Seeing a security error message when you visit what you think is a safe website is very concerning. If it is a site where you planned on putting in confidential data or credit card info, like a banking site or one using PayPal, alarm bells are likely going off in your head. That is probably followed by frustration!
However, seeing a website security certificate error message doesn’t always mean there is a major problem. It often can be fixed quickly and easily.
When you go to a website, are you getting an error message something like this:
“There is a problem with this website’s security certificate. The security certificate presented by this website has expired or is not yet valid.”
There are a few different possible solutions for this website security certificate problem. We’d suggest that you start at the top of the list and work your way down.
1. Check the website address. Website security certificates are configured to very specific website addresses. If you typed in the address using http:// but not, www, try using www. It could be that the security certificate only applies to the www address.
2. Check your computer’s clock. As funny as its sounds, many website security certificate problems can be fixed by making sure your computer’s clock has the right time, day and year. At times the clock can get out of sync and make your web browser think the certificate isn’t valid. You can reset the clock by:
For most Windows users:
- Click on the time and date in the notification area in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen.
- Click on “Change date and time settings …”
- See if the clock is set right and change it if need be.
For Windows 8 users:
- From the Start Menu Charms click Settings.
- In Desktop Settings, click “More PC settings”.
- In PC Settings, click General to check and reset the time if necessary.
3. Check into the site. There are times when websites do not update their security certificates. If it is a company or institution you have a relationship with, contact them and explain the problem. In other cases, it might be best to look for alternative websites.
Website security certificates are designed to keep users safe. Sometimes users might encounter alarming security certificate messages. These are usually cleaned up quickly by following the steps above.