Why Can’t We Use https for Everything?

Why couldn’t all websites that are genuine, like microsoft.com or hotmail.com or yahoo.com, be https?

They could.

In fact, more and more sites are slowly making the switch. Even Ask Leo! is now an https site.

The problem is that it’s not a simple switch. Besides the technology, there are some costs and ramifications. And it may not solve all the problems you think it does.

Read moreWhy Can’t We Use https for Everything?

What Does “There is a problem with this website’s security certificate” Mean, and What Should I Do?


I have a laptop that consistently has a problem when it accesses a site online. Each and every time I get the same message from the site I am visiting. The message is strange and I have no knowledge of how to correct the implied problem.

The message is: “There is a problem with this website’s security certificate. The security certificate presented by this website has expired or is not yet valid.”

This message appears when I try to access my email account.

The problem is most likely not yours to correct. More often than not, it’s a problem with the website itself.

You still need to be careful, though.

Let’s look at security certificates on https connections: what they mean and what you should do when faced with messages such as this.

Read moreWhat Does “There is a problem with this website’s security certificate” Mean, and What Should I Do?

Footnotes & references

1: I’ve also forgotten to renew my driver’s license in the past as well. 🙂

2: Though finding the expiration date takes understanding how to examine the certificate. While that can be done using your web browser, it’s not something I’m covering here.

3: Either a separately purchased and issued certificate for each subdomain, or what’s called a “wildcard” certificate, which covers any and all subdomains on the parent domain. I’ve elected to use the latter with *.askleo.com.

Will adding an “s” to http make my connection secure?

I’m using a website to confirm a rental and they require some personal information. I’m pretty confident in the company. I noticed the page for this added info was only an http site – no “s.” To see what would happen, I typed an “s” after the http, pressed Enter, and the page flickered like it was reloading, but there it was – same page but now with an https. Did this work? Could it really be that easy to get a secure page? Or did my browser just fool me? I tried an F5 refresh and the https remained. What do you think? Am I safe and secure now?

Adding an s to the http to make it secure is interesting. It’s tempting to see what will happen when you try it. But even when it works, I have some concerns.

Read moreWill adding an “s” to http make my connection secure?

Why Do I Keep Getting Certificate Errors from My School’s Website?

I’m getting “Internet Explorer blocked this website from displaying content with security certificate errors.” I get this on all of my community college web pages. It pops up every time I go to do something different for school: check my school mail, upload my homework, etc. It’s driving me nuts. I’ve tried changing the date and time and I lowered my security settings to an unhealthy level and nothing is working. Every time I log into the school website, that blasted thing pops up and it doesn’t have any options; just a button that shows content you can click or the “X” button. This happens on every PC in my house: 4 laptops; 2 desktops, all different brands but they all have Windows 8. I’ve clicked the “show content” thinking it would be the end of it, but within a few minutes, it’s back up there again. I’ve tried clicking the “x” button just to close it and then a few minutes, it’s back. I never get the message when I’m at school working on the school computers.

To begin with, there should be a link or an option on that error page that would give you more information about what the error with the security certificate is. Without that, it’s actually very difficult for me to take a guess at exactly what’s happening.

Read moreWhy Do I Keep Getting Certificate Errors from My School’s Website?

I’m not seeing a padlock with my https site. Is it safe?

Before I make any transaction with my credit card, I always look at the address bar at the top to see if it begins with https and that there’s a closed golden padlock at the extreme right of the bar. Then and only then will I proceed. Recently, I’ve come across a couple of trusted and/or reputable sites which do exhibit the https part, but the padlock is missing. Instead, they have sort of a reassurance like “your order is safe and secure with all SSL 128 or 256 blah, blah” lower down where you enter all of your personal details and credit card number. Now what would I like to know is this safe? Even though the vendor’s site is reputable and it’s recommended by an equally reputable person? At the best of times, I’m rather paranoid about giving my personal details to an invisible entity so when it comes to credit card details and such, my distrust knows no bounds. Am I being overly cautious or am I being justified somewhat reticent?

You’re justified in asking these questions. I suspect that there’s actually something that you’re missing on screen, which is fine.

I do want to cover just exactly what that padlock does (and does not) mean and what the https is all about.

Read moreI’m not seeing a padlock with my https site. Is it safe?

Footnotes & references

4: I have to say “typically”, because there are indeed techniques where even https can be compromised. Fortunately, for now, they’re rare.

Why am I getting security certificate errors?

I regularly get the error message, “Internet Explorer blocked this website from displaying content with security certificate errors.” This happens no matter which version of Internet Explorer I use (I have access to 8, 9 and 10 on various computers). The only common denominator that I’ve come up with is my router. I’m using OpenDNS to filter our internet access. Is it possible that OpenDNS is keeping the security certificates from working?

OpenDNS could be keeping the security certificates from working, but that’s not the first thing that I would look at in your scenario.

Does this happen on all of the https sites that you visit? Or just a few? Maybe even just one? It’s possible that there really is a certificate error on the server; perhaps something as simple as an expired certificate could cause this error message to appear. If so, that’s a server issue and not yours.

On the other hand, if you’re seeing this message at all https sites, then it could mean a couple of different things.

Read moreWhy am I getting security certificate errors?

Footnotes & references

5: I recommend Firefox because it has its own certificate storage mechanism. Chrome, on the other hand, uses the same Windows certificate store that IE uses. A problem that is IE or Windows specific may possibly still manifest with Chrome, where it might not using Firefox.