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In order to configure cert-manager to begin issuing certificates, first Issuer or ClusterIssuer resources must be created. These resources represent a particular signing authority and detail how the certificate requests are going to be honored. You can read more on the concept of Issuers here.

cert-manager supports multiple issuer 'in-tree' types that are denoted by being in the group. cert-manager also supports external issuers than can be installed into your cluster that belong to other groups. These external issuer types behave no different and are treated equal to in tree issuer types.