Problem: SSL Certificate Name Mismatch

Ever get an SSL error? Sometimes there are problems with SSL certificates, even though you have entered the information correctly, or even if you don't have one at all! Here is one problem you can have with SSL.

Certificate Name Mismatch

Dun dun duuuun...

Here's a few things you should check.

What does this mean?

  • The web site does not use SSL, but shares an IP address with some other site that does.
  • The web site no longer exists, yet the domain name still points to the old IP address, where some other site is now hosted.
  • The web site uses a content delivery network (CDN) that does not support SSL.
  • The domain name is an alias for a web site whose main name is different, but the alias was not included in the certificate by mistake.

In my case, one of my client sites had no reason to have an SSL certificate, yet there was one when a user needed to fill out a simple form. Why? My client was on a shared web hosting account, one where you couldn't even set up an SSL certificate even if you needed one. Having a shared account can also mean having a shared IP, and sometimes, people going to your site can wind up on another by accident because of crazy SSL mistakes like this.

Her form, in the end, was sending the user to a https:// address, so the server searched for the certificate that allows this https://. It found an SSL on the shared server apparently and voila, wrong website, or untrusted certificate error.

Be careful, if you are on a shared server, do not have any https:// links unless you know for sure that you have SSL, or things can and will go wrong. Be sure you have a dedicated IP as well.

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