file browsercert.p12 is now stored locally. Next, we will store it on the User Interface.

Copy certificate .p12 file to the UI

  • Open a terminal and connect to the User Interface with your personal UI account:

    $ssh homer@ui.grid.sara.nl # replace "homer" with your username!
  • Create a $HOME/.globus directory in your UI account:

    $mkdir $HOME/.globus
  • If you exported the certificate to your laptop, copy it from your local machine to your .globus directory on the UI. If you exported your certificate from the UI browser, you can skip this step:

    [homer@localmachine]$scp /PATH-TO-P12-FILE/browsercert.p12 homer@ui.grid.sara.nl:~/.globus  # replace "homer" with your username!

Convert pkcs12 to PEM

  • Convert the .p12 file to the PEM format. For this you need two commands; a) one to extract the key, and b) one to extract your certificate.
  1. Extract your key, run on the UI:

    $cd $HOME/.globus
    $openssl pkcs12 -in browsercert.p12 -out userkey.pem -nocerts

Note that you will first need to enter the password that was used to create the browsercert.p12 file. Next, you need to enter a password to protect the exported key. Enter that password again to verify. Note that you must enter a password and the password must be at least 12 characters; if the password is too short, openssl will fail without error. Using the same password as for the p12 file is fine.

  1. Extract your certificate, run on the UI:

    $cd $HOME/.globus
    $openssl pkcs12 -in browsercert.p12 -out usercert.pem -nokeys -clcerts
  • Set the proper permissions to your certificate files:

    $chmod 644 usercert.pem
    $chmod 400 userkey.pem

The certificate and private key file should now be present in the .globus directory (notice the dot!) on the User Interface. Note that the private key file should be read-only and only readable to you.

  • Verify key permissions:

    $cd $HOME/.globus
    $ls -l
    -rw-r--r--      1 homer    homer     4499  May 10 13:47  usercert.pem
    -r--------      1 homer    homer      963  May 10 13:43  userkey.pem

Install a DigiCert certificate in your browser

In order to apply for a VO membership you will have to install your certificate in your browser. If everything worked gracefully when you obtained the DigiCert certificate then your certificate was automatically stored in your browser.

  • Verify that your certificate is valid and properly installed in your browser by accessing this website from the browser that you have your certificate installed:

If you receive an SSL authentication error, then try repeating the steps carefully as they come. If you managed to access the page above, your certificate is successfully installed!