Why do I need an owned IP for my own SSL certificate?

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Why do I need an owned IP for my own SSL certificate?Last Modified: Feb 12, 2016, 1:42 am
The reason you must have your own dedicated IP address when you want to use your own SSL certificate (when you don't want the server wide shared certificate) is because of the way SSL and Apache (httpd) works.

For name based web-hosting (when many domains are on one IP) the web browser will pass the name of the domain being requested inside the httpd headers along with the request.  This way, Apache knows which domain you are trying to access even though there are many domains on that one IP address.

When you do the same thing through an SSL connection, the connection has to be made *before* the request can be sent.  In this connection, the certificate is passed.  The only information that Apache knows before the request is made is which IP the connection is being made to.  It has to be able to know which certificate to send before the request is made, thus you can't use multiple certificates on the same IP (if you do, Apache will use the first certificate listed which DA will always set to the server shared certificate for shared IPs).

If you want to use your own certificate, it must be the first certificate listed.  This wouldn't work for a shared IP, because there would multiple domain wanting this status, and the first certificate would the one shown.  For this reason the shared certificate is always used on a shared IP.  For your certificate, DA will acknowledge the IP as being 'owned' and will remove the server shared certificate as the first cert to be loaded, thus your certificate will be loaded instead.

There is a new feature called SNI developed with Apache and OpenSSL, however, this requires recent version of OpenSSL and that client browsers also support it.
Older browsers do not.  It usually works with CentOS 6 and above.
Related Helpfiles
How to assign a User an 'owned' IP address

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