Digital certificate and Certificate Signing Request (CSR) decoding tools are used by companies to verify that information contained therein is accurate – you’d be surprised to learn just how often Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and CSRs are mixed up, particularly when enterprises are prone to managing thousands of certificates at any given time. By using a quality decoding tool, companies can decrypt blocks of encoded text, detect inaccuracies and display contents in a readable format, ensuring that everything is in order before certificates are installed on the server.
While installing the wrong SSL certificate on the wrong server isn’t necessarily catastrophic, it will cause a headache later on. CSRs contain pertinent information such as organization name, locality, country and public key, so errors can certainly prove costly. The best policy is therefore to do your due diligence and double-check all issued certificates prior to installation. That way, if you find a fault, you can get to work on generating a new CSR and reissuing the certificate. Let’s take a look at some of the good certificate decoding tools currently available.
The SSL Store: With this free tool, you can quickly check PEM, DER or PFX encoded SSL certificates. All you have to do is paste the digital certificate’s alphanumeric characters into the box and let the decoder do its thing.
Comodo SSL Store: Uniformity is the watchword for free decoding tools, and as such this alternative is almost indistinguishable from the others: simply paste your certificate into the box and it will be transformed into easily readable text.
SSL Shopper: Another free resource which permits a quick copy and paste to ascertain whether the information in your PEM encoded SSL certificate is correct. Incidentally, SSL Shopper have also created an SSL Checker, which will determine whether your certificate is installed correctly on your server.
Keyhub is a more comprehensive tool than the others cited above, representing an all-in-one solution for certificate management. The cloud-based platform allows users to automatically discover, organize and track all SSL/TLS certificates across the enterprise. While access to the entire suite is available via paid plans, you can access the decoding tool on the free version: just create an account, click into the Tools section and paste your CSR into the box. You can also upload a *pem, *cer, *crt, *p12 or *txt file.
Ultimately, the onus is on you to supply accurate, up-to-date information. Using a certificate and CSR decoding tool is a good habit to get into, and the preponderance of freely available tools means there’s no excuse.