When does your website’s SSL certificate expire?

Enter the website address and check the SSL certificate installed on it – when it was issued and by whom and when it expires.

SSL Certificates

Browsing the Internet, though immensely useful, is often full of risks. There are plenty of phishing websites out there which hackers and digital thieves use to steal users’ private information. To avoid becoming the prey of such online threats, ensuring the security aspect of every website is critical.

The easiest method to check if a website is secure to visit and transact is to see if its URL begins with http or https. Websites which begin with HTTPS are secure since the data they send and receive is encrypted using TLS protocol. HTTPS websites are often known to be secured using SSL certificates.

What are SSL Certificates?

SSL certificates, otherwise known as TLS, are used to encrypt webpage traffic and identity verification of the server. They’re small data files containing those websites’ public key, their identity, and other related information. The SSL certificate for a website is hosted on the server which hosts the website, and clients that wish to communicate with such websites refer to this file to procure the public key and verify the server’s identity.

Typically, an SSL certificate contains the domain name, issue & expiration date, public key, sub-domains, the authority issuing it, and their signature. The private key is kept secret as it’s of primary importance and is prone to misuse.

What happens when I forget to prolong my SSL certificate and it expires?

The expiration dates for a website’s SSL certificate are hardcoded in the certificate itself. It’s extremely critical to monitor and stay ahead of expirations since failure to renew SSL certificates can cause the website to be marked as “unsecure.” When that happens, naturally it leads to a huge cut down in visitor trust and loss of business.

How to avoid expiration issues?

While the chief method is to keep a track of your data, we believe there are other factors you should keep in mind. To start with, get rid of manual spreadsheets; even a single forgotten data entry might get you in trouble. Secondly, regularly have a check on your certificate authority’s (CA) certificate management portal to evade forgetting policy changes and updates that might affect your certificate’s duration. Setting up email reminders can help alert you in time.

How to check the SSL Certificate of a website?

Here are the steps to check the SSL certificates of the latest versions of the most used browsers:

Google Chrome

Desktop: Click the padlock in the URL area which will open a dropdown box. Then, click the “Valid” option from the Certificate section.
Mobile: Click the padlock icon and then click “Details” from the dropdown box.

Note: When it comes to iOS devices, the details present after clicking the padlock icon in chrome are quite limited as compared to Android.

Firefox

Desktop: Clicking the padlock in the URL bar brings up a primary dropdown menu. Click the arrow to the right of the menu to view more about the certificate.

Internet Explorer

Desktop: Clicking the padlock shows the issuing CA and info regarding server encryption. Clicking the “View Certificates” on the bottom of the pop-up menu will show more details.

Safari

Desktop: Click on the padlock, then click the “Show Certificate” button to view more detail if the short details present onscreen aren’t enough.

Note: Sadly, Safari on iOS doesn’t show certificate details as much as iOS Chrome does.

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