How to troubleshoot time related errors on secure websites

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  • Creator: philipp
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Certificates used by websites which are supposed to be secure (the URL begins with "https://") are only issued for a particular timeframe. If a website presents a certificate with a validity period that doesn't fit the current value of your system's clock, you will see a "Your connection is not secureThis Connection is Untrusted" error message instead. Some methods to validate that a certificate hasn't been revoked also depend on your system and a webserver being set to the right time.

Such issues might be resolved by fixing the date, time and timezone settings on your system or it may be caused by a misconfigured webserver otherwise.

What kind of time related error codes you might see?

If you get a "Your connection is not secureThis Connection is Untrusted" error page, you can click on AdvancedTechnical Details to get more 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 in the error message will also show the current date and time of your system. If this appears to be incorrect, you should set it to the right time as explained below. Even if the displayed time appears to be correct, you should double-check that the timezone settings of your system fit your current location as well.

Set your system clock to the correct time

Time related error messages on secure websites that are caused by a skewed clock on your system can be corrected by setting your current date, time and timezone:.

  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 make changes, 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 timezone automatically, you cannot make manual changes.
  5. If you are done with your changes, close the Settings window again.
  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 make changes click on the Change date and time or Change time zone buttons.
  6. To confirm your changes click on OK.

More information is available in 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 make changes click on the Change date and time or Change time zone buttons.
  5. To confirm your changes click on OK.

More information is available in 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 timezone settings, click on the Time Zone tab.
  5. To confirm your changes click on OK.

More information is available in 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 timezone settings, click on the Time Zone tab. In order to adjust your timezone, 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 again.

More information is available in Apple's Set the date and time on your Mac article.

If the clock on your device is consistently getting reset after you power it off, this might indicate that the battery cell that runs the real-time-clock has gone empty. Please consult your manufacturer's manual on how to replace the CMOS battery.

Contact the website owner

If you are seeing a time related error message on a secure website and you have already checked that your system's clock is set correctly, you should contact the owner of the website you're having troubles accessing to inform him of that problem. They might need to renew their expired certificate for example.

Bypassing the warning

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

If the website allows it, you can add an exception in order to visit the site, in spite its certificate is not being trusted by default:

  1. On the warning page, click AdvancedI understand the Risks.
  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… in order to closer inspect the untrusted certificate as well.
  4. Click Confirm Security Exception if you are sure you want to trust the site.