Some IE/IIS issues may involve client certificate. It always took me hours to deploy a test website that requires client certificate. Therefore, I am going to write this blog to record every steps including: creating self-signed root CA, server certificate, client certificate and configuring IIS.


IIS server iis-lab-server @ Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard
Client machine iis-lab-client @ Windows 7 Enterprise
Applications makecert.exe and pvk2pfx.exe. You can find the two EXEs from a system with Visual Studio installed. On a Windows 10 x64 PC with VS2015 installed, you can get them from: C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\10\bin\x64.

Step 1: Creating self-signed root CA

  1. Create directory: c:\cert on the IIS server.
  2. Copy makecert.exe and pvk2pfx.exe to c:\cert.
  3. Save following content as c:\cert\CreateCARoot.cmd.

    makecert.exe ^
    -n "CN=IIS Lab CARoot" ^
    -r ^
    -pe ^
    -a sha512 ^
    -len 4096 ^
    -cy authority ^
    -sv CARoot.pvk ^
    pvk2pfx.exe ^
    -pvk CARoot.pvk ^
    -spc CARoot.cer ^
    -pfx CARoot.pfx ^
    -po Password1
  4. Run CMD and execute c:\cert\CreateCARoot.cmd.

  5. Enter password: Password1 in following three password prompt dialogs.

  6. It will create three files: CARoot.cerCARoot.pfx and CARoot.pvk.

  7. Run mmc on the IIS server to launch Console.

  8. Press Ctrl+M or click File → Add/Remove Snap-in, select Certificates, click Add >.

  9. Choose Computer account and then click Next.

  10. Keep default settings, click Finish, then click OK.

  11. Right click Trusted Root Certification Authorities → Certificate, choose All Tasks → Import.

  12. Click Next, choose the self-signed root CA: CARoot.cer and then click Next.

  13. Keep default settings, click Next and then click Finish.

  14. The self-signed CA root will appear in the list.

  15. Copy the CARoot.cer to the client machine and import it using the same steps.

Step 2: Creating self-signed server certificate

  1. Save following content as c:\cert\CreateServerCertificate.cmd on the IIS server.

    makecert.exe ^
    -n "" ^
    -iv CARoot.pvk ^
    -ic CARoot.cer ^
    -pe ^
    -a sha512 ^
    -len 4096 ^
    -b 01/01/2014 ^
    -e 01/01/2040 ^
    -sky exchange ^
    -eku ^
    -sv ServerCert.pvk ^
    pvk2pfx.exe ^
    -pvk ServerCert.pvk ^
    -spc ServerCert.cer ^
    -pfx ServerCert.pfx ^
    -po Password1
  2. Run CMD and execute c:\cert\CreateServerCertificate.cmd.

  3. Enter password: Password1 in all password prompt dialogs.
  4. It will create three files: ServerCert.cerServerCert.pfx and ServerCert.pvk.
  5. Go to the Certificate Console on the IIS server, right click Personal → Certificate, choose All Tasks → Import.
  6. Change the file extension to *.pfx* when selecting certificate and choose ServerCert.pfx we just created.

  7. The self-signed server certificate will appear in the list.

Step 3: Creating self-signed client certificate

  1. Save following content as c:\cert\CreateClientCertificate.cmd on the IIS server.

    makecert.exe ^
    -n "CN=AnyClientInIISLab" ^
    -iv CARoot.pvk ^
    -ic CARoot.cer ^
    -pe ^
    -a sha512 ^
    -len 4096 ^
    -b 01/01/2014 ^
    -e 01/01/2040 ^
    -sky exchange ^
    -eku ^
    -sv ClientCert.pvk ^
    pvk2pfx.exe ^
    -pvk ClientCert.pvk ^
    -spc ClientCert.cer ^
    -pfx ClientCert.pfx ^
    -po Password1
  2. Run CMD and execute c:\cert\CreateClientCertificate.cmd.

  3. Enter password: Password1 in all password prompt dialogs.
  4. It will create three files: ClientCert.cerClientCert.pfx and ClientCert.pvk.
  5. Copy ClientCert.pfx to the client machine.
  6. On client machine, go to Management Console, add a new certificate snap-in, choose My user account this time (not Computer account).

  7. Import ClientCert.pfx into Current user → Personal → Certificate on the client machine, the password is Password1.

  8. The self-signed client certificate will appear in the list.

Step 4: Creating IIS website that requires client certificate

  1. Install IIS onto the IIS server, make sure that security components: IIS Client Certificate Mapping Authentication and Client Certificate Mapping Authentication are installed together.

  2. Open IIS manager (inetmgr.exe), there is a Default Web Site, next we will configure it to require client certificate.

  3. Right click Default Web Site and click Edit Bindings....

  4. We are going to add HTTPS 443 port for Default Web Site. Click Add, select https for Type, choose the self-signed server certificate we created in step 2 for SSL Certificate.

  5. Default Web Site is now a HTTPS site, we can verify it by browsing to from the client machine.

  6. However the website currently does not require any client certificate, next let’s configure it to use client certificate.

  7. Go to Default Web Site → SSL Settings.

  8. Enable Require SSL, choose Require for Client certificate and then click Apply to save the settings.

  9. Now we can use the client certificate to authenticate the website, next we are going to configure many-to-one certificate mapping.

  10. Go to Default Web Site → Configuration Editor.

  11. Select section: system.webServer/security/authentication/iisClientCertificateMappingAuthentication.

  12. Choose True for enabled, click the ... button in manyToOneMappings field to add a many-to-one mapping rule.

  13. Click Add.

  14. Configure as below.

    description Whatever description text
    enable True
    name Whatever name
    password The login password of the windows account you want the certificate to be mapped to
    permissionMode Allow
    rules You can add rules as you want, like let the server to check whether the certificate is signed by the correct CA root.
    userName The windows account you want the certificate to be mapped to

  15. Close the window after you complete configuration. You will see the count of manyToOneMappings increases to 1. Click Apply to save the changes.

  16. Let’s verify from the client machine, open IE and browse to, you will see the client certificate selection prompt. The website can be accessed by choosing the self-signed client certificate we created. If you cancel the prompt (means not using any client certificate) or choose a wrong client certificate, you will encounter 403 Access Denied error.

  17. If you don’t see the client certificate selection prompt, it might because you have only one client certificate exists and IE security setting: Don't prompt for client certificate selection when only one certificate exists is enabled. You should be able to see the prompt after disabling the setting of the security zone that the site is mapped to.

    Reblogged and Credits goes to:


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