skip to primary navigationskip to content

TLS server certificates

How to get TLS certificates for use within the University of Cambridge

What is TLS?

Transport Layer Security (TLS) is a way of securing Internet communications. TLS requires that the server (typically a web server) end of any communication has access to a public/private key pair and a cryptographic certificate linking these keys to the server's identity and to that of its operators. Clients (typically web browsers) need to be configured to 'trust' the entity that signed this certificate.

If the server and clients are controlled by the same people then certificates can be created locally, but in general they need to be signed by an organisation that clients are pre-configured to trust. In practice this means dealing with one of several commercial 'Certification Authorities' (CAs).

How to get a TLS certificate

Free DV certificates from Let's Encrypt

The Information Services Committee advocates the use of zero-cost certificates from Let's Encrypt, unless enhanced features or network configurations do not allow this.

Let's Encrypt was established by the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG), and is supported by organisations and companies that want a more secure web. Let's Encrypt provides free automated Domain Validation (DV) and wildcard certificates. DV certificates don't provide the same level of validation as Organization Validation (OV) and Extended Validation (EV).

OV and EV certificates from JISC

You can also purchase OV, EV and wildcard certificates from JISC via our online ordering system. The costs incurred will be re-charged to your institution. You'll need to provide an institutional account code when you complete your order.

JISC's prices are as follows:

  • Organization Validation (OV) certificate for 2 years: £20
  • Extended Validation (EV) certificate for 2 years: £20
  • Wildcard certificate for 3 years: £150

Further information

 Certificates and website security

 About Let's Encrypt

 How Let's Encrypt domain validation works

UIS Service Status

Phone padded  Service status line: (01223) 463085
Website  Sign up for SMS/email status alerts
Website  Read major IT incident reports

UIS bITe-size bulletin

A regular newsletter aimed at the University's IT community, highlighting service and project news from UIS.

Sign up >  |  Back issues

RSS Feed Latest news

Beware fake NHS 'Test and Trace' text messages

May 29, 2020

Please be aware that University staff are receiving fake text messages purporting to be from the NHS coronavirus test and trace service recently announced by the UK Government.

LinkedIn Learning now available for all staff and students

May 19, 2020

All University and College staff and students can now access LinkedIn Learning, which offers a wide range of online courses on creative, technical and professional skills.

View all news