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I have software that connects two applications - one that runs on Windows Server 2008 and another that runs on Linux/CentOS. The Windows app runs within IIS and ASP.NET. The Linux/CentOS app runs within Apache and Tomcat. These are web-based apps and they need to talk to each other in a sever-to-server fashion over HTTPS.

I know that if I use a Certificate Authority (CA) for the SSL certificates, then there tends to be no problem getting this communication to work. I also know that if I use self-signed certificates - or don't use a CA - then I tend to have problems.

Is there a way to get Apache/Tomcat to trust a self-signed cert used by IIS/ASP.NET and visa-versa? What are the steps to do this?

Are there tools out there that could be used to verify that this has been set up properly? I assume that running a browser on one server and hitting the other server is not a sufficient test.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

There is no way of setting up self-signed certificates properly, because self-signed certificates have no role in proper SSL communication.

Set up your own CA and you'll be good to go. If your Windows server doesn't already have a built-in CA, there are many documents out there about this. As a starting point, you could use the EasyRSA CA that is included with OpenVPN.

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Thanks. I think I just don't understand all of the options. I know about public or well-known CAs (e.g., Verisign) and I know you can set up your own internal CA (what you are talking about). I guess the lines blurred for me between self-signed certs and internal CA's. How do I ensure that servers trust internal CAs? Keep in mind that I am dealing with different platforms (Windows and Linux). – Kirk Liemohn Nov 11 '10 at 13:08
I'm going to mark this as the right answer, but I have re-worded my question as two new questions:… and… – Kirk Liemohn Nov 11 '10 at 14:41

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