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OCSP stapling

OCSP stapling

(also TLS Certificate Status Request extension)

OCSP stapling definition

OCSP stapling, alternatively known as the TLS Certificate Status Request extension, refers to a protocol employed by an internet server to determine the revocation status of a security certificate. This method improves the efficiency and privacy of the Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP). It does so by facilitating the server’s conveyance of certificate status data to the client amid the TLS handshake, thus eradicating the requirement for the client to independently request this information from the certificate authority (CA) that issued the certificate.

See also: point-to-point protocol, end-to-end encryption, SSL encryption, certificate authority server

OCSP stapling examples

  • Web browsing: While browsing, OCSP stapling aids the browser in validating the SSL/TLS certificate of a website quickly and efficiently, ensuring that it hasn’t been revoked.
  • E-commerce transactions: Online businesses utilize OCSP stapling to provide a secure, privacy-focused connection for transactions, ensuring the trustworthiness of the site.

Advantages and disadvantages of OCSP stapling


  • Improved efficiency: OCSP stapling reduces the latency in the certificate validation process, making secure connections quicker to establish.
  • Enhanced privacy: It removes the need for the client to communicate directly with the CA, keeping the client’s browsing habits more private.
  • Server control: The server has control over certificate status information, reducing dependence on third-party CA services.


  • Implementation complexity: OCSP stapling can be complex to implement correctly and requires the server to manage certificate status updates regularly.
  • Support limitations: Not all servers or clients support OCSP stapling.

Using OCSP stapling

  • Check your server’s documentation for implementation details. Enabling OCSP stapling can vary depending on the server software.
  • Avoid using a self-signed certificate because OCSP stapling relies on a trusted CA to provide revocation information.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security