When I created my first Google Chrome extension, I followed the labyrinth of instructions to a T and was left with a successfully launched extension. I was also left the new owner of an enigmatic .pem file that I was warned to place in a secure spot and never lose. I conscientiously placed the file in a safe place and possibly made several backups while I was at it. It has been several months now, and while I have launched some more extensions and made quite a few updates, I have, not once, looked back at the .pem file. What is this file that I have been guarding with my life — and would it really be so terrible if I decided to clear out some clutter and delete it?
I have tried to investigate further into what this file is, but for something that is supposedly so crucial, there is very little information out there. The documentation states only:
Do not lose the private key! Keep the .pem file in a secret and secure place; it will be needed to update the extension.
This statement is most definitely untrue, as I have made quite a few updates with nary a glance at the .pem. I also found this question on SO, but the only information provided is that it is needed to:
Update the extension
Again, untrue, and:
Upload a previously packaged extension to the Chrome Web Store (make sure that the file is called key.pem
I am honestly not sure what case that refers to.
I have also managed to glean that the file has something to do with certificates and signing, a topic that I know very little about.
Can someone provide me with a comprehensive explanation of what exactly the .pem is and why, according to everything I’ve come across, I must keep track of it so carefully?