Getting started with Cloud Sites: Configuring SSL on your websites

  • Last updated on: 2016-06-02
  • Authored by: Rackspace Support

Note: This article is written for our Cloud Sites Control Panel. You can get to it from the Cloud Control Panel by clicking Rackspace Cloud in the upper-left corner and selecting Cloud Sites. You can also navigate directly to

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Cloud Sites introduction

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is an encryption technology that protects your visitors’ private information while it’s in transit via the Internet.

When you ask your site’s visitors to divulge personal and business information, they need to trust you. They have to know that their data is secure from eavesdropping, tampering, and even phishing attacks. And the more they trust you, the more likely they are to complete forms, purchase items, and share valuable information online. SSL certificates let them know that they can confidently share their data with you.

Some applications that are configured to run SSL are web browsers like Internet Explorer and FireFox; email programs like Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, and Apple; and SFTP (secure file transfer protocol) programs. These programs are automatically able to receive SSL connections.

Adding SSL to a website on Cloud Sites is a straightforward process.This article provides the information for this process.

Supported types of SSL Certificates

The primary certificates supported on Cloud Sites are as follows:

  • Root Level certificates
  • Apache + OpenSSL

Cloud Sites allows installation of most chained certificates, including Extended Validation (EV), multi-domain, and wild card certificates. These will require installation to a primary Common Name domain to work properly. Sites hosted on the .NET/IIS platform may not allow wild card certificates to work due to the architecture.

Note: Cloud Sites no longer supports any self-signed certificates.

Generate a CSR for your site

Complete the following steps to generate a certificate signing request (CSR), which you will need to have when you purchase an SSL certificate.

  1. Log in to the Cloud Sites Control Panel.

  2. Click Hosting > Cloud Sites.

  3. Click the domain you want to add SSL to, and then click the Security tab.

  4. In the Permissions for Viewing Your Website section, click Install SSL Certificate.

  5. Review the order summary and payment details, select the Terms Agreement check box, and the click Finish. If you have questions about the charges, contact Support.

  6. On the Install SSL Certificate page, click the Start New Certificate button.

  7. Complete the form and click the Next Step button when finished.

Your CSR is generated. With the CSR ready for use, you can proceed to purchasing a certificate.

Purchase a certificate

SSL certificates are available from a number of third party sources. Some recommended sellers are RapidSSL, Geotrust, and Verisign.

Follow the vendor’s SSL certificate request process. In particular, the vendor might require the following details:

  • Server type: Apache
  • SSL type: OpenSSL or modSSL
  • CSR: You generated this in the preceding section

After you have completed your certificate purchase, you’re ready to install the certificate.

Special rules for EV and wild card certificates

To install an EV or wild card certificate with Cloud Sites, the certificate needs to be installed to an existing domain on the Cloud Sites account. This can be accomplished by doing the following when purchasing the certificate from the seller:

  1. Create the certificate using the existing domain as the Common Name (CN).

  2. Setup the EV domains or wild card domain as the Subject Alternative Name (SAN).

  3. Install the certificate to the existing domain.

  4. Point the domains specified in the SAN to use the SSL IP provided.

The following is an example of a correctly configured wild card certificate if the site hosting the certificate is, an existing domain in your domain in your Cloud Sites account, and other subdomains of are used for the wild card:

Common Name:
Subject Alternative Names: *
Organization Unit: IT
Locality: San Antonio
State: Texas
Country: US
Valid From: September 25, 2015
Valid To: September 26, 2017
Issuer: DigiCert SHA2 High Assurance Server CA, DigiCert Inc
Serial Number:

Install the certificate

  1. Log in to the Cloud Sites Control Panel.
  2. Click Hosting > Cloud Sites.
  3. Click the domain for which you generated the CSR for, and then click the Security tab.
  4. In the Permissions for Viewing Your Website section, click Enter Certificate File.
  5. Enter the certificate information in the Certificate field.

    Note: Some vendors provide certificates in text format in an email or on their website, which makes copy and pasting the certificate easy. Other vendors may provide certificates as a .crt file. You can open this file in a plain text editor and retrieve the text for the certificate there.

  6. If you have any SSL intermediate certificates, copy and paste them into the Intermediate Certificate field.
  7. Click Next Step.
  8. Confirm that the certificate details are correct and then click Finish.

Note: If you have any problems during the installation, contact Support for assistance.

DNS update

If Rackspace is managing your DNS, DNS for your site will be automatically updated. It can take up to two hours for the new IP addresses for your site to complete propagation. If you are managing your own DNS, click the Domain tab to get your new IP addresses.

What to watch for

Removing an SSL certificate from a site will change the site’s IP address in the same way that adding a new certificate changes the IP address. DNS must be updated in that case as well.

SSL tips

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