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What Happens When Your Digital Certificate Expires?


Digital Certificate

SSL/TLS (Secure Socket Layer/Transport Layer Security) certificates are quite familiar in the digital world since these digital security certificates secure your web with encryption. They secure all the browser-server exchanges with robust 256-bit encryption security which uses cryptographic algorithms for securing the digital information. This refrains hackers from misusing your digital data.

These digital certificates come with an expiry date and once they have expired, your web and its data lose their security.

How do SSL certificates expire?

This blog answers the above question that is bothering many ignorant web owners.

Ø What Does it Mean by Expired SSL Certificates?

SSL certificates use special keys to encrypt and decrypt the data for securing the web. When an SSL certificate expires, these special keys become invalid, thus becoming incapable of securing the web.

Your website will become vulnerable since an expired SSL certificate is as good as zero security. When an SSL certificate installed on your website expires, your site will display warning alerts to users who are trying to access the site. “Your connection is not Private” or “Your communication is not Secure” alerts will be displayed to the users, who become skeptical about accessing your site.

Such warning alerts can impact your network traffic, brand image, company reputation, and SEO (search engine optimization) ranks. Thus, it is vital to keep a check on the expiry date and renew the SSL certificate before this date. This will always keep your site secured.

About Reliable SSL Certificates & Their Providers:

Web owners should buy an SSL certificate from popular brands (Comodo, Thawte, GeoTrust, etc.) or from reliable SSL certificate providers. This will help establish a secured tunnel between your website and your user’s browsers. This secured encryption tunnel will help safeguard all the sensitive data-in-transit exchanged between the browser and the server, thus keeping malicious intruders away from your site.

The existence of valid SSL certificates on a website is proof of site authenticity, site legitimacy, and site trustworthiness since a verification process is carried out by the Certificate Authority (CA) before issuing the SSL certificate.

Thus, SSL certificates boost users’ trust and confidence in the site as this website security certificate displays https (hypertext transfer protocol secure) and a tiny padlock in the URL. These signs encourage users to purchase products and conduct monetary transactions on such sites since everything is encrypted (coded).

Good digital infrastructures are all about strong online security and reliability and investing in a reliable SSL certificate is a wise step for securing your site and its data.

Different types of SSL certificates offer different security to your web 

These HTTP certificates are of multiple types and validations. Domain Validation (DV) SSL certificates, Organisation Validation (OV) SSL certificates, Extended Validation (EV) SSL certificates, Wildcard SSL certificates, Multi-domain SSL certificates, etc.

Use a Wildcard SSL certificate to secure the root domain and multiple first-level sub-domains for better certificate management since a single certificate is enough to secure your web.

In the case of multiple domains (due to multiple businesses), use a multi-domain SSL certificate, in which a single certificate secures varied domains and multiple sub-domains of all levels.  

Ø What Happens When Digital Certificates Expire?

  •       When these https certificates are expired, your web becomes unsecured and you lose out on user trust which can create a negative impact on your business.
  •    Site inaccessibility and warning alerts to users can further downgrade your brand reputation.
  •     Apart from these negatives, your site data integrity is at risk of being compromised, which can downgrade your SEO rank too.

Consequences of an Expired SSL Certificate:

1.    Exposure to Security Vulnerabilities:

As stated before, expired SSL certificates can expose security vulnerabilities since they become invalid. Valid SSL certificates can convert plain data into a cipher form with encryption security.

However invalid and expired SSL certificates can nullify this encryption effect, thus giving ways to intruders to access your systems and misuse your data. Data breaches, identity theft, MITM attacks, phishing attacks, etc., and other cybercrimes are successfully carried out by hackers when a site has an expired SSL certificate installed on it.


2.    Expired SSL Certificates Cause Network Downtimes:

Expired SSL certificates can cause website downtimes which can have a negative financial and reputational impact on your business. The user’s trust is at stake when the site owner misses out on the expiry dates of this certificate.

3.    Loss of Customer Trust:

Data breaches are on the rise and are still going to worsen with time. Users fear their data falling into the wrong hands and hence site owners should put their fears to rest by checking on the expiry dates of this digital security certificate.

Many users are now aware of the trust symbols and can identify the site status (secured or unsecured) based on their visibility.

Sites displaying https and padlock portray security and hence users trust them. The absence of these trust signs and warning alerts is enough to wipe out user trust and cause a downfall in your leads, sales, revenues, and SEO.

4.    Damaged Brand Reputation:

Not only is the user’s trust hampered, but the brand reputation of the company is also at stake when users come across a site having an expired SSL certificate. It is simple, when access is denied, or when warning alerts are displayed users are bound to move to a competitor’s site since they believe that the company’s site is unsecured and the privacy of their data is at stake.

An expired SSL certificate invites phishers, hackers, intruders, and other cyber-criminals to misuse site and user data which could damage your brand to the point of no return.

5.    Poor User Experience:

Who would like interruptions while doing online shopping or while browsing the site?

Users get pissed off when they keep on seeing warning alerts stating that the site is unsecured, while they try accessing their desired site. This creates a negative impact on the user’s mind.

Your business revenues and reputation depend on user experience and a negative user experience can enhance the cart abandonment rate, and can diminish the sales count.

Expired certificates can also negatively impact SEO since search engines (like Google) always prefer to display secured sites on their front pages. Poor site visibility and curtailed network traffic can also impact customer count, business revenues, and overall growth.

Ø What Should you do to Avoid all This?

To alleviate all these negative consequences, the site owners should create policies for accurate certificate management.

  •     The IT team should monitor the certificate expiration dates and keep track of them by setting up proper renewal notifications before their expiry date.
  •    Once the notification popup is displayed, the team should renew them on priority.
  •     The IT team should also ensure that the renewal process is properly carried out and the new SSL certificate is properly configured on the server. Improper configuration of SSL also leads to error displays and hence the team should ensure accuracy during the installation of this digital security certificate to prevent security vulnerabilities.
  •   Regular monitoring and proper management of these certificates are vital for gaining customer loyalty, user trust, brand reputation, revenues, business growth, and SEO.

Ø How to Check the Expiry Date of the Certificate?

The expiry date of the SSL certificate can be checked by clicking on the tiny padlock in the URL.

  •        Click Padlock > go to “Connection Secure” > go to “Certificate is Valid”.
  •    In “Certificate Viewer” the validity period is mentioned and check the same.

Final Words:

Securing the web is not just about installing security tools, but it is also about monitoring their efficiency and keeping them always updated. The same stands true for SSL certificates which need regular monitoring and checking of their status.

Site owners can set reminders or automated alerts by installing monitoring tools to ensure that the certificate does not expire or become invalid.

Timely renewal of these digital securities can go a long way in keeping your web encrypted, secured, and trustworthy.

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