How to Fix Certificate Verification Error as a Site Owner and User?

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Fix Certificate Verification Error

Despite refreshing the page or adjusting your browser’s settings multiple times, the Certificate Verification Error doesn’t get fixed or resolved. So, the foremost important question that arises here is – Are there any ways, techniques, or methods that can make this error disappear? The answer to this query is – “Yes, there are!”

But, before we start analyzing or exploring those methods, it would be best to comprehend – “What the Certificate Verification Error is” and “Why it occurs.”

What is the Certificate Verification Error?

The Certificate Verification Error is a common issue internet users and website administrators face. It mainly emerges when a web browser cannot ascertain (verify) the legitimacy of a website’s SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate.

The Certificate Verification Error can manifest in “n” number of forms, such as an – SSL Certificate Not Trusted, Name Mismatch, Mixed Content, Expired SSL Certificate, SSL Certificate Revoked, or a Generic SSL Protocol Error. Each type indicates a specific issue with the website’s SSL certificate. (An SSL cert is essential for encrypting data and ensuring secure communication between the user (browser) and the website.)

What Causes the Certificate Verification Error?

Some of the common causes that lead to Certificate Verification Error are:

  1. SSL Certificate Not Trusted Error: It pops up when a trusted Certificate Authority does not issue the SSL cert.
  2. Name Mismatch Error: This error emerges when the domain name on the certificate doesn’t match the website’s domain (when there is a mismatch).
  3. Mixed Content Error: It arises when a secure (HTTPS) website contains unsecured (HTTP) elements.
  4. Expired SSL Certificate Error: This error appears when the SSL certificate has expired.
  5. SSL Certificate Revoked Error: This indicates that the issuing CA has revoked the SSL certificate.
  6. Generic SSL Protocol Error: It symbolizes a general error resulting from various SSL-related issues such as – lack of digital signature, improperly formatted SSL certificate, outdated encryption algorithm, use of firewall, issue with chain of trust, etc.

How do you Resolve the Certificate Verification Error as a Site Owner?

You can utilize these methods as a site owner to resolve or fix this error. Start from the top and continue till the last (end). One of these methods will surely make the error disappear:

  1. Verify You Have an SSL Certificate Installed
  2. Edit Your Whois Email Address
  3. Identify the Issue Using SSL Diagnosis Tools
  4. Implement Intermediate SSL Certificates
  5. Create and Submit a New Certificate Signing Request
  6. Switch to a Dedicated IP Address for Your Site
  7. Utilize a Wildcard SSL Certificate (If Required)
  8. Convert All Site URLs to Secure HTTPS
  9. Renew Your Expired SSL Certificate

Let’s explore each of the methods mentioned above in depth.

Method 1: Verify You Have an SSL Certificate Installed

Verify the presence of the SSL cert on your website. To do this, observe the – URL structure. It should start with https:// instead of http://. The presence of the trust indicator – “Padlock icon” in the browser’s address bar also denotes the presence of the SSL certificate.

Method 2: Update Whois Email for SSL Validation

For websites, particularly those on CMS Hub, SSL errors might stem from discrepancies in registration information, like an outdated or missing Whois email. Ensuring that the Whois email is current and matches your domain registration details is crucial for SSL certificate authentication and smooth functioning. Hence, update your Whois email in your DNS provider’s settings and verify whether the issue persists.

Method 3: Identify the Issue Using SSL Diagnosis Tools

Before attempting to fix an SSL certificate error, diagnosing the root problem can save a lot of time and effort. Online SSL diagnosis tools like – SSL Certificate Checker can help identify the exact issue with the SSL certificate. All you need to do is enter your – website’s URL into the tool. The tool will thoroughly inspect and display a detailed report incorporating information like – OSCP Stable, OSCP Origin, CRL Status, etc.

Method 4: Implement Intermediate SSL Certificates

If the error is due to the CA not being trusted, installing an intermediate certificate on your web server can help. This establishes the trustworthiness of your website’s certificate. All you need is to:

  1. Obtain an intermediate certificate from your SSL provider or web host.
  2. Follow the specific instructions for your server type to install the intermediate certificate.
  3. Verify the installation using an SSL Checker tool.

Method 5: Create and Submit a New Certificate Signing Request

A ‘certificate not trusted’ error might indicate incorrect installation. Generating a new CSR and reissuing the certificate can resolve this. Here are the steps to do the same:

  1. Generate a new CSR from your server.
  2. Submit the CSR to your certificate provider for reissuing.
  3. Follow the provider’s instructions to install the new certificate.

Method 6: Switch to a Dedicated IP Address for Your Site

For a ‘name mismatch’ error, the issue might be due to sharing an IP address with other sites. A dedicated IP address ensures your site is correctly identified. Follow the steps mentioned below to switch to a dedicated IP address:

  1. Contact your hosting provider.
  2. Ensure the SSL certificate is correctly installed on the new IP.
  3. Test the website to confirm the resolution of the error.

Method 7: Utilize a Wildcard SSL Certificate

If you have multiple subdomains, a wildcard SSL certificate can secure all of them along with your primary domain, resolving ‘name mismatch’ errors.

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Method 8: Convert All Site URLs to Secure HTTPS

A ‘mixed content’ error occurs when secure and insecure elements are mixed on a page. Ensuring all elements use HTTPS can fix the Certificate Verification Errors.

To accomplish the same, follow these steps:

  1. Identify insecure elements on your page using tools like WhyNoPadLock.
  2. Edit the source code to change all URLs from HTTP to HTTPS.
  3. Recheck the page to ensure the error is resolved.

Method 7: Renew and Update Your Expired SSL Certificate

For an expired SSL certificate, immediate renewal is crucial. The renewal process generally involves three key steps, regardless of your web host or Certificate Authority. First, generate a new Certificate Signing Request. Next, activate your certificate through your web host or CA. Finally, install the renewed certificate on your server.

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How do you Resolve the Certificate Verification Error as a User?

You can utilize these methods as a user to resolve or fix Certificate Validation Error. Again, start from the top and continue till the last (end).

  • Verify Date and Time Settings
  • Clear Stored SSL Certificates on Your Computer
  • Clear Cache and Cookies

Method 1: Verify Date and Time Settings

Your device’s incorrect date and time settings can lead to a Certificate Verification Error. Thus, confirm and double-check your system’s date and time settings. If they need to be corrected, modify them and see if the error persists.

Follow the steps given below to adjust these settings:

  • Click Search, placed on the taskbar.
  • Type Set the time zone automatically and press Enter.
  • Click on the Set time automatically toggle button.
  • Click on the Set time zone automatically toggle button.

Method 2: Clear Stored SSL Certificates on Your Computer

If the Certificate Verification Error persists, clearing your computer’s stored SSL certificates might resolve it. This process prompts your browser to recheck and revalidate the SSL certificate of the website on your next visit.

Follow the steps given below to accomplish the same:

  • Click Search, placed on the taskbar.
  • Type Internet Options and press Enter.
  • The Internet Properties window will appear.
  • Click on the Content tab.
  • Under the Certificates section, click Clear SSL State.
  • You will receive a message stating that SSL State was successfully cleared.

Method 3: Clear Browser Cache

Cached data and cookies might contain outdated security configurations. These outdated security configurations can give rise to SSL Certificate Verification Error.

Follow the steps mentioned below to clear the browser cache and cookies:

  • Open a fresh tab in Chrome.
  • Click on Customize and control Google Chrome icon (three vertical dots).
  • From the list, select More Tools, and click Clear browsing data.
  • Select the Time range from the list in the Clear browsing data dialog box.
  • Check the checkbox before the Browsing history option.
  • Check the checkbox in front of the Cookies and other site data options.
  • Check the checkbox in front of the Cached images and files option.
  • Click Clear data.

Conclusion

Resolving Certificate Verification Errors involves a systematic approach, whether you’re a – “site owner” or a simple “user.”

Site owners need to ensure proper SSL certificate installation, update registration details like Whois email, and consider technical solutions like intermediate certificates or dedicated IP addresses for specific SSL errors. Users, on the other hand, can often rectify these errors by adjusting their device’s date and time settings, clearing stored SSL certificates, and managing browser cache.

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