What is SSL Certificate Expiry?
Think of an SSL certificate as a travel pass for encrypted website data. Every SSL certificate has a fixed validity when it is issued by a Certifying Authority (CA). At the end of the validity period is an expiry date.
This expiry date is hard-coded into the certificate. It is also shared with a public certificate revocation list (CRL) for browsers and other https-based apps to refer to. After this expiry date the certificate will no longer be considered valid by web browsers and other apps.
To know the expiry date for your website’s SSL certificate you can click the lock icon in your web browser. You can also use this free SSL Checker tool to see SSL certificate information including it’s validity period.
How Does SSL Certificate Expiry Affect Websites?
Modern browsers take SSL certificate expiry very seriously. In most cases if a website SSL certificate expires the website visitor will be shown a blocking error screen warning them of the dangers of interacting with the website.
An expired certificate is as good as a death certificate for the website.
There is an 2-step option to ignore the error and proceed but most website visitors will not do so.
How To Fix SSL Certificate Expiry Error?
Only the owner of the website’s domain name can fix the certificate expiry error. To fix the error the previous expired SSL certificate must be renewed i.e. replaced with a freshly issued certificate that has not expired.
The freshly-issued certificate can be from any CA and you can get it from any SSL certificate seller’s website.
Even if your website is hosted with a hosting service that already provides SSL certificates, you can still buy them from an outside seller that sells them cheaper, and install them using the web hosting control panel.
The process of getting a new SSL certificate is as follows:
- Select a SSL Certificate that is right for your website. It does not have to be the same one that expired.
- Generate a CSR with a Private key, and use the CSR to order a SSL certificate.
- Complete the Certificate Enrollment form to register your certificate request with the CA.
- Complete the Domain Validation steps as prescribed by the CA.
- Download and Install the certificate i.e. replace the certificate and private key for your website.
How To Avoid SSL Certificate Expiry?
The best way to avoid the SSL certificate expiry error on your website is by remembering to renew the website’s SSL certificate before it expires.
You can either keep a manual track of the certificate expiry date and set reminders on your PC or Smartphone.
We also keep our customers informed via email reminders. If you are not one of our customers, you could use our free SSL certificate expiry monitor to send you reminders via email.
If you are worried that you may lose a few days if you get a replacement certificate before the previous certificate expires, we have provided a mechanism to get extra days added to the validity period of any paid certificate purchased through us.