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Certificate Formats Explained

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Certificates are amazing. They are all standardized, there's a single, universal, secure format that most everyone uses, just about anyone can manage them, and a single validation failure in a chain can no longer cause production outages. Now that the jokes are out of the way, if you're anything like me you find it difficult to keep track of the certificate formats, how they're encoded, which formats allow for the private key to be included and which don't, why exactly I need to use one format of certificate on this box but it needs to be converted before I put it on Windows, etc. But certificates actually play a vital role in security and they're important to understand. I won't be covering all certificate formats today, but I'll cover several -- including the most common ones and what differentiates them from other certificate formats. Note I define certificate format as the defined formatting of the certificate (defined in an RFC or otherwise), and certi