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Fortinet provides a great tool for “centralized management, best practices compliance, and workflow automation”: FortiManager. The ability to perform administrative functions from a single pane of glass across a wide variety of Fortinet products, including FortiGates, presents a need to have it, itself, secured from breaches. Besides implementing Trusted Hosts and other security measures, an administrator should ensure that the product uses a trusted certificate.

FortiManager uses a self-signed, untrusted “Fortinet_Local” certificate by default. Here is how to request and implement a CA-signed (Certificate Authority) certificate so the “Your connection isn’t private”/”This site is not secure” error thrown by your browser goes away.

This post assumes you already know how certificates work.

Obtain a CA-Signed Certificate

Generate a CSR

First, generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) to be sent to the CA for signing.

  • From FortiManager, navigate to System Settings > Certificates > Local Certificates
  • Notice that “Fortinet_Local” already exists
  • Click on Create New and fill out the CSR form:

    • Give it a friendly Certificate Name to help you identity the cert
    • Subject Information field corresponds to Common Name/CN and is optional
      • From a security perspective, you should use ID Type: Domain Name and never Host IP
    • Subject Alternative Name (SAN) is mandatory. Prefix the fully-qualified domain name (FQDN) with “DNS:“, such as “”
  • When the CSR has been created, you will see the cert in “PENDING” status:

Have the CSR Signed

  • Select the “PENDING” certificate and click on Download
  • Send the CSR to the Certificate Authority administrator for signing
    • If FortiManager is used internally, there is no need to obtain a cert from a public CA, such as GoDaddy, DigiCert, Comodo, etc.
    • Include in your request to have the certificate returned to you in PEM/Base64-encoded format

Complete the CSR

  • When the CA administrator returns the signed certificate to you, import it into FortiManager (System Settings > Certificates > Local Certificates > Import)
    • Right after import, FortiManager may abruptly kick you out of the browser session. Refresh the browser and log back in
  • The “PENDING” certificate should now contain the Subject information you had entered into the CSR form. Status should show “OK”
  • Selecting the Certificate and clicking “View Certificate Details” should show the CA as the “Issuer”, and under “Extension”, you should find the Subject Alternative Name (SAN) with Content of
  • Optionally, you may upload the CA’s Public and Subordinate CA certs to Certificates > CA Certificates

Configure FortiManager to Use the CA-Signed Cert

  • Navigate to System Settings > Admin > Admin Settings > HTTPS & Web Certificate
    • From the dropdown list, select the CA-signed certificate you generated earlier
    • A reboot is not required
  • Verify that FortiManager is using the new cert by opening a new browser window/session
    • The certificate should show the cert’s FQDN and the CA it was issued by

Your FortiManager instance is now secured with a CA-signed certificate, and your web browser should no longer give you a warning that the site/certificate is untrusted.