Email validation - AWS Certificate Manager

Email validation

Before the Amazon certificate authority (CA) can issue a certificate for your site, AWS Certificate Manager (ACM) must verify that you own or control all of the domains that you specified in your request. You can perform verification using either email or DNS. This topic discusses email validation.

If you encounter problems using email validation, see Troubleshoot email validation problems.

How email validation works

ACM sends validation email messages to the following five common system emails for each domain. Alternatively, you can specify a superdomain as a validation domain if you wish to receive these emails at that domain instead. Any subdomain up to the minimal website address is valid, and is used as the domain for the email address as the suffix after @. For example, you can receive an email to admin@example.com if you specify example.com as the validation domain for subdomain.example.com.

  • administrator@your_domain_name

  • hostmaster@your_domain_name

  • postmaster@your_domain_name

  • webmaster@your_domain_name

  • admin@your_domain_name

To prove that you own the domain, you must select the validation link included in these emails. ACM also sends validation emails to these same addresses to renew the certificate when the certificate is 45 days from expiry.

Email validation for multi-domain certificate requests using the ACM API or CLI results in an email message being sent by each requested domain, even if the request includes subdomains of other domains in the request. The domain owner needs to validate an email message for each of these domains before ACM can issue the certificate.

Exception to this process

If you request an ACM certificate for a domain name that begins with www or a wild-card asterisk (*), ACM removes the leading www or asterisk and sends email to the administrative addresses. These addresses are formed by pre-pending admin@, administrator@, hostmaster@, postmaster@, and webmaster@ to the remaining portion of the domain name. For example, if you request an ACM certificate for www.example.com, email is sent to admin@example.com rather than to admin@www.example.com. Likewise, if you request an ACM certificate for *.test.example.com, email is sent to admin@test.example.com. The remaining common administrative addresses are similarly formed.

Important

Starting June 2024, ACM no longer supports new email validation through WHOIS contact addresses. For existing certificates, starting October 2024, ACM won't send renewal notices to the domain's WHOIS contact addresses. ACM will continue to send validation emails to the five common system addresses for the requested domain. For more details, see AWS Certificate Manager will discontinue WHOIS lookup for email-validated certificates

Considerations

Observe the following considerations about email validation.

  • You need a working email address registered in your domain in order to use email validation. Procedures for setting up an email address are outside the scope of this guide.

  • Validation applies only to publicly trusted certificates issued by ACM. ACM does not validate domain ownership for imported certificates or for certificates signed by a private CA. ACM cannot validate resources in an Amazon VPC private hosted zone or any other private domain. For more information, see Troubleshooting certificate validation.

  • After you create a certificate with email validation, you cannot switch to validating it with DNS. To use DNS validation, delete the certificate and then create a new one that uses DNS validation.

Certificate expiration and renewal

ACM certificates are valid for 13 months (395 days). Renewing a certificate requires action by the domain owner. ACM begins sending renewal notices to the email addresses associated with the domain 45 days before expiration. The notifications contain a link that the domain owner can click for renewal. Once all listed domains are validated, ACM issues a renewed certificate with the same ARN.

(Optional) Resend validation email

Each validation email contains a token that you can use to approve a certificate request. However, because the validation email required for the approval process can be blocked by spam filters or lost in transit, the token automatically expires after 72 hours. If you do not receive the original email or the token has expired, you can request that the email be resent. For information about how to resend a validation email, see Resend validation email

For persistent problems with email validation, see the Troubleshoot email validation problems section in Troubleshooting.