It’s essential to make sure that 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 heading 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.

window that shows your connection is not private

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 will be a gold mine for hackers. 

To access a website, your browser must run a check on the digital certificates that are installed on the server 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 public key infrastructure or identity certificates. They provide proof that a website is who they say they are. Digital certificates help protect things like your personal information, passwords, and payment information.

When your connection is not secure, this is usually because there is an error in the SSL certificate.

What is an SSL Connection Error?

A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate is for serving websites over secure HTTPS connections. HTTPS is a security barrier used to safely authorize connections and protect data. An SSL error connection occurs when there is no secure way for your browser to open what you have requested. When the browser sees that the connection is not secure, it will try to stop you from accessing the website.

There can be a few different reasons that a SSL connection error occurs:

  • The certificate is missing or expired
  • Your browser is not updated
  • Your antivirus settings or date and time settings are off
  • There is a server issue

If it’s a server problem, then you will have to wait for the owner to fix the issue.

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. 

graphic of chrome browser

Google Chrome

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_COMMON_NAME_INVALID
  • NET::ERR_CERT_AUTHORITY_INVALID NTE::ERR_CERTIFICATE_TRANSPARENCY_REQUIRED
  • NET::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID
  • NET::ERR_CERT_WEAK_SIGNATURE_ALGORITHM
  • ERR_CERT_SYMANTEC_LEGACY
  • SSL certificate error
  • ERR_SSL_VERSION_OR_CIPHER_MISMATCH.

graphic of firefox browser

Mozilla Firefox

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:

  • SEC_ERROR_EXPIRED_CERTIFICATE
  • SEC_ERROR_EXPIRED_ISSUER_CERTIFICATE 
  • SEC_ERROR_UNKNOWN_ISSUER.
  • SEC_ERROR_OCSP_INVALID_SIGNING_CERT 
  • MOZILLA_PKIX_ERROR_MITM_DETECTED
  • MOZILLA_PKIX_ERROR_ADDITIONAL_POLICY_CONSTRAINT_FAILED
  • SSL_ERROR_BAD_CERT_DOMAIN
  • ERROR_SELF_SIGNED_CERT

graphic of safari browser

Safari

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.

graphic of ms edge browser

Microsoft Edge

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:

  • NET::ERR_CERT_COMMON_NAME_INVALID 
  • DLG_FLAGS_INVALID_CA 
  • DLG_FLAGS_SEC_CERT_CN_INVALID
  • 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. 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.

2. 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.

To open your Chrome browser in an incognito tab, go to the three vertical dots on the top right of your screen. Open the drop-down menu and select “New incognito window” or hit the keys ctrl+shift+N.

graphic shows incognito mode

3. 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

  1. Go to the Apple menu in the upper left corner of your screen. 
  2. Click on System Preferences.
  3. From there, choose Date & Time.
  4. Ensure the date and time are accurate. 

How to Check Date and Time on Windows

  1. Right-click the date and time on the taskbar.
  2. Click on Adjust date/time.
  3. Verify the date and time are correct. 

4. 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

Try going to your settings and clearing your browser cache and cookies. Clearing all that information will speed up your connections.

5. 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. 

Graphic showing wifi preferences

6. 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.

7. Manually Proceed With Caution

If you are still seeing a “Your connection is not private” message and you are 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 you may be putting your personal information and payment information at risk of being compromised. The time and money involved with this risk are not 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, be smart with your searches so that your information doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.

Download Panda FREE antivirus