No one wants to hop online to look for a new chocolate chip cookie recipe only to discover they’ve opened the door for hackers to find their personal information.
That’s why it’s so important to ensure the websites you browse are secure.
There are a few ways that you can check this. One is by looking for the lock symbol. Another is heeding the warning on “your connection is not private” windows. If you ignore error messages like the “your connection is not private” error, you are putting your online information at risk. To help you stay safe online, we’ll explain the reasons the “your connection is not private” error may be appearing on your screen and how to fix it.
What Does the “Your Connection is Not Private” Error Mean?
The “your connection is not private” error message is exactly what it sounds like — it’s a message from your browser that informs you that the connection is not secure. This means that if you aren’t using an antivirus or encryption, your device and the personal information it contains are open to hackers.
To access a website, your browser must run a check on the server’s digital certificates to make sure that the site is up to privacy standards and safe to proceed. If your browser finds something wrong with the certificate, it will stop you from accessing the site. This is when you’ll see the “your connection is not private” message.
These certificates are also known as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), public key infrastructure or identity certificates. They provide proof that a website is who it says it is and not just some clever developers imitating another website. Digital certificates help protect your personal information like passwords and payment information.
When your connection isn’t secure, it’s usually because there is an error in the SSL certificate.
What is an SSL Connection Error?
An SSL error connection occurs when there is no secure way for your browser to open what you have requested. This means your browser can’t verify a website’s identity and will automatically block you from accessing the website to protect your device and help you avoid malicious websites.
An SSL certificate serves websites over secure HTTPS connections. You probably recognize “HTTPS” from the beginning of any link you use to navigate online. HTTPS is a security barrier used to safely authorize connections and protect data.
There are a few different reasons an SSL connection error occurs:
- The certificate is missing or expired
- Your browser isn’t updated
- Your antivirus settings or date and time settings are off
- There’s a server issue
If it’s a server problem, you will have to wait for the website owner to fix it.
What a “Your Connection is Not Private” Looks Like on Each Browser
When you receive this error message, it will take you to a new page. Some browsers use simple messages, while others use codes and warning signs. Let’s look at some examples of how this message appears on common browsers.
When you receive this error message in Google Chrome, it will take you to a page titled privacy error. From there, it will show a large red exclamation point and a “Your connection is not private” message. It will caution you that attackers might be trying to steal your passwords, messages, or credit cards. The message will give you an option to go back to the previous page, go to advanced settings or attempt to continue to the site.
Additionally, the page will have an error code, here are some of the most common:
- NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID NTE::ERR_CERTIFICATE_TRANSPARENCY_REQUIRED
- SSL certificate error
For Safari users, you will get a message on a new page saying “This Connection is Not Private” and it will tell you that the website may be impersonating the site you wish to access to steal your personal or financial information.
On Mozilla Firefox the message is similar, but rather than “private,” the message appears as “Your connection is not secure” and informs you that the owner has configured their website improperly. It will then give you the option to go back or go to advanced settings.
Common codes that you might see with Firefox:
If you are using Microsoft Edge, then you will see a message that looks almost identical to the Google Chrome message with the exclamation point and “Your connection isn’t private” message. If the certificate does not match the domain that you are trying to reach, then you will see the same code.
Common codes that you might see with Microsoft Edge:
- Error Code: 0
How to Fix “Your Connection is Not Private” Error
There are a few different ways to fix or bypass this error message for each browser.
1. Double-Check the URL
If you get a connection error message, the first step is to double-check your URL. A simple typo in the URL could be preventing a page from loading correctly. If re-typing the URL doesn’t work, then you can move on to other solutions.
2. Reload the Page
Of course, this seems like the most obvious thing to try, but something simple can do the trick. Sometimes, fixing common glitches like your browser timeouts, internet connections, and typos can solve the problem. If your browser times out or you have a spotty internet connection, a quick reload may resolve your connection issues.
3. Clear Your Browser Cache and Cookies
While browsing online, your computer stores cookies that gather data and take up tons of space on your hard disk. When your computer is trying to process all of that information, it can really slow down
4. Try Incognito Mode
The next thing that you can try is to enter incognito mode and attempt to access the same website. If the website is truly having security issues, then it should not work once you switch to incognito because this mode lets you browse without saving your history or cache. If the site still says “your connection is not private,” then you should try clearing your cache.
For Chrome: Click on the three vertical dots on the top right of your screen. Open the dropdown menu and select “New Incognito Window” or hit the keys command+shift+N.
For Mozilla Firefox: Click on the three lines in the upper right corner, then click “New Private Window” or hit the keys ctrl+shift+P.
For Microsoft Edge: Click on the three dots in the upper right corner, then click “New InPrivate Window” or hit the keys ctrl+shift+N.
For Safari: Click on “File” in the toolbar, then “New Private Window” to open a private browsing window or hit the keys command+shift+N.
5. Check Your Antivirus or Firewall
If you have an antivirus on your Mac or Windows device, you may still be receiving the error message because the antivirus or firewall is overriding your network. Test this issue by temporarily disabling the SSL scan feature.
6. Consider What Wifi is in Use
Using public wifi might give you a warning because it’s not secure. Some public wifi has poor configuration and does not run HTTPS. If you are uncertain about the security of your connection, look for a different wifi network or wait until you can browse safely at home.
The best way to protect your data while on public wifi is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN helps to hide your traffic and protect your identity while it exchanges encrypted data to and from a distant server.
7. Check the Date and Time
Double-check that the date and time on your computer are correct. When they don’t match the browser, an SSL connection error may occur.
How to Check Date and Time on a Mac:
- Go to the Apple menu in the upper left corner of your screen.
- Click on “System Settings.”
- Click on “General.”
- From there, choose “Date & Time.”
- Ensure the date and time are accurate.
How to Check Date and Time on Windows:
- Right-click the date and time on the taskbar.
- Click on Adjust date/time.
- Verify the date and time are correct.
8. Manually Proceed With Caution
If you’re still seeing a “your connection is not private” message and you’re in a situation where you must reach your desired website, do so with caution. Your browser shows you this message and advises against continuing for good reason. Choosing to proceed may put your personal and payment information at risk of being compromised. The time and money involved with this risk aren’t worth it.
If you follow these steps, you should be able to fix or bypass the “Your connection is not private” error message. Remember that you are receiving this message because the website you are trying to access is not deemed secure. If you fail to fix the issue, bypassing may help you find what you are looking for, but also risk your private information. There is software like Panda Security Dome that you can use to protect your digital life. Your online information holds great value, so be smart with your searches so your sensitive information doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.