How to fix the net::err_cert_authority_invalid browser error

SSL errors are frustrating but relatively straightforward to fix. If you have encountered the browser error net::err_cert_authority_invalid, it means that your browser is not recognizing a valid SSL certificate at the site you are visiting.

As a website visitor, this error can occur because of unexpected interactions with your browser. For website administrators, this error can occur for three major reasons, all of which are fixable. Continue reading to learn more about SSL certificates and the solutions to this browser error.

What is an SSL certificate?

An SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate provides security by encrypting incoming and outgoing network traffic. An SSL certificate allows a website to use HTTPS, which is the encrypted version of HTTP. Search engines strongly favor HTTPS when ranking a site because search engines want to send their users to safe websites. Entering any information into a site without HTTPS opens a visitor’s information to interception by malicious actors. The SSL certificate creates a secure connection between the user’s browser and the server so that no hackers can intrude and access the traffic.                                                   

How does net::err_cert_authority_invalid appear across different browsers?

The net::err_cert_authority_invalid error message can appear on any browser, with some variations. Check below to see if the browser error matches up with what you are seeing in your browser:

Google Chrome

Privacy error, net::err_cert_authority_invalid on Google Chrome

Mozilla Firefox

Potential Security Risk Warning, net::err_cert_authority_invalid error on Mozilla Firefox

Microsoft Edge

net::err_cert_authority_invalid privacy error on Microsoft Edge

What causes the net::err_cert_authority_invalid browser error?

We can break up the causes behind the net::err_cert_authority_invalid browser error into two categories, end-user and website administrator. If the issue is actually with the validity of the SSL certificate, the root cause will need to be addressed by the website administrator. On the other hand, if the SSL certificate is valid, then the issue lies with the end user’s computer or browser.

Website administrator side

1. Self-signed certificate

Self-signed certificates allow a website administrator to bypass the use of a Certificate Authority (CA). Instead of the site’s SSL certificate being signed by a trusted CA, self-signed certificates use a private key. Often self-signed certificates are used in the development and test environments because they are flexible. However, self-signed certificates can scare off visitors because of browser warnings or can trigger errors, including the net::err_cert_authority_invalid.

2. SSL certificate is expired

SSL certificates do not last forever. SSL certificates have a maximum lifespan of 27 months before they need to be renewed. When the SSL certificate expires on a website, this site essentially becomes unreachable. For website administrators, an expired SSL certificate will completely derail any metrics that matter, so it is crucial to renew SSL certificates before this expiration date.

3. SSL certificate comes from a non-trusted source

Because SSL certificates are bits of code, they can technically be created by anyone. Not all SSLs are created equally by browsers. Browsers may throw error codes if a site’s SSL certificate is not signed by a trusted certificate authority (CA). A few of the most popular and trusted certificate authorities (CA) are listed below in case you need to purchase a new SSL certificate:

End-user side

The primary issues that end-users experience with SSL certificates that are valid and from a trusted source can be traced back to:

  • Browser and cache interactions
  • VPN or antivirus conflicts
  • System clock issue

Proven methods to fix the net::err_cert_authority_invalid browser error

The solutions for fixing the net::err_cert_authority_invalid are listed below. Unfortunately, options to solve this SSL browser error are limited for end-users, but the solutions provided can still prove effective at clearing the error.

Solutions to the net::err_cert_authority_invalid error for website visitors

1. Refresh the page

Browsers sometimes accidentally throw error codes that are not real. So, if you are an end-user seeing the net:err_cert_authority_invalid browser error, then reloading your page can make this error disappear. You can also try to access the webpage in Incognito mode.

2. Temporarily disable VPN and antivirus

VPNs provide an added layer of security by hiding your IP (internet protocol) address from view and encrypting your connections. VPNs are especially useful when accessing public WiFi networks. However, because SSL certificates also encrypt the network connection between your computer and the server, there can be some undesirable interactions. If you are using a VPN and experiencing this problem, you should disable your VPN. In most cases, a VPN can be disabled by:

  1. Right-click on the Windows icon on Taskbar. Select Settings from the menu.
  2. Click on Network & Internet from the list of settings options.
Windows Settings
  1. On the left-hand side select VPN. All VPN connections will now be listed in the right-hand pane.
  2. Select the VPN you are currently using and click Disconnect.
Disconnect VPN

If this fails to solve the issue, you can also try to disable your antivirus software temporarily. This process for disabling will depend on the specific software you are using. You can find step-by-step instructions on how to disable your antivirus software by searching online. If you are using Microsoft Defender on Windows 10, you can temporarily disable Real-time protection to see if the problem disappears:

  1. Right-click on the Windows icon on Taskbar. Select Settings from the menu.
  2. Click on Update & Security from the list of settings options.
  3. On the left-hand side select Windows Security.
  4. On the right-hand side, select Virus & threat protection. A new window will open.
Windows Security
  1. Find Virus & threat protection settings and select Manage settings.
  2. Switch Real-time protection to Off.
Virus & threat protection settings

3. Clear your browser’s cache and cookies

Your browser may have outdated information stored in its cache and cookies. Your browser uses the cache to receive webpages faster, particularly for sites you have visited before. Unfortunately, this can cause issues when websites change and update. A bloated cache can also slow down your web browser. Clear your browser’s cache and cookies and force your browser to update the information stored for websites.

We will show how to do this on Google Chrome because it is the most popular browser worldwide:

  1. Open Google Chrome.
  2. Click on the three ellipses in the top right corner of the browser.
  3. In the drop-down menu hover over More tools.
  4. Then select Clear browsing data… from the new menu.
Clear browsing data menu
  1. Chrome will navigate to its settings page. Select the Time range you want to clear data. Check Browsing history and Cookies and other site data. Click Clear data.
Clear browsing history data to solve the net::err_cert_authority error

4. Sync System Clock

When a computer has the wrong time or date set, this can cause various issues, including the net::err_cert_authority_invalid browser error. Syncing your computer’s clock can be completed quickly:

  1. Right-click on the time in the bottom right-hand corner of the Taskbar.
  2. Select Adjust date/time from the menu.
Adjust date and time
  1. In the newly opened Date & time window, find Synchronize your clock. Click Sync now.
Set time automatically to fix the net::err_cert_authority browser error.

Solutions to the net::err_cert_authority_invalid error for website administrators

To fix SSL certificate problems, website administrators generally need to either get a valid SSL certificate from a trusted source or renew an expired one. Follow the solutions below to learn how to do these two fixes:

1. Use SSL certificate from a trusted certificate authority

SSL certificates should not be self-signed and should be purchased from a reputable source. If the cost is the issue, you can get a free certificate from Let’s Encrypt.

Let’s Encrypt is a trusted certificate authority, so your website will be trusted across the web. However, these certificates have shorter lifespans and need to be renewed fairly often, which can be a major drawback. Let’s Encrypt certificates are valid for 90 days. If you use this option, be sure to set a calendar notification to recertify as needed.

Refer to the SSL certificate authorities listed above to find other trusted options with longer renewal timelines.

2. Renew your SSL certificate

If it’s time to renew your SSL certificate, then you may need to reach out to your SSL certificate authority for specific instructions on how to renew your certificate. The process of renewing a certificate is essentially the same as when you first purchase one.

The following steps closely resemble the process, but the specifics may change depending on your website’s setup and certificate authority (CA). This process can be completed in cPanel or FTP.

  1. First, navigate to the Security tab and select the SSL/TLS option.
  2. Generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR). This request contains information about the certificate authority (CA) you are using, as well as your public key. You will also need to provide your domain. You will be provided with a CSR code, keep this code because you will need it.
Generate a new certificate signing request
  1. Select SSL certificate.
  2. Select the validity period, either 1-year or 2-year. A higher cost will be associated with a 2 year validity period.
  3. Fill in all required details, including site information.
  4. Review SSL order and then process payment.
  5. Now you can install your SSL certificate on your website’s server. You will need to provide a domain, CRT file information, and Private key. This information will all be provided to you in a previous step.
Domain options

net::err_cert_authority_invalid browser error solved

SSL certificate issues need to be quickly identified and fixed because these issues will destroy your metrics and can deter users from ever coming back. If you are a website administrator and your site is throwing the net::err_cert_authority_invalid browser error, you need to check the validity of your SSL certificate. SSL certificates must be valid and signed by trusted certificate authorities (CA). If an SSL certificate is self-signed, signed by a non-trusted CA, or is expired, this browser error will appear.

If you are an end-user, there are a few quick solutions you can try to rule out your computer as the source. Refreshing the page or using incognito mode can fix the problem. You can also try to turn off VPN connections and your antivirus and clear your browser cache and cookies. Lastly, you can sync your computer’s date and time. If none of these solutions have worked, you will have to allow the website administrator to fix the problem because the issue is an SSL certificate problem.

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