How to troubleshoot time related errors on secure websites

Certificates used by websites which are considered to be secure (their URL begins with "https://") are only issued for a certain period of time. If a website presents a certificate with a validity period that doesn't match the current value of your system's clock, Firefox can't verify that the connection is secure and therefore opens a "Your connection is not secure" error page. Some methods to validate that a certificate hasn't been revoked also depend on your system and the webserver being set to the correct time.

Such issues can be fixed by the correct setting of the date, time and time zone on your system. If this does not solve the problem, it may be caused by a misconfigured webserver.

List of time-related error codes you may encounter

If you get a "Your connection is not secure" error page, you can click on Advanced to receive detailed information about the error. One of the following error codes will indicate that the secure connection couldn't be established due to a time-related error:

SEC_ERROR_EXPIRED_CERTIFICATE
SEC_ERROR_EXPIRED_ISSUER_CERTIFICATE
SEC_ERROR_OCSP_FUTURE_RESPONSE
SEC_ERROR_OCSP_OLD_RESPONSE
MOZILLA_PKIX_ERROR_NOT_YET_VALID_CERTIFICATE
MOZILLA_PKIX_ERROR_NOT_YET_VALID_ISSUER_CERTIFICATE

The text on the error page will warn you when Firefox detects that your system time is probably wrong and also show the date and time currently set in your system. If the clock settings are incorrect you should set it to the right time as explained below. Even if the displayed time settings seem to be correct, you should make sure that the time zone settings of your system match your current location.

Set your system clock to the correct time

Time-related errors on secure websites that are caused by a skewed clock on your system can be resolved by setting your correct date, time and time zone:.

  1. Click the Windows Start button or press the Windows key Windows Key .
  2. In the Start menu, select Settings.
  3. In Settings, select Time & language.
  4. In the Date & time section you can review the current date and time settings. To change your settings click on Change below Change date and time or expand the Time zone dropdown menu.
    If your system is set to manage the time and time zone automatically, you cannot make manual changes.
  5. If you are done with your changes, close the Settings window.
  1. From the Start Screen, click the Desktop tile. The Desktop view will open.
  2. From the Desktop, hover in the lower right-hand corner to access the Charms.
  3. Select Control Panel from the Settings charm. The Control Panel window will open.
    Control Panel - Win8
  4. In the Control Panel window, click on Clock, Language, and Region and then Date and Time.
  5. The panel that opens shows the current date and time settings. To change your settings click the Change date and time or Change time zone button.
  6. To confirm your changes click OK.

For more information see Microsoft's Set the clock article.

  1. Click the Windows Start button or press the Windows key Windows Key .
  2. In the Start Menu, click Control Panel.
    Control Panel - Win7
  3. In the Control Panel window, click on Clock, Language, and Region and then Date and Time.
  4. The panel that opens shows the current date and time settings. To change your settings click the Change date and time or Change time zone button.
  5. To confirm your changes click OK.

For more information see Microsoft's Set the clock article.

  1. Click the Windows Start button and select Control Panel.
    Control Panel - WinXP
  2. In the Control Panel window, click on Date, Time, Language, and Regional Options and then Date and Time.
  3. The panel that opens shows the current date and time settings, which you can adjust.
  4. In order to review and adjust your time zone settings, click on the Time Zone tab.
  5. To confirm your changes click OK.

For more information see Microsoft's To change your computer's time and time zone article.

  1. Click the Apple menu and select System Preferences.
  2. In the System Preferences window, click on Date & Time.
  3. The panel that opens shows the current date and time settings. In order to adjust them, disable Set date and time automatically, manually enter the date and time and click Save to confirm your changes.
  4. In order to review your time zone settings, click on the Time Zone tab. In order to adjust your time zone, disable Set time zone automatically using current location, click onto your approximate location in the map and select the city closest to you in the dropdown panel.
  5. If you are done with your changes, close the Date & Time window.

For more information see Apple's Set the date and time on your Mac article.

Note: If the clock on your device constantly resets after you power it off, this might indicate that the battery cell that runs the real-time clock is getting low or is empty. Please consult your manufacturer's manual on how to replace the CMOS battery.

Contact the website owner

If you get a time related error on a secure website and you have already checked the correct settings of your system’s clock, please contact the owner of the website which you can’t access and inform him of the problem. The website owner might need to renew the expired certificate, for example.

Bypass the warning

Warning: You should never bypass the warning for a legitimate major website or sites where financial transactions take place – in this case an invalid certificate can indicate that your connection is compromised by a third party.

If the website allows it, you can add an exception to be able to visit the site, despite the fact that the certificate is not trusted by default:

  1. On the warning page, click Advanced.
  2. Click Add Exception…. The Add Security Exception dialog will appear.
  3. Read the text describing the problems with the website. You can click View… to closer inspect the untrusted certificate.
  4. Click Confirm Security Exception if you are sure you want to trust the site.

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