Understanding Binary and PEM Certificates

Before we delve into the process of converting binary certificates to PEM, let’s understand what binary and PEM certificates are. Binary certificates are encoded in binary format, whereas PEM certificates are encoded in ASCII format.

Binary certificates are used by some programs, but most programs prefer PEM format. PEM certificates have the advantage of being easily readable and shareable.

Advantages of PEM Certificates

PEM certificates offer several advantages over binary certificates. For starters, they are easily readable and shareable. They are also widely supported by most modern programs.

PEM certificates are also more secure than binary certificates. This is because they are encoded in ASCII format, which makes them more difficult to tamper with.

Converting Binary Certificates to PEM

Converting a binary certificate to PEM format is a straightforward process. The first step is to open the binary certificate file in a text editor.

Next, you need to copy the contents of the binary certificate file and paste them into a new text file. You can then save the new text file with a .pem extension.

OpenSSL Commands for Converting Certificates

The easiest way to convert certificates is to use OpenSSL commands. Here are the steps to convert a binary certificate to a PEM certificate using OpenSSL commands:

  1. Open a command prompt or terminal window.
  2. Type the following command to convert the binary certificate to PEM format:


In this command, “certificate.cer” is the name of the binary certificate file, and “certificate.pem” is the name of the PEM certificate file.

  1. Press Enter to execute the command.
  2. The converted PEM certificate will be saved in the same directory as the binary certificate.

Other Formats for Converting Certificates

In addition to binary and PEM certificates, there are several other formats for certificates, including .jks, .pfx, .der, .p12, .crt, and .p7b.

To convert certificates from these formats to PEM, you can use the following OpenSSL commands:

FAQs for Convert Binary Certificate to PEM

What is a binary certificate?

A binary certificate is a certificate that is encoded in binary format. It is a standardized way to represent information digitally, in which all information is in the form of 0s and 1s.

What is a PEM certificate?

PEM (Privacy Enhanced Mail) is a widely adopted method for storing and transmitting cryptographic keys and certificates. It encodes certificate data using base64 encoding, which makes it easy to share and read by humans.

Why do I need to convert my certificate from binary to PEM?

Binary certificates are not as widely supported as PEM certificates. PEM certificates are widely used and supported across many different platforms and devices. Converting a binary certificate to PEM makes it easier to use the certificate across multiple systems.

How do I convert a binary certificate to PEM?

To convert a binary certificate to PEM, you need to use a command-line tool such as OpenSSL. The command to do this is:

openssl x509 -inform DER -in certificate.cer -outform PEM -out certificate.pem

Where, certificate.cer is the path to the binary certificate and certificate.pem is the path to save the PEM certificate.

Can I convert a binary certificate to other formats as well?

Yes, you can convert a binary certificate to several different formats, including DER, PKCS#7, and PKCS#12. The conversion process will vary depending on the format you want to convert the certificate to.

Is there any risk in converting a certificate from binary to PEM?

No, there is no risk in converting a binary certificate to PEM. The conversion process simply changes the encoding of the certificate from binary to base64 encoding, which does not affect the security of the certificate in any way.

Do I need to have advanced technical skills to convert a certificate from binary to PEM?

No, the process of converting a binary certificate to PEM is relatively straightforward and does not require advanced technical skills. However, basic knowledge of command-line tools and OpenSSL is required.