How to Fix "Your connection is not private" Error in Chrome

Today, more and more websites using SSL/TLS security. A more familiar term might be "HTTPS" - it just means that a secure protocol is being used by websites to protect communication between the web servers and the end user’s PC.

In the past, only certain websites used the HTTPS protocol - mainly ones that asked for credit card information, or any sort of personal or financial information. With internet security being a major concern for both businesses and personal users now more than ever, we find that many websites are migrating over to HTTPS. In fact, many of the major browser vendors require HTTPS for certain functions, and Google and Firefox have even advocated phasing out support for non-HTTPS websites.

As it has become more common to see websites with HTTPS, many people may frequently come across an error message that when using Chrome, looks something like this:

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What Does This Message Mean?

Whenever you try to access a website using HTTPS (you can tell because the URL in the address bar will begin with "https") your browser will attempt to verify the SSL/TLS certificate that is associated to that website. The certificate is installed on the web server and used to authenticate and establish a secure connection with the browser. If the browser finds that this certificate may be invalid, then you will be presented with the error message above. This is meant to warn you that the site may not be safe to visit, and gives you the option to stop and not continue with visiting the site.

There are some common reasons why Chrome may be detecting that the SSL/TLS certificate is not valid:

  • One may be that the certificate has expired. SSL/TLS certificates have an expiration which requires website owners to renew them in order to keep them current and valid. If a certificate has expired, you would see this message.

  • Another possible reason is that the certificate was not issued by a trusted certificate authority (CA). Anyone can generate a "self-signed" certificate on their own for free, but most browsers do not consider these to be "trusted" and only recognize certificates issued by a trusted organization. A few examples you may have heard of include Comodo, GeoTrust, and GoDaddy.

If you know why you are seeing the error, or feel confident that the site is safe, Chrome does give you the option of clicking on the "Advanced" button at the bottom of the message, which then allows you to continue onto the site.

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After clicking "Advanced," click on the "Proceed to..." link to access the site:

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What Can Be Done to Fix It?

In some cases, there is not anything that you can do from a client’s (meaning the user accessing the website) perspective. If the SSL/TLS certificate is truly invalid, then this is something that the website administrators will need to fix on their end. However, there are certain cases where the error is caused by an issue on your PC. Here are a few of the common reasons for this and how you can fix it:

System Clock is Wrong

In newer versions of Chrome, you will see a slightly different error message from the one above if the date/time of your PC is not correct and you are trying to access an HTTPS website. The error will still indicate a problem making a secure connection to the website, but it will specifically let you know that the problem is due to your PC’s clock being incorrect. To fix this, simply click on the "Update date and time" button in the lower-right:

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You’ll then see the PC Date and Time window. Click on "Change date and time..."

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You’ll then see the "Date and Time Settings" screen where you can adjust the date and time.

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Check Anti-Virus Software

Sometimes anti-virus software can block connections to websites that it determines as being unusual or invalid. You can check your anti-virus software for any settings having to do with "HTTPS or SSL scanning", or other web protection features, and disable those. Another option is to just disable the anti-virus software completely for a temporary time to determine if it is the software blocking the connection.

Clear Browser Cache

You can also try clearing your Chrome browser cache, which often fixes problems with your browser.

  1. Click on the ellipsis to the right of the Address Bar. Then, click on "Settings:"

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  2. Scroll down to the very bottom of the page and click on the "Advanced" button to open up several more options:

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  3. Click on "Clear browsing data"

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  4. You will see a pop-up window where you should select all 3 checkboxes as shown below. Then, click "Clear Data."

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Hopefully this information will help you if you ever encounter this error in Chrome. As mentioned earlier, many times the issue lies with the website itself and is nothing you can fix. However, there are times when the issue has to do with your PC, and we’ve provided a few things to look for that should help you.

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