Service provider encryption
If you built your own service provider to connect to GOV.UK Verify, you are responsible for keeping its encryption and signing certificates up to date.
If your service provider does not support dual running for your encryption keys, there will be an outage when you replace the encryption key. Find out more about the process in the instructions for running service providers that cannot dual run.
If you’re using the Verify Service Provider, see how to update your Verify Service Provider keys.
Rotate your service provider encryption key and certificate
Step 1. Create a new self-signed encryption certificate
Use your preferred method to generate a new private key and self-signed certificate pair.
Make sure the private key is PKCS #8 formatted and PEM encoded.
The self-signed certificate must be:
- valid for one year
- in X.509 format and PEM encoded
Generate your private key and self-signed certificate: The terminal will prompt you for information. You must provide a The There is no mandatory naming convention for For example, the common name could be
See an example
openssl req -x509 -newkey rsa:2048 -days 365 -nodes -sha256 \
-keyout <private-key>.key -out <certificate>.crt
Common Name. All other information is optional.
Common Name is the part of the certificate metadata that helps you identify that certificate more easily. You can use the
Common Name to check you’ve uploaded the right certificate when using the GOV.UK Verify Manage certificates service.
Common Name, but it’s useful during troubleshooting if you include the:
Common Name must not contain underscores.
Generate your private key and self-signed certificate:
The terminal will prompt you for information. You must provide a
There is no mandatory naming convention for
For example, the common name could be
Step 2. Add the new encryption key and certificate
Add your new service provider private encryption key to your service provider. Your service can now use both the new and old keys to decrypt SAML messages.
Step 3. Upload the new encryption certificate
Upload your new encryption certificate to the GOV.UK Verify Manage certificates service.
This starts a deployment process to replace your old service provider encryption certificate with the new one in the GOV.UK Verify Hub configuration. During deployment the GOV.UK Verify Hub will continue to use your old certificate. The deployment process does not cause any connection downtime.
When the deployment is complete, the GOV.UK Verify Hub will be using your new certificate to encrypt messages for your service.
The deployment process takes approximately 10 minutes. You will receive an email confirmation when the GOV.UK Verify Hub starts using your new encryption certificate. You can also check the deployment status on the GOV.UK Verify Manage certificates service dashboard.
Wait for deployment confirmation before moving to the next step.
Step 4. Delete the old encryption key
The email from the GOV.UK Verify team confirms that GOV.UK Verify Hub is now using your new certificate to encrypt messages for your service. This means you can remove the old encryption key from your service provider configuration.
Once you’ve removed the old encryption key, your service provider only uses the new encryption key to decrypt messages from GOV.UK Verify Hub.