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Manual Chapter: About SSL Profiles
Manual Chapter
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About SSL Profiles

About SSL profiles

When you want the BIG-IP system to process application traffic over SSL, you can configure the system to perform the SSL handshake that destination servers normally perform. This ability for the BIG-IP system to offload SSL processing from a destination server is an important feature of the BIG-IP system.

The most common way to configure the BIG-IP system is to create a Client SSL profile, which makes it possible for the BIG-IP system to decrypt client requests before sending them on to a server, and encrypt server responses before sending them back to the client.

Within a Client SSL profile specifically, you can specify multiple certificate/key pairs, one per key type. This enables the system to accept all types of cipher suites that a client might support as part of creating a secure connection. The system then decrypts the client data, manipulates any headers or payload according to the way that you configured the Client SSL profile, and by default, sends the request in clear text to the target server for processing.

For those sites that require enhanced security on their internal network, you can configure a Server SSL profile. With a Server SSL profile, the BIG-IP system re-encrypts the request before sending it to the destination server. When the server returns an encrypted response, the BIG-IP system decrypts and then re-encrypts the response, before sending the response back to the client.

About OCSP stapling

When you create a Client SSL profile, you can specify OCSP stapling to improve the certification response time. OCSP stapling is when a TLS server (acting as OCSP client) asks the OCSP server for a valid revocation status of its TLS certificate ahead of time and "staples" the signed OCSP response to the TLS handshake. The TLS client sees the stapled OCSP response and verifies the signature, thus validating the TLS server’s certificate and eliminating the round trip at the client for fetching the certificate status. It also helps protect the identity of the client.

By default, OCSP stapling is disabled. You can enable OCSP stapling by selecting an OCSP Stapling profile, when you create a Client SSL profile. There is no default OCSP Stapling profile, so you must create one that specifies the parameters you want to use. For example, the default OCSP stapling profile setting is to use a DNS resolver to fetch the OCSP response, and you must specify the DNS resolver to use. Alternatively, you can choose to use a proxy server to fetch the OCSP response, and then you must specify the proxy server pool. After you create and save an OSCP Stapling profile, it appears in the OCSP Stapling Parameters list on the Client SSL profile screen.

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