However, even if your website has an SSL certificate, your users might encounter the error message NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID. The invalid certificate authority error might sound intimidating, but you don’t have to panic.

In other words, your browser does not recognize the validity of your certificate. As a safety measure, you are shown this error, so you are aware that something is amiss. There are a lot of things you can do as the owner of the website to detect and fix this issue. What is meant by an error message, and how it appears in different browsers, will be discussed in this tutorial. We will then cover all possible causes of the NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error and how to fix it.

Why is error NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID?

It occurs when your browser is unable to verify the validity of your website’s SSL certificate, as its name suggests. You shouldn’t run into this error if you don’t have a certificate set up for your website or if you are using HTTP, not recommended.

Three primary causes of invalid certificate authority errors can generally be identified. Let’s take a closer look at each one:

1. Your SSL certificate is self-signed. Even though self-signed certificates can save you money, your visitors may run into the error in question since browsers cannot verify their validity. A lot of users are scared away by browser warnings, so this approach is not recommended.

2. Certificates expire after one year. This is a security precaution that SSL certificates follow. You must renew your certificate or automate its renewal one day, and depending on how long it has lasted, you may be able to do so.

3. There is no trust in the source of the certificate. In the same way, as with self-signed certificates, browsers will display an error message if they can’t verify the authority that generated your certificate.

In many cases, browsers will block access to websites to protect their users. An error message often appears with the message “Your connection is not private”. It’s a big problem if it happens on your site, as you might imagine. Occasionally, you may encounter the NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error due to local configuration settings. We will look at how to troubleshoot this error throughout the next sections after showing you the many faces and types of errors that can occur.

Error Variations for NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID

Depending on the browser you’re using, an error can appear differently. Error messages can also be caused by your operating system and your certificate’s configuration.

The following sections will provide a comprehensive overview of the most common browser-specific variations of the NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error.

Google Chrome

This error is immediately identified in Chrome by the browser as a non-private connection. It can’t encrypt your data since the browser doesn’t recognize the validity of your certificate. As a consequence, proceeding at your own risk shall be your responsibility. An example of an error message is shown below:

The following codes are frequently seen in Chrome in connection with this error:

  • NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID
  • NET::ERR_CERT_COMMON_NAME_INVALID (This occurs when the certificate does not match the domain)
  • NET::ERR_CERT_WEAK_SIGNATURE_ALGORITHM
  • NET::ERR_CERTIFICATE_TRANSPARENCY_REQUIRED
  • NET::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID
  • SSL CERTIFICATE ERROR

Chrome identifies the error in every case as coming from the certificate. If you choose, your browser will allow you to access the website, but it warns you not to.

Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla warns you right away that you may have encountered a potential security threat. Moreover, this browser explains potential causes better than Chrome, so don’t panic and don’t press the panic button.

According to the error message, this is how it reads:

Firefox detected an issue and did not continue to domain.com. The website is either misconfigured or your computer clock is set to the wrong time. It’s likely the website’s certificate is expired, which prevents Firefox from connecting securely. If you visit this site, attackers could try to steal information like your passwords, emails, or credit card details.

Unlike other error variations, this does not require a specific error code. You will also usually find on the screen one or more of the following codes:

  • SEC_ERROR_UNKNOWN_ISSUER
  • SSL_ERROR_RX_MALFORMED_HANDSHAKE
  • MOZILLA_PKIX_ERROR_KEY_PINNING_FAILURE
  • SEC_ERROR_REUSED_ISSUER_AND_SERIAL

You need to keep a copy of the error code you see if you see one of the above. The browser will tell you where it went wrong with the page. We have found that simply searching for a particular error code often leads to a quick solution.

Microsoft Edge

Below you can see an error message you might recognize from Microsoft Edge. There’s almost no difference between it and the message Chrome displays:

There are also a variety of error types, such as:

  • DLG_FLAGS_SEC_CERTDATE_INVALID
  • DLG_FLAGS_INVALID_CA
  • DLG_FLAGS_SEC_CERT_CN_INVALID
  • NET::ERR_CERT_COMMON_NAME_INVALID
  • ERROR CODE: O

The error messages are similar to those that appeared on Chrome; they reveal what’s causing NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID.

Safari

You’ll see a variation of the ‘This connection is not private’ error in Safari, which indicates there is something wrong with the site’s encryption and certificate. You’ll see a message that reads as follows:

This website may be impersonating “domain.com” to steal your personal or financial information. You should go back to the previous page.

invalid

An expired certificate is responsible for that error. NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID errors are commonly caused by expired certificates, as we mentioned before.

How to Fix the NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID Error

After you know what the error looks like in most major browsers, you can move on to how to fix it. We discussed its causes earlier. The configuration on your local computer can also trigger it in certain cases, as we mentioned.

The problem can thus be solved in many ways.

1. Run an SSL Server Test

During the process of setting up your SSL certificate, something may have gone wrong. A user installs the certificate manually, rather than through their web host, so that can often result in that.

Use an SSL check tool, such as Qualys SSL Labs’, to check if your certificate has been installed properly. There is no charge to use this tool. The error can be resolved by typing in the domain name, clicking on Submit, and then entering the path to where the error is appearing:

invalid

You’ll get your results after a few minutes. The ideal result is to get an A+ on all of your certificates.

Check out the list of certificates as soon as you don’t receive a perfect score. If the certificate is trusted, there should be a section that tells you so. You will need to install a trusted certificate instead if the tool returns a negative result.

2. Renew Your SSL Certificate

It is important to periodically renew SSL certificates for security reasons. To maintain the validity of your certificates, your domain’s ‘identity’ must be verified during the renewal process. A free certificate from Let’s Encrypt renews every 90 days, while a paid certificate has a longer lifespan.

The certificate needs to be renewed manually at the end of the term if your hosting company does not handle it for you. If your certificate expires, Let’s Encrypt will contact you in advance, so you can renew it. Your control panel may not offer renewal options, though, depending on the web host you choose.

Certbot can be used to install and renew SSL certificates from the command line if you have access to your server.

Ensure that your SSL certificate has been renewed before reloading the site to see if the errors persist.

3. Reload the page (or use Incognito mode)

You may need to try troubleshooting your computer directly if none of the above fixes worked.

 When you reload the page, the NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error usually disappears on its own. To do so takes just a second, so there’s no harm in giving it a shot.

We recommend that you access the website through an ‘incognito mode’ if your browser offers it if the error persists across multiple reloads.

Your browser is likely trying to load an outdated cached version of the page if the page loads fine in incognito mode. This provides you with enough information to solve the problem directly (as we will see in the next section).

4. Remove all cookies and cache from your browser

Your browser’s cache might be the cause of the NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error if switching to incognito mode fixed the issue. Your browser’s instructions vary depending on how you clear the cache and cookies.

To avoid deleting your entire cache, you can try force reloading your website specifically. It is recommended that you clear your cache if force refreshing does not work.

5. Sync the clock on your computer

The most common reason for NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID is that the date or time on your computer is incorrect. To clarify, online certificate verification can be interfered with by errors in your device’s clock.

It’s a simple fix if this is the problem. You can adjust the time on your computer in seconds if you notice a discrepancy. Your Operating System (OS) will determine how this is done.

6. Change the network you are using

When using a public network, such as the ones found in coffee shops or tourist attractions, the NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error can appear. Networks like these often don’t handle traffic securely, causing this error to occur.

You can access your website through your smartphone using its mobile data if you are using a public network for your computer. In this case, you are trying to determine whether the original network was the cause of the problem.

You may need to switch networks if the problem disappears when you’re using mobile data. Signing up for a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is another way to protect your privacy if you regularly use public Internet access.

Using an unsecured point of access won’t affect the security of your data if you’re using a VPN service. As long as you’re always on the move, using a VPN service might cost you, but it’s well worth it.

7. Deactivate your VPN software or antivirus software

The service itself may trigger the NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID error if you’re already using a VPN. Virus scanners are also prone to triggering it. As a last resort, we recommend temporarily turning off your VPN and disabling your anti-virus software. Once you have accessed your site again, make sure the page isn’t loading from your web browser’s cache by using force refresh.

Re-enable each service separately and see if the error still occurs. If it does, try disabling and enabling them again. The problem will probably be immediately apparent. If this doesn’t work, you might want to try updating the software, or perhaps contact its support team for assistance.

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