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Even if you have installed an SSL certificate on your site, your users may encounter the NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error. Despite its ominous name, a certificate invalidation error is nothing to panic about.
How To Clear Certificate Errors In Internet Explorer
In short, your browser does not recognize the validity of your certificate. To keep you “safe”, it displays this error so you are aware that something fishy is going on. However, as a website owner, there are many things you can do to fix the problem.
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In this guide, we will talk about what the error message means and what it looks like in different browsers. Next, we’ll teach you how to fix the NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error by covering all its possible causes.
As the error name suggests, this problem occurs when your browser is unable to verify the validity of your site’s SSL certificate. If you have not configured a certificate or are using HTTP for your site, which is not recommended, you should not encounter this error.
In general, there are three main reasons why certification authorities fail. Let’s break each down in turn:
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Remember that every time a user visits a website with an SSL certificate, their browser must validate and decrypt it. If there are any errors in the process, they will see an alert.
In many cases, browsers actively prevent users from accessing the site to protect them. This often comes in the form of a “Your connection is not private” error. As you can imagine, this is a big problem if it happens on your own site.
Sometimes you may encounter NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error due to local configuration settings. Over the next few sections, we’ll show you the many ways this error can appear, and then we’ll talk about how to fix the problem.
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The way the error is displayed may be slightly different depending on which browser you are using. Your operating system and certificate configuration can also play a role in the various error messages that appear.
With that in mind, let’s look at the most common versions of the NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error, browser by browser.
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When you encounter this error in Chrome, the browser immediately tells you that your connection is not private. Because the browser doesn’t recognize the validity of your certificate, it can’t encrypt your data.
This means that if you continue, you do so at your own risk. This is what the error message looks like:
In all cases, Chrome finds the source of the error in the certificate. The browser allows you to continue to the site if you choose, but it warns you not to.
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Firefox doesn’t waste time telling you that you’ve encountered a potential security risk. Also, this browser does a better job than Chrome of explaining possible causes and telling you not to panic.
Firefox detected a problem and did not proceed to domain.com. The website is either configured incorrectly or your computer’s clock is set to the wrong time. It’s possible that the website’s certificate has expired, preventing Firefox from connecting securely. If you visit this site, attackers can steal information such as your passwords, email or credit card information.
However, this version of the error does not contain a specific code. In most cases, the screen will also include one of the following symbols:
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If you see an error code like one of the above, be sure to copy it down somewhere. This is the browser’s way of telling you where it went wrong. In our experience, a simple search for a specific error code is often enough to help you find a quick solution.
The Microsoft Edge error message you see below should look familiar. It’s almost identical to the message that Chrome displays, until the accompanying code:
Like Chrome, these error messages will give you an idea of what is causing your NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error.
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If you are a Safari user, you will encounter a variant of the “this connection is not secure” error, which tells you that there is a problem with the site’s certificate and encryption. Here’s what the message says:
This website may impersonate “domain.com” to steal your personal or financial information. You should return to the previous page.
This particular error is due to an expired certificate. As we mentioned earlier, expired certificates are one of the most common causes of the NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error.
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Now that you know what it looks like in most major browsers, it’s time to check out how to fix the NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error. Earlier we talked about the most common reasons for it. However, we also noted that your local configuration may cause it in some cases.
This means that there are many ways to solve this problem. To keep things simple, we’ll start by tackling the three most common culprits, ie. Expired, self-signed and “untrusted” certificates. Then we move on to the general solution.
If you installed your SSL certificate shortly before the error appeared, something may have gone wrong during the setup process. This can often happen if you install the certificate manually instead of through your web host.
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The easiest way to check and see that your certificate is installed correctly is to use an SSL testing tool, such as the one provided by Qualys SSL Labs. This special tool is free to use.
You just need to enter the domain where the error appears and click the Submit button:
Now wait a few minutes for the results. Ideally, you should get A+ with perfect scores for all your certificates:
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If you don’t get a perfect score, scroll down the list of certifications the tool shows you. There should be a section that tells you if your certificate is trusted or not. If the tool gives you a negative result, install a certificate from a trusted source instead.
There’s no excuse for using a self-signed certificate these days. If price is the only factor, you can get a free certificate from Let’s Encrypt. Because it is a valid authority, every browser will recognize the validity of your certificate:
If you are a user, we can help you install your free Let’s Encrypt certificate with a question to click through the control panel:
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However, for some websites you need a free certificate. Free certificates need to be renewed frequently, which can be a hassle. Premium certificates offer several benefits such as data breach insurance, encryption for multiple domains, and more.
Especially for e-commerce sites, it can be worth paying for a premium SSL certificate. If you purchase a certificate, make sure it is from a valid authority to avoid the NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error.
SSL certificates must be updated from time to time for security reasons. The renewal process verifies the “identity” of your domain, without which the certificates will lose some of their validity. Free certificates from Let’s Encrypt renew every 90 days, while paid options have a longer lifetime.
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Once it expires, you’ll need to manually renew your certificate if your web host doesn’t do it for you. In any case, Let’s Encrypt will contact you when your certificate expires so that you can renew it in advance. However, depending on the web host you are using, you may not be able to access the update options through the control panel.
If you’re a customer, we’ll take care of renewing your SSL certificate for you so you don’t have to worry about marking your calendar.
If you have access to your server, you can use the Certbot tool to install and renew SSL certificates via the command line.
How To Fix
After renewing your SSL certificate, try reloading your site to see if the NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error persists.
In many cases, the NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error will disappear by itself when you try to reload the page. It only takes a second to do so it doesn’t hurt to try.
If the error persists after multiple downloads, we recommend that you try to access the site using “incognito mode” if your browser offers this option:
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If a website loads fine in incognito mode, it means that the error is probably caused by your browser trying to load an old cached version of the page. It gives you enough information to solve the problem directly (as we will see in the next section).
If switching to your browser’s incognito mode eliminates the NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error, then the problem is probably related to your browser’s cache.
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