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Is an SMTP TLS certificate the same as an FTP SSL certificate?

Are all security transportation-level certificates (TLSes) the same, or are there different certificates for different protocols? In this expert response, Randall Gamby discusses SMTP and FTP certificates.

Are certificates different for different services, such as SMTP, FTP, etc.? Or is it acceptable for SMTP and FTP services on one server to have only one certificate?
I'm assuming you're talking about transportation-level certificates (TLS, formally known as SSL) for these services. The good news is, yes, there are request for comments (RFC) standards issued by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) for using TLS for many different services: RFC 4217 for an FTP SSL certificate, RFC 3207 for an SMTP TLS certificate, RFC 2712 for Kerberos, RFC 2595 for IMAP, POP3, ACAP and others.

By buying products that support TLS as a transport, you only need to establish a single certificate for any of your applications. Assuming they're on an individual server, like a DMZ, Internet-facing portal, one certificate would be acceptable.

This was last published in April 2010

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