Fix: ERR_CERT_COMMON_NAME_INVALID ‘Connection Not Private’

If you are using Google Chrome, try navigating to a specific website and see an error message stating that your connection is not private when you type the website’s address into the URL bar and press Enter, you are affected by the NET::ERR_CERT_COMMON_NAME_INVALID issue. If you click on Show advanced under the error message that states that your connection is not private, you will see that the error code for the problem is NET::ERR_CERT_COMMON_NAME_INVALID.

Google Chrome displays this error message to users when it requests the credentials of the website in question and receives credentials that are either incorrect or unusual for the website. In most cases, the error message is triggered by the SSL certificate of the website being accessed not matching the certificate Google Chrome has on record for that specific website. Since visiting a website that has iffy credentials can be potentially dangerous, Google Chrome displays this error message and advises the affected user to try accessing the website some other time so that any possible security threats are neutralized on the website’s end.

This problem only occurs on websites that encrypt all communication between them and their users’ computers (and therefore have ‘https’ in their web addresses instead of ‘http’). This includes all the big names out there on the World Wide Web, as well as any website that cares even a little bit about its own security and the security of its users. This issue has also been known to sometimes be caused by incorrect date and time settings, so if you run into it, make sure that your computer’s date and time settings are correct before doing anything else. Thankfully, though, there are quite a few effective solutions that you can use to try and resolve this issue, and there is also a workaround that proves successful in many cases.

The Workaround

As previously stated, this problem only occurs on websites that use the HTTPS protocol instead of the HTTP protocol and encrypt all data exchanges between them and their users’ computers. What most people don’t know is that for every website that uses the HTTPS protocol, there is a version of the website that uses the HTTP protocol for various reasons. You can easily bypass this problem by replacing the “https” in the address of the website you are trying to access with “http”, which will take you to the version of the website that is unencrypted and uses the HTTP protocol.

Be careful, however, as in doing so you are going to be lowering your computer’s defenses by accessing an unencrypted website, which is why you should only consider attempting this workaround when the website you are trying to access is a well-known and trustworthy website (Facebook or YouTube, for example).

Solution 1: Disable (or uninstall) all third-party security programs

Third-party security programs have also been identified as the cause of this issue in many cases. That being so, if you have any third-party antivirus, antimalware or firewall programs installed and actively running on your computer, disabling them (or rather uninstalling them entirely), might rid your computer of this issue. If the problem still persists after you have disabled or uninstalled all such programs, however, simply move on to a different solution.

Solution 2: Flush the contents of your computer’s DNS client resolver cache

  1. If you are using Windows 7, open the Start Menu, search for “cmd”, right-click on the search result titled cmd and click on Run as administrator. If you are using Windows 8, 8.1 or 10, press the Windows Logo key + X to open the WinX Menu, and click on Command Prompt (Admin) in the WinX Menu. If you cannot find CMD via WinX Menu, then use the Windows 7 instructions and they will work as well.
  2. Type the following into the elevated Command Prompt and press Enter:

ipconfig /flushdns

  1. Once the command has been executed, close the elevated Command Prompt.
  2. Restart the computer and check whether or not the problem has been fixed once it boots up.

Solution 3: Use Google’s DNS servers

If your computer is configured to automatically use random DNS servers, the servers that it is using may be why you are experiencing this problem. If that is the case, simply configuring your computer to use Google’s DNS servers instead should get the job done. In order to do so, you need to:

  1. Right-click on the Network icon in your computer’s notification area and click on Open Network and Sharing Center in the resulting context menu.
  2. Click on Change adapter settings in the left pane.
  3. Right-click on your internet connection and click on Properties.
  4. Click on Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) to select it and click on Properties.
  5. Enable the Use the following DNS server addresses:
  6. Set your Preferred DNS server to 8.8.8.8
  7. Set your Alternate DNS server to 8.8.4.4
  8. Click on OK, and then on OK again, and close the Network and Sharing Center.
  9. Restart your computer.

When the computer boots up, try accessing the website you were having trouble accessing before and see whether or not you have gotten rid of the NET::ERR_CERT_COMMON_NAME_INVALID error message.

Solution 4: Edit your computer’s hosts file to fix the problem

  1. Press the Windows Logo key + E to launch the File Explorer.
  2. Navigate to the following directory:

X:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc

Note: Replace X in the directory above with the letter corresponding to the partition of your computer’s hard drive that Windows is installed on (which, for most folks, is disk C).

  1. Locate and right-click on a file named hosts, and click on Open.
  2. From the list of programs that you are provided, click on and select Notepad, and click on OK. Doing so will open the hosts file in Notepad, where you can easily edit it.
  3. Sift through the hosts file, and if you find any entries within it that contain the address of the website you are unable to access, delete them.
  4. Press Ctrl + S to save the changes you have made, and then close the hosts
  5. Close the File Explorer and restart your computer.

Once the computer boots up, try accessing the website you were previously unable to access and check if the problem has been fixed.

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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Fix: ERR_CERT_COMMON_NAME_INVALID ‘Connection Not Private’

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