Having an SSL certificate installed should provide peace of mind to anyone using your website. When a NET::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID error suggests there’s something wrong with the certificate, it can prevent visitors from accessing your website until it’s resolved.
This situation can be annoying to site owners and users alike.
The good news is that the NET::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID error is a fairly common issue with many possible causes. There are also a variety of potential solutions you can try to get back on track. These are all relatively simple fixes.
In this post, we’ll break down what NET::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID is, as well as how it may appear in different browsers. Then we’ll give you some methods you can try to fix it. Finally, we’ll have a look at a couple of special cases.
Let’s get started!
What’s the NET::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID Error?
The NET::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID error is often referred to as ‘your connection is not private,’ as this is the message you’ll frequently receive when you encounter it. The most common browser to find this error on is Google Chrome, but there are variations on other browsers as well:
In most cases, the error won’t actually prevent you from accessing the site. You can ignore it and click through to the page you’re trying to visit, but we don’t recommend it.
While the NET::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID error is not unusual and can be easily fixed, it can sometimes indicate a legitimate threat.
There are a few main reasons you may see this error:
- There’s a problem with the user’s computer. This could include a setting on their computer, antivirus software, or the internet connection.
- The browser that is accessing the site is the problem. This could be due to a setting, or the platform could be incompatible with the SSL certificate being used.
- There might be a problem with the certificate itself. In the case of this particular error, the certificate has expired.
While you’ll typically encounter the NET::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID error message when using Chrome, other browsers have their own version of the error. Your operating system will also affect the exact message you see.
Let’s have a look at a few of the variations.
The error text in Chrome explicitly states that your connection is not private. You can usually proceed to the site anyway by clicking on the Advanced button, but there is some risk involved:
There are some other errors related to the SSL certificate that Chrome may warn you about. A few of the error codes you could see include:
At the very least, you know the problem is likely related to the site’s SSL certificate. Having a specific error code can be helpful in pinpointing the exact issue.
Firefox gets your attention by displaying a bright yellow outline around its security warning. As with Chrome, you can usually ignore the notice and proceed to the website by clicking on the Advanced button:
Selecting Advanced will also give you more information about the error. In addition to the SEC_ERROR_EXPIRED_CERTIFICATE message, you may see one of the following variations:
This warning also includes a specific error code, which can help you get to the root of the problem more quickly.
Microsoft Edge’s error screen is nearly identical to the one Chrome displays. However, the Edge error may include how many days ago the site’s SSL certificate expired:
You may see some variation in the error code that’s displayed:
- ERROR CODE: O
Like the other browsers, Edge usually gives you the option to proceed to the website. However, there are times when the browser won’t allow you to load the site until you’ve resolved the error.
If you’re using Safari, your warning may come in the form of a pop-up rather than a full screen. Again, it’s a straightforward process to continue to the potentially unsafe website by clicking on the Continue button:
The popup itself likely won’t give you much to go on. You’ll need to click on Show Certificate if you want to get more clues as to what’s causing the error. This window will give you some details about the certificate itself that you can use to try and diagnose the issue.
How to Fix the NET::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID Error
Now that we’ve taken a look at how the NET::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID error appears on the most popular browsers, let’s get to work on fixing it.
This error can originate from many different causes, so we’ll walk through ten solutions you can try.
1. Reload the Page
We may as well start with the simplest solution: Give refreshing the page a shot. You can also try closing and relaunching your browser, before navigating back to the same page.
Sometimes things just don’t work the way they should, and it’s better to try a quick fix rather than troubleshooting unnecessarily. As unlikely as it may seem, it’s possible that you just caught the website owner in the middle of renewing their SSL certificate!
2. Don’t Use Public Wifi
If you still see the error after reloading the page, check your network connection. If you’re on public wifi, there’s a real possibility that your connection actually isn’t private. You may want to sign off to be safe.
Use a hotspot on your mobile device, and attempt to re-access the site. If you don’t encounter the error message, the problem is most likely with the wifi connection.
You can also try using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to see if the error persists. If you were already using a VPN when you first encountered the issue, on the other hand, you might try turning the VPN off, as it may be the culprit.
3. Check Your Date and Time
Here’s another easy fix. Your browser uses your computer’s clock to verify that a site’s SSL certificate isn’t expired. If you’ve set your time incorrectly, it can trigger this error.
Even if your computer is set up to sync automatically, it can still be thrown off.
For example, if you’ve recently traveled across time zones, your laptop may not have caught up yet. So check to ensure that the date and time are accurate on your machine. Then reopen the browser and try navigating back to the website.
4. Determine Whether the Certificate Has Expired
SSL certificates do expire, so if you see this error on your own website, it may be time to have your certificate reissued. You can quickly check this right from Chrome.
Start by clicking on the three dots in the top-right corner of the browser window. Then select More Tools > Developer Tools:
Navigate to the Security tab, where you’ll be able to see if the certificate is valid. You can click on the View Certificate button to get more details, including the certificate’s expiration date:
Simply type your domain name into the box and click on the Submit button:
It may take several minutes to perform the test. Your results will include a thorough analysis of your SSL configuration, along with a letter grade for each item. You’ll want to pay particular attention to the expiration date of the SSL certificate.
Note that you can use these methods to check the validity of an SSL certificate on someone else’s website. However, you won’t be able to do much more than attempt to notify the website’s owner that their certification has expired.
If your own certificate has expired, renewing it should take care of the NET::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID error. Your host may handle this for you, or you may be able to do it yourself through your control panel.
Some hosting providers’ control panels don’t provide a way for you to renew your certificate. In this case, you may have to perform the renewal through the command line. Certbot can help you to set this up.
You need to install and run Certbot once. It will automatically renew a free SSL certificate whenever yours expires:
No matter how you renew your SSL certificate, make sure you mark your calendar so you can handle it before it becomes a problem.
5. Update Your Operating System and Browser
You should always have the newest version of your operating system installed, as older versions may no longer be supported once they become obsolete. What’s more, there are parts of SSL certificates that can no longer work on older operating systems.
If you’re running an outdated version of your operating system, you’ll likely encounter errors like NET::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID more often as time goes on.
The same goes for outdated browsers. If you haven’t updated your browser in a while, you may want to go ahead and do that now. Even if the browser is up to date, sometimes uninstalling and reinstalling it can help.
6. Disable Your Antivirus Software
Sometimes, there may be a setting in your antivirus software that triggers the NET::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID error. To test this, try disabling your antivirus software and attempt to access the website. Be sure to force refresh when you do this.
If you determine that your antivirus software is the problem, you’ll first want to try updating to the latest version. You can also reach out to the software’s support team if the issue persists after updating.
7. Check Your Browser Extensions
Third-party extensions on Chrome are known to cause problems from time to time. Depending on how many extensions you have installed, this solution can take some time to test:
Check each extension one at a time by disabling it and then attempting to load the page. If one of your extensions seems to be triggering the error, you can then try uninstalling it completely.
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8. Clear Your Cache and Cookies
Clearing your cache is another solution that can take some time. There are a couple of things you can try first to determine if clearing your cache is likely to help.
First, visit the site in incognito mode. If that doesn’t help, you might try using a different browser to access the site. If either of these methods works, there’s a decent chance that clearing your browser cache will solve the problem.
The process for this differs from one browser to another:
- How to Clear Browser Cache for Google Chrome
- How to Clear Browser Cache for Mozilla Firefox
- How to Clear Browser Cache for Safari
- How to Clear Browser Cache for Internet Explorer
- How to Clear Browser Cache for Microsoft Edge
- How to Clear Browser Cache for Opera
With your cache and cookies freshly cleared, you can try reopening your browser and loading the website again.
9. Clear Your SSL Cache
If clearing your browser cache didn’t work, you can try clearing your SSL cache. The SSL cache stores credentials for websites you’ve visited, to save time when you reconnect later.
However, if an SSL certificate is updated in the meantime, the SSL cache may prevent your browser from recognizing the change.
To clear the SSL state in Chrome on Windows, navigate to the Control Panel and select Network and Internet. Under the Content tab, you’ll find the button to Clear SSL state:
Once again, reopen your browser and navigate to the website. If you still get the NET::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID error, we have one more solution you can try.
If you’re using macOS, you may need to delete an SSL certificate previously accepted from an untrusted source.
To do so, navigate to Finder, then click on Go > Utilities > Keychain Access:
Next, click on Certificates, which is located under the Category section. Untrusted certificates are marked with a red ‘X’. To remove one, click on Edit > Delete.
10. Change Your Domain Name System (DNS) Server
You may want to try changing your Domain Name System (DNS) server to or from Google’s Public DNS, depending on your current setup. Before making any changes to your DNS settings, make sure you write down your current settings in case you need to change them back.
To change your DNS server on Windows, start by opening the Control Panel. Click on Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center, and then Change adapter settings. Right-click on your connection and select Properties.
Next, choose Internet Protocol Version 4 or 6, and then click the Properties button. Select Use the following DNS server addresses:
To use Google’s Public DNS, enter 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124 in the boxes. You might also try Couldflare’s DNS, which is 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52. Click on OK and close the window. You’ll need to restart your browser for the changes to take effect.
For macOS users, the process is similar, only with a few variations.
First, navigate to System Preferences and click on the Network icon:
Select the Advanced button followed by the DNS tab. Next, click on the (+) icon next to “IPv4 or IPv6 addresses”:
Once you enter the new DNS servers. Click on OK then Apply to save your changes.
If you are already using Google’s Public DNS, you can try going back to your ISP’s DNS servers instead. Simply remove Google’s DNS, and make sure Obtain DNS server address automatically is checked.
NET::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID and WordPress
If you’re experiencing this problem on your WordPress site and the above methods didn’t work, there are a few more things you can check:
- If your hosting provider installed your SSL certificate, contact them to resolve this error.
- If you installed your certificate on your own, try reinstalling it.
- Make sure you’ve enabled HTTPS on your site.
- Check to ensure that your URLs are all updated.
If you’re still running into a dead end, you can try contacting your SSL certificate issuer. They should be able to help you pinpoint the issue.
NET::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID and Let’s Encrypt
Let’s Encrypt provides free SSL certificates to anyone who owns a domain name. However, these certificates are only valid for 90 days. So there’s a higher likelihood that yours has expired versus if you’re using a premium certificate obtained elsewhere.
When your Let’s Encrypt certificate term is up, the renewal process will depend on your hosting provider.
Some platforms are not compatible with Let’s Encrypt certificates, and some providers require you to manually handle the renewal yourself. While there isn’t a formal support team at Let’s Encrypt, you can always check out the community forums for help. You’ll find plenty of information and knowledgeable volunteers who can help you investigate possible solutions.
The NET::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID error has many potential causes, which can make troubleshooting it particularly frustrating. However, it’s essential to handle this problem quickly. If you see the error on your site, others may encounter it as well.
Since this error has so many causes, we provided you with ten solutions to try. You can start simply by reloading the website and checking the date and time on your computer. Then you might move on to the more involved methods, such as clearing your SSL state or testing your browser extensions.
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