Certificates are an integral part of so-called public key infrastructures and services. A directory service is a basic component of a PKI.

Directory services' main task is to disseminate and distribute certificates. Systems and applications can use standardized protocols to request certificates from a directory service.

In addition, the actual owner can distribute certificates himself. The validation services of a PKI make it possible to use standardized protocols to check the validity of certificates at any time.  

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