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Certificate Enrollment Web Service Guidance

Published: February 8, 2012

Updated: June 24, 2013

Applies To: Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2



The Certificate Enrollment Web Service is an Active Directory Certificate Services (AD CS) role service that enables users and computers to perform certificate enrollment by using the HTTPS protocol. Together with the Certificate Enrollment Policy Web Service, this enables policy-based certificate enrollment when the client computer is not a member of a domain or when a domain member is not connected to the domain.

The Certificate Enrollment Web Service uses the HTTPS protocol to accept certificate requests from and return issued certificates to network client computers. The Certificate Enrollment Web Service uses the DCOM protocol to connect to the certification authority (CA) and complete certificate enrollment on behalf of the requester. In versions of AD CS prior to Windows Server 2008 R2, policy-based certificate enrollment can be completed only by domain member client computers that are using the DCOM protocol. This limits certificate issuance to the trust boundaries that are established by Active Directory domains and forests.

Certificate enrollment over HTTPS enables the following new deployment scenarios:

  • Certificate enrollment across forest boundaries to reduce the number of CAs in an enterprise

  • Extranet deployment to issue certificates to mobile workers and business partners

For more information about the Certificate Enrollment Web Service and the Certificate Enrollment Policy Web Service, see Certificate Enrollment Web Services. The remaining sections of this document provide the installation requirements for Certificate Enrollment Web Service and information about the configuration options that are presented when you use Server Manager to install the role service.

noteNote
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The requirements for installing the Certificate Enrollment Web Service are:

  • The administrator who performs the installation must be a member of the Enterprise Admins group.

  • The administrator who installs the Certificate Enrollment Web Service must have Request Certificates permissions on the target certification authority (CA).

  • The computer on which the Certificate Enrollment Web Service is to be installed must be a member of the domain and must be running Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2012.

  • An AD DS forest with at least a Windows Server 2008 R2 schema. For more information, see Prepare a Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003 Forest Schema for a Domain Controller That Runs Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2.

  • An enterprise certification authority (CA) on a computer running Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, or Windows Server 2003.

    • If the Certificate Enrollment Web Service is configured for client certificate authentication, the CA must be running at least Windows Server 2008.

    • For enrollment across AD DS forests, the CA must be installed on a computer running Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise, Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter, or Windows Server 2012.

    • For automatic renewal of certificates across AD DS forests or from computers that are not part of an AD DS forest or domain, the CA and Certificate Enrollment Web Services servers must be running Windows Server 2012.

  • Client computers must be running at least Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2. For automatic renewal of certificates across AD DS forests or from computers that are not part of an AD DS forest or domain, the CA and Certificate Enrollment Web Services clients must be running at least Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012.

  • A Server Authentication certificate installed for HTTPS.

noteNote
The Web Server (IIS) role service with the Microsoft .NET Framework are automatically added during the Certificate Enrollment Web Services installation, if they are not already installed.

If the CA role service is installed on the local computer, then the local computer is automatically selected as the CA. However, the Certificate Enrollment Web Service and CA role service cannot be installed at the same time. If you intend to install both the Certificate Enrollment Web Service and CA role service, complete the CA role service installation first. The following requirements apply to configuring the CA for the Certificate Enrollment Web Service:

  • The Certificate Enrollment Web Service can be configured to work with an enterprise CA on the same or on a different computer. The CA must be on a computer running at least Windows Server 2003.

  • The Certificate Enrollment Web Service cannot be configured to work with a stand-alone CA—an enterprise CA is required.

  • If client certificate authentication is used, the CA must be on a computer running at least Windows Server 2008. A CA on a computer running Windows Server 2003 will not work as the targeted CA of an enrollment service that is configured for client certificate authentication.

  • Running the enrollment service in renewal-only mode requires a CA on a computer running at least Windows Server 2008 R2.

noteNote
  • If you want to avoid having to trust the Certificate Enrollment Web Service account for delegation, and you need to process only certificate renewal requests, you can enable renewal-only mode. To do so, select Configure the Certificate Enrollment Web Service for renewal-only mode.

  • If you want the Certificate Enrollment Web Service to process new certificate enrollment requests and certificate renewals, do not select Configure the Certificate Enrollment Web Service for renewal-only mode. Also, ensure the Certificate Enrollment Web Service account is trusted for delegation, as explained in Configure a Service Account.

  • You can install multiple instances of the Certificate Enrollment Web Service on a single computer. However, you can only install one instance by using Server Manager. To install a second instance, you must use Windows PowerShell as described in Install-AdcsEnrollmentWebService.

WarningWarning
If the certification authority that the Certificate Enrollment Web Service will be using has spaces in the name, such as Margies Travel Issuing CA, instead of Margies-Travel-Issuing-CA, then additional configuration steps are required after installation of the service. The additional steps required are documented in the article Implementing Certificate Enrollment Web Services in Windows Server® 2012 that uses an Issuing CA with spaces in the name.

Clients communicating with the Certificate Enrollment Web Service must use one of the following authentication types:

  • Windows integrated authentication, also known as Kerberos authentication

  • Client certificate authentication, also known as X.509 certificate authentication

  • User name and password authentication

noteNote
  • If you want to enable key-based renewal, you must enable client certificate authentication for the Certificate Enrollment Web Service.

  • Anonymous authentication to the web services is not supported.

Key-based renewal mode is a feature introduced in Windows Server 2012 that allows an existing valid certificate to be used to authenticate a certificate renewal request. This enables computers that are not connected directly to the internal network the ability to automatically renewal an existing certificate. To take advantage of this feature, the certificate client computers must be running at least Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012.

During Certificate Enrollment Web Service configuration, you have the option to specify one of the following types of accounts as the service account:

  • User account that acts as the service account (recommended)

  • Built-in application pool identity of the Internet Information Services (IIS) installation on the local computer

Using a specific user account as the service account is the recommended configuration. However, there are more steps required to configure a user account as a service account. The user account that is to be configured as a service account must be:

  • A domain account in the domain in which the Certificate Enrollment Web Services computer is a member.

  • A member of the local IIS_IUSRS group on which the Certificate Enrollment Web Service is installed.

  • Configured with a service principal name (SPN), if Kerberos authentication is selected or delegation required because the Certificate Enrollment Web Service is hosted on a different computer than the one running the CA role service.

  • Trusted for delegation for the host service and the Remote Procedure Call system service (RPCSS) , if Certificate Enrollment Web Service is installed on a different computer than the CA, and if new certificates are to be issued by the Certificate Enrollment Web Service.

  1. Sign in to the domain controller or administrative computer with Active Directory Domain Services Remote Server Administration Tools installed. Open Active Directory Users and Computers by using an account that has permissions to add users to the domain.

  2. In the console tree, locate the container where you want to create the user account. For example, some organizations have a Services OU or similar account. Right-click the container, click New, and then click User.

  3. In the New Object - User text boxes, enter appropriate names for all the fields so that it is clear that you are creating a user account. Be sure to follow your organization's policy for creating a service account, if such a policy exists. As an example, you could enter the following, and then click Next.

    1. First name: CES

    2. Last name: Service

    3. User logon name: CES

  4. Set a complex password for the account and confirm the password. Configure the password options to correspond to your organization's security policies regarding service accounts.

  5. Click Next, and then click Finished.

TipTip
You can also use the New-ADUser Windows PowerShell cmdlet to add a domain user account.

  1. On the server that is hosting Certificate Enrollment Web Service, open Computer Management (compmgmt.msc).

  2. In the Computer Management console tree, under System Tools, expand Local User and Groups, and then click Groups.

  3. In the details pane, double-click IIS_IUSRS.

  4. On the General tab, click Add.

  5. In the Select Users, Computers, Service Accounts, or Groups text box, type the user sign-in name for the account that you configured to be the service account.

  6. Click Check Names, click OK twice, and then close Computer Management.

TipTip
You can also type net localgroup IIS_IUSRS <domain>\<username> /Add to add the service account for the Certificate Enrollment Web Service to the local IIS_IUSRS group. The command prompt or Windows PowerShell must be run as an administrator. For more information, see Add a member to a local group.

  1. Ensure that you are using an account that is a member of the Domain Admins group. Open Windows PowerShell or a Command Prompt window as an administrator.

  2. Use the following command syntax to register the server principal name (SPN) for the service account: setspn -s http/<computername> <domainname>\<accountname>. For example, to register a service account with the sign-in name CES in the cpandl.com domain for a computer named CES1, you would run the following command: setspn -s http/CES1.cpandl.com cpandl\CES.

  1. Sign in to the domain controller or administrative computer with Active Directory Domain Services Remote Server Administration Tools installed. Open Active Directory Users and Computers by using an account that has permissions to add users to the domain.

  2. In the console tree, expand the structure until you see the container that holds the user account. Click that container.

  3. In the details pane, right-click the user account that is the service account for the Certificate Enrollment Web Service, and then click Properties.

  4. On the Delegation tab, select Trust this user for delegation to specified services only.

    noteNote
    The Delegation tab is only available in the user account properties after you have created an SPN for the user account.

  5. Ensure that Use Kerberos only is selected (if the authentication type was set to Windows integrated authentication during installation) or Use any authentication protocol (if the authentication type was set to Client certificate authentication during installation), and then click Add.

  6. In the Add Services dialog box, click Users or Computers.

  7. In the Select Users or Computers dialog box, type the name of the computer that is hosting the CA. Click Check Names, and then click OK.

  8. In the Add Services dialog box, press the CRTL key, and then click both of the following services:

    • HOST

    • rpcss

    Click OK twice.

  9. Close Active Directory Users and Computers.

If you specified the default application pool instead of a user account to act as the service account for Certificate Enrollment Web Service, you must trust the computer account on which the Certificate Enrollment Web Service is installed for delegation.

ImportantImportant
You need to perform the following procedure only if you selected Use the built-in application pool identity when you specified the service account for the Certificate Enrollment Web Service.

  1. Sign in to the domain controller or administrative computer with Active Directory Domain Services Remote Server Administration Tools installed. Open Active Directory Users and Computers by using an account that has permissions to add users to the domain.

  2. In the console tree, expand the structure until you see the container that holds the computer account that is hosting the Certificate Enrollment Web Service. Click that container.

  3. In the details pane, right-click the computer account that is hosting the Certificate Enrollment Web Service, and then click Properties.

  4. On the Delegation tab, select Trust this computer for delegation to the specified services only.

  5. Ensure that Use Kerberos only is selected, and then click Add.

  6. In the Add Services dialog box, click Users or Computers.

  7. In the Select Users or Computers dialog box, type the name of the computer that is hosting the Certificate Enrollment Web Service. Click Check Names, and then click OK.

  8. In the Add Services dialog box, press the CRTL key, and then click both of the following services

    • HOST

    • rpcss

    Click OK twice.

  9. Close Active Directory Users and Computers.

The Certificate Enrollment Web Service and the Certificate Enrollment Policy Web Service must use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) for communication with clients (by using HTTPS). Each service must have a valid certificate that has an enhanced key usage (EKU) policy of Server Authentication in the local computer certificate store.

noteNote
If you have not yet provided an SSL certificate to the server that is hosting the Certificate Enrollment Web Service, you can do so by following the instructions in the article Configure SSL/TLS on a Web site in the domain with an Enterprise CA.

If you need to enable delegation, see Configure a Service Account.

If you enabled renewal-only mode, you need to complete the following additional configuration steps.

  • Update CA permissions

  • Set the CA policy module flag

  1. On the CA, sign in as a CA administrator.

  2. Open the Certification Authority console.

  3. Right-click the CA, and then click Properties.

  4. On the Security tab, click Add.

  5. In the Select Users, Computers, Service Accounts, or Groups dialog box, type the name of service account for the Certificate Enrollment Service. Click Check Names, and then click OK.

    noteNote
    If you assigned the built-in application pool as the service account, you will enter the computer account name that is hosting the Certificate Enrollment Web Service.

  6. In the CA Properties dialog box, under Group or user names, click the service account name for the Certificate Enrollment Web Service. Ensure that the Allow check box is selected for Read permission. Clear the Allow check box for Request Certificates permission (which is selected by default), and then click OK.

  7. Close the Certification Authority console.

  1. On the CA, sign in as a CA administrator.

  2. Open a Command Prompt window or Windows PowerShell as an administrator.

  3. Run certutil | findstr "Config" and note the output of the CA Configuration.

  4. Run certutil -config "<CAConfig>" -setreg policy\EditFlags +EDITF_ENABLERENEWONBEHALFOF, where <CAConfig> is the actual CA Config information that was returned in the previous step.

  5. Restart the CA service. To do so from a command prompt, run net stop certsvc && net start certsvc. To restart from Windows PowerShell, run restart-service certsvc.

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