The CSR cannot be decoded?

When you generate and install ssl certificate on the server, first you need to generate Certificate Signing Request (CSR) on the server where you want to install the SSL certificate. You can can also generate the CSR before ordering an SSL certificate.

How CSR Error Generate

A CSR is an encoded text string or file that consist information about your server and domain. When you generate a CSR, most server software asks for the following information: common name (e.g.,, organization name and location (country, state/province, city/town), key type (typically RSA), and key size (2048-bit minimum).

This information of CSR is verified and signed by CA of your choice. When you submit the CSR for certificate generation - it may show error:

The CSR cannot be decoded.


The CSR is invalid

or some similar error depends on certifying authority (CA).

Major cause of CSR Error

  • During CSR generation you have not provided all required information i.e. some vital information is missing.
  • You may have put some alphanumeric characters ( - ) ( ! @ # $ % ^ & * +) in required fields.
  • Leading or trailing character may be missing from CSR.
  • May be any character lost from string body.
  • There could be space character or newline (\n) or tab (\t) at leading or trailing positions.
  • You may have copied all text from CSR file including commented text.

How to solve CSR cannot be decoded error?

  • Take care there should be no leading and trailing space or newline (\n) or tab (\t) and no character is missing from the encrypted code/ text.
  • Make sure you have the correct file copied and not your self-signed certificate, your previous SSL, or if it is bundled as a PKCS7 or PKCS12. Or, you could have a pass-phrase that does not have alpha-numeric characters or disallowed characters.
  • If this is the case, you will need to generate a new CSR without the disallowed characters or in the proper form. Please only use the English alphabet and numbers 0-9. For example, if the "&" symbol is included in your Organization Name, please type out "and" instead.

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Posted: January 27, 2018
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