One of the things that anyone running a website needs to be aware of is SSL! SSL is a really important part of the security of the modern internet.
And, having working and valid SSL certificates for your website not only helps with security, but also helps to show users that you’re taking security seriously.
So, if you’re getting SSL errors, you might wonder what they are, and if there’s anything you can do about them! We’ll help you find out what you need to know.
What Is An SSL Certificate?
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer. It is a way of maintaining a secure connection between two computers.
SSL helps provide security to web users, An SSL certificate can be thought of as essentially a digital signature that lets the identity of your website be authenticated.
With an SSL certificate, your website can essentially “prove” to browsers that access it that it is authentic. Without one, or with SSL errors, your website appears elss trustworthy to users. So, getting any SSL errors fixed is essential!
What Is An SSL Certificate Error?
An SSL error is a problem with the SSL certificate on your website. SSL certificates are a very important part of securing the online world. Normally, a user of your website shouldn’t ever experience an SSL error.
However, if SSL errors occur, they can interfere with the normal functioning of your website.
As SSL helps to secure things like login details, bank accounts, personal information, and so on, getting problems with SSL can both stop your website working as intended, and can also make users unlikely to trust your website.
Different Types Of SSL Error
There are many reasons why an SSL error can happen to your website. If you have any of these, then it is extremely important that you take the appropriate steps to fix them as soon as possible.
If you don’t, you could well disrupt the functionality of your website. You can also make it less likely for visitors to want to use your website or services if you don’t fix them.
SSL errors not only make things less secure, they can also indicate a website that isn’t well maintained – which is a bad look for any visitors to your site.
Certificate Has Expired
SSL certificates all have a set expiry date. Once that expiry date has been passed, the SSL certificate will no longer be valid, and therefore won’t function. Any web browser that visits the site and is presented with the expired certificate will reject it as invalid.
This is one of the most common types of SSL error that many people see. Keeping your SSL certificates up to date can prevent this from occurring.
Certificate Is Inactive
Likewise, SSL certificates also have a start date. And, just as with the expiry date on an SSL certificate, the start date is also an important part of the SSL certificate that will prevent its usage if used before this date.
SSL certificates that are presented to a browser before their start date will also be rejected, just as if they were presented after their expiry date. So, it’s also important to make sure that your SSL certificates are active when they’re deployed.
Certificate Lifetime Is Invalid
Furthermore, there’s actually a maximum time limit on any SSL certificate. In the past, SSL certificates didn’t have this time limit.
Nowadays, however, an SSL certificate has an absolute maximum lifespan of 398 days. So, any certificates with a longer lifespan than this are invalid.
Certificate Chain Is Invalid
An SSL certificate isn’t just a single bit of data that your website gives to a browser to provide authentication – there’s actually a pretty complex and involved chain of certificates involved in authenticating that your SSL certificate is authentic and valid.
If the browser that’s visiting your website can’t complete checks on this chain of certificates, then the authentication of the SSL certificate will fail.
Certificate Has An Insecure Signature Algorithm
One of the things that makes current day SSL so secure is that it no longer uses the old algorithm SHA-1 for security. SHA-1 can’t be relied on for security, and in fact hasn’t been considered secure since 2005.
Modern web browsers haven’t accepted SSL certificates that use SHA-1 since 2017. So, any certificates you have that still use SHA-1 are completely out of date, insecure, and need to be replaced.
Certificate Authority Is Untrusted
Part of the security that SSL certificates provide comes from having trusted authorities that your web browser can check with to validate any SSL certificates that they’re presented with.
If the company that issues your SSL certificates isn’t a trusted certificate authority, or if you’re using a self-signed certificate, then this can be a cause of SSL errors. Therefore, always get your SSL certificates from a reliable source.
Certificate Lacks Hostname
SSL certificates have to have a valid hostname that matches the website that they’re issued to. This is an important security feature of SSL certificates.
If your SSL certificates don’t have a valid and matching hostname, they’ll fail security authentication and will be rejected. Therefore, all of your SSL certificates must have the correct hostname in order to prevent them from being rejected.
Certificate Has Been Revoked
SSL certificates aren’t always valid just because they’ve been issued. It’s possible for SSL certificates to be revoked. SSL certificates can be revoked at any time, and are commonly revoked when they have been compromised.
This is a security measure that stops certificates that have been compromised from remaining in use by unscrupulous actors. If you’re getting an SSL error telling you that your certificate has been revoked, then you’ll need to replace the certificate.
It’s also of course a good idea to find out why the certificate was revoked in the first place, as it can help you fix any security holes.
Certificate Has Missing Or Incorrect Information
If any of the information associated with your SSL certificate isn’t correct, and fails verification, then it can result in an SSL error and an invalid certificate.
If the SSL certificate fails a basic check like this, then it can be a sign that it wasn’t issued by a reliable authority.
Hopefully this guide has helped you to learn about SSL errors!