How to Correct a Certificate Error

By Marguerite Lance

Occasionally, individuals will encounter certificate errors when online. Certificate errors occur when using secure sites like banking websites. If using Microsoft Internet Explorer, a pop up will read, "There is a problem with this website's security certificate,” while Mozilla Firefox's pop up will read, "Security connection failed,” and Google Chrome's pop up will read, "The server's security certificate is not yet valid!"Certificate errors occur because your computer is set to the wrong date or time, the security certificate has expired or the website is not secure.

Step 1

Check to ensure the computer is set to the correct date and time. To check the time, look at the computer's clock, usually located in the lower right hand corner. To check the date, use the mouse to move the cursor to hover over the time—the date will appear.

Step 2

Double click on the time if the time or date is incorrect.

Step 3

Enter the correct date and time in the pop-up window using the keyboard.

Step 4

Navigate away from the page immediately if the date or time are correct or if the security certificate error still appears after correcting the computer's date or time. At this point the website is not secure and cannot be trusted. The security certificate may have expired and needs to be renewed.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the user is familiar with the site, it may be desirable to contact the site's owners and inform them of the certificate error.
  • If the user is not familiar with the site and receives a certificate error, the site may never be secure. It would be wise to not only navigate away from the site but to also never return to that website.
  • Never enter any personal information into a website that issues a certificate error.