How to Fix Warning “Your Connection is Not Private”?
If you see the “Your Connection is Not Private” warning on your website, you need to remove it without any delay. This warning message means google chrome is preventing users from visiting your site in order to protect them because your site is untrusted by chrome due to a security error.
When you see this warning, time is of the essence as it deters your traffic, brings down your SEO rankings which will lead to a loss of revenue as well.
Worry not because fixing this issue is relatively simple if you follow the right steps. In this guide, we’ll show you why you’re seeing “Your Connection Is Not Private” and how to fix it easily.
What is the Error “Your Connection is Not Private”?
We all know Google prioritizes the satisfaction and safety of their users. Therefore, if it finds anything suspicious on a website, it flags it immediately. If you’re seeing the warning “Your Connection is Not Private” it means there’s an error in your SSL certificate. This warning pertains only to sites that use an SSL certificate and HTTPS.
What is an SSL certificate? SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer that adds a layer of security to your WordPress site. When data is transferred to and from your website, SSL ensures this data is encrypted. This data could contain usernames and passwords, credit card information and private data of visitors and the website. SSL prevents hackers from stealing this data and misusing it.
To understand how errors can pop up with your SSL certificate, you need to understand what happens when you visit a website that has SSL installed.
When you visit such a website, your browser (Google Chrome browser in this case) sends a request to the website’s server. If the website is using an SSL certificate, the browser will validate the certificate against the certificate authority. It will ensure the site is up to current privacy and security standards.
If the browser is unable to validate the certificate or finds that it isn’t valid, it will flag the site. You – the website owner – will then see the warning “Your Connection is Not Private” which prevents you from reaching the site.
It’s that simple. If there’s any issue with your certificate, the browser assumes that the data will not be encrypted properly and therefore it’s unsafe for the visitor to proceed and potentially hack your WordPress site.
Now, let’s take a look at the different reasons why there’s an issue with your certificate.
Reasons for “Your Connection is Not Private” Error?
As we mentioned, the “Your Connection is Not Private” pops up because there’s an error with your SSL certificate. There are four main reasons why there’s an error with your SSL certificate.
1. SSL certificate has expired
SSL certificates are usually active for one year. You need to renew your subscription annually. If your certificate expires, it becomes invalid. You need to check if your SSL is active or expired. We will show you how in the next section.
2. SSL certificate isn’t set up correctly
Setting up your SSL requires a bit of technical knowledge. Though it’s not very difficult to do, even the slightest mistake can invalidate the certificate. You can contact your WordPress hosting provider for help with setting up your SSL security certificate correctly.
3. SSL certificate belongs to the domain but not subdomain
Sometimes, there may be nothing wrong with your certificate, but the error appears on the subdomain. This indicates that your SSL is valid only for the main WordPress website and not the sub domain. This usually happens with cheap or free SSL options which are valid only for a single domain. If you are using such a certificate, you would need to install a separate certificate for the sub domain.
4. SSL certificate is issued by an untrusted organization
There have been times where SSL providers haven’t been fully compliant with the industry standard and requirements. In January 2017, it was made public that Symantec was not following best practices while issuing SSL certificates. Browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox decided to stop supporting the certificates issued by Symantec. If your WordPress website is still using such a certificate, the browser will not accept it and flag it as “Your Connection is Not Private”.
There are also free SSL certificates issued online which may not be accepted by your browser. Trusted Certificate Authorities that issue free certificates include Let’s Encrypt and Comodo.
Once you identify what the issue is, it’s easy to fix it. Let’s take a look.
Fix Warning “Your Connection is Not Private” in Google Chrome
There are different ways to fix the “Your Connection is not Private” error on your site. We’ve narrowed it down to 7 ways that are known to work best:
1. Contact your hosting company
Many times, your hosting provider will be able to fix the issue for you. You can contact their support staff via email, phone or chat. More often than not, they will identify the issue and fix it for you. If not, they may be able to tell you what the problem is at least so that you can take appropriate steps to fix.
2. Check your SSL certificate
Log into your hosting account and access cPanel. Here, you will see a section called Security. Under this you can view SSL/TLS status.
Here, you’ll see your SSL certificates, their validity and all their details, like so:
If it shows that your certificate has expired, you will need to renew it. Contact your SSL provider to renew it. If you purchased your SSL certificate from your web host, you would need to contact them to renew it.
3. Reload your page
This may seem too simple, but sometimes it works. You may just need to reestablish a connection and let the browser try validating the certificate again. This works especially when your SSL certificate is being reissued.
4. Check your internet or wifi connection
If you’re using an unsecured wifi connection such as public wifi at an airport, the data that’s transferred over the internet will not be encrypted. These connections usually use HTTP and not HTTPs. This simply means that the data transferred to and from your WordPress website will be sent in plain text. Hackers can steal your data easily, we recommend checking our guide on how to protect website from hackers. Therefore, your browser will automatically display the warning “Your Connection is Not Private”.
There are times when your browser’s cache and cookie get overloaded, especially if it hasn’t been cleared for a long time. This might throw up a connection error as the browser is unable to function properly.
To clear your cookies, cache and history to remove this error in Google Chrome, access History > Show Full History from the top panel of your window. Here, you can select ‘clear browsing data’ from the right-hand menu.
Select all three options and choose the time range as ‘all time’ and clear data. After this, refresh your WordPress website and check if the warning has disappeared.
If you are unable to delete your browser’s cache, cookies and history, you can try visiting your WordPress site in incognito mode.
6. Try visiting your site in incognito mode
Using incognito mode, you can access your site without the use of browser cache, cookies or history.
To use incognito mode, go to File on the top panel of Google Chrome > New Incognito Window. You can also use the shortcut CTRL + Shift + N (Windows) or CTRL + Command + N (Mac).
If the warning is gone, you can be sure it’s your cache, cookies or browser history. If the warning persists, you can eliminate this as a reason.
7. Check your antivirus software
If you’ve installed antivirus or firewall on your computer or device, it may have a feature called ‘SSL scanning’. This will block certain unusual SSL certificates and SSL connections. You can disable antivirus temporarily and try accessing your site.
8. Check your computer’s clock
This is a rare situation, but it might happen occasionally where your computer’s clock is set to a different date. This causes a problem in recognizing the validity date of your SSL certificate. We recommend doing a quick check to make sure your computer’s date and time settings are correct. Sometimes, you’ll be surprised the you just need to check the date on your computer clock, reset your wifi network, or restart your computer resolve such issues.
With that, your WordPress website should be restored to normal and the warning ‘Your Connection is Not Private’ should be resolved.
Prevent ‘Your Connection is Not Private’ Warning On Your WordPress Site
Error messages like ‘Your Connection is Not Private’ or ‘Your Connection is Not Secure’ can be avoided if you take the right measures on your site.
Installing an SSL certificate can be done on your own but sometimes, a small mistake can lead to big errors like this warning on your site.
If you’re not tech-savvy, we recommend using a professional WordPress management service to install your SSL certificate. You can also contact your web host and in most cases they install it for you.
Seeing the warning ‘Your Connection is Not Private’ can cause panic as you worry about your visitors. Such warnings will drive your traffic away. And once you lose SEO rankings, it’s difficult to recover them!
It’s best to act quickly and resolve the issue immediately. Google takes website security very seriously and will flag any issues it finds on your site.
Therefore, we strongly recommend taking preventive security measures. You can install a WordPress security plugin like MalCare on your WordPress site to get complete protection against hackers. It will scan your WordPress site for malware daily and proactively block hackers from attacking your site.
Try our MalCare Security Plugin Now
Melinda is a WordPress enthusiast, and enjoys sharing their experience with fellow enthusiasts. On the MalCare blog, Melinda distils the wisdom gained from building plugins to solve security issues that admins face.