I have a question on Certificate Authorities. After looking through the help center I don't feel the question would be on-topic. The problem I am having is, Webmasters seems like it should be the best fit, and I don't know where to ask.

Where can one ask questions about Certificate Authorities? Does the Stack Exchange network have a home for the questions?

The back story is, we are a free/open source software project trying to obtain a HTTPS certificate. We want to omit the CommonName (CN) because we can't use a friendly name like Crypto++ Project. The CA/Broswer Baseline Requirements, Section 7.1.4, tells us the CN is optional, and placing hostnames in the CN is deprecated and discouraged (but not prohibited). Hostnames always go in the Subject Alt Name (SAN).

We tried to omit CommonName but Comodo support responded with "The common name in the CSR must have a valid FQDN."

So we want/need to find a way to submit a CSR without a CommonName or find a CA that follows the CA/Broswer Baseline Requirements.

  • 2
    You might also consider asking this over at the Information Security Stack Exchange site. They have 910 questions (as of today) tagged with Certificate Authority, and this doesn't appear to be off-topic according to the what topics can I ask about here page in their Help center.
    – dan Mod
    Sep 19, 2018 at 0:10
  • Thanks @Dan. Let me wander through some of the posts.
    – user40589
    Sep 19, 2018 at 9:22
  • I'm really bothered by the way CA's fail to follow the Baseline Requirements to varying degrees. I also experimented with GoDaddy. I'm not even sure what they were charging us for because they never asked for the domain name or the CSR. With GoDaddy I did a dry run with a VISA number generated online to evaluate the process. (I had a bad feeling about providing a real VISA card number).
    – user40589
    Sep 19, 2018 at 9:27

1 Answer 1


I can only think of two reasons that that this wouldn't be on-topic:

  1. If it isn't a certificate for your project's website
  2. If you ask for recommendations for certificate authorities

Pretty much anything tangentially related to a website is on-topic. We have questions about search engines, hosting, and analytics. Questions about HTTPS certificates and authorities are certainly within the realm of webmastering. We have many questions already related to certificate authorities.

The only part of your question that gives me pause is the "or find a CA that..." If you included that in your question it would get closed with the reason:

Questions asking us to recommend a tool, library or favorite off-site resource are off-topic for Pro Webmasters as they tend to attract opinionated answers and spam.

Omit that one line for your question and I think it would be fine.

  • Thanks @Stephen. I think the latter part of the answer is the problem for us. We probably can't get Comodo to accept the CSR, so we need to find an alternative solution. That leads us into a list of CA's that follow the CA/Browser BR. No matter how much I try to disguise it I think we are going to hit the recommendation violation.
    – user40589
    Sep 19, 2018 at 0:13

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