SSL Errors, What Are They and What Do They Mean?

SSL Certificate

When browsing the internet you may have gotten the occasional popup informing you that the site you want to browse has a security certificate that is not trustworthy; other variants may include: “the security certificate presented by this site is not trusted” or “the security certificate used by this site was not issued by a trusted certificate authority.” These are known as SSL errors (Secure Socket Layer errors). The message you get informing you of the SSL error will vary depending on the browser you are using.

When you visit a site your browser will check that the site has a SSL certificate and will make sure that the certificate is not expired. It will also check that certificate was issued by a Certificate Authority that the browser trusts. If all these criteria are met, then your browser will connect as normal. It is when the criteria are not met that SSL errors appear.

There are a multitude of issue that can result in SSL errors, but the most prevalent reasons are that:

  1. The site is using a self-signed SSL certificate, these are freely generated on the internet and are commonly used on servers where security is not an issue.
  2. The Site is using a trustworthy SSL certificate, but lacks the proper Certificate Authority.

In the first instance all you would need to do to get rid of the SSL error would be to buy a proper SSL certificate from a credible Certificate provider.

In the second instance you would need to have the SSL certificate installed again but with the proper Certification Authority, which would be included with any purchased SSL bundle.

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