If you are a regular internet user, then you may well have encountered the Google Chrome 'Your Connection is Not Private' error message. As alarming as this may be, it is useful to understand exactly what this message is telling you, and why. And as a bonus, we'll tell you what you might be able to do to fix it.
What Does 'Your Connection Is Not Private' Mean In Google Chrome?
Whenever you visit a website, Google Chrome will check the security certificate on that website. The security certificate is what tells Chrome that the website is safe to access. So if the certificate isn't valid, or doesn't meet the necessary standards, Chrome will flag it.
This is when you see the 'Your Connection Is Not Private' message. It's a warning to tell you that if you proceed to the website, then your data might not be secure. When you see the message, it doesn't mean that your data has been compromised. It means if you proceed, you are potentially putting yourself at risk. So it's not a warning to be dismissed lightly. This is especially true if it's a site that requires you to input personal information, or credit card details, for instance.
There are a variety of error codes that may accompany this message on Chrome, which will give you some hints as to why the error has appeared. SSL certificate error, for example, means the SSL security certificate could not be verified.
But what can you do if you see this error?
How to fix a 'Your connection is not private' error
Often the problem is caused by a security certificate issue at the website's end. But that being said, there are a few steps you can try, in case that isn't the issue:
- Start by making sure you typed the website address correctly. If you've got one character wrong, it would send you to the wrong destination.
- If the address is correct, try reloading the page, or closing the browser and then relaunching it.
- Check if you are using public Wi-Fi. This could at an airport, hotel or shopping centre, for example. Not all public Wi-Fi networks are configured correctly for security, which can cause the issue. Try switching to mobile data instead.
- Make sure your computer is set to the correct date and time. If it isn't, this will cause a mismatch with the browser, which may stop it from viewing the SSL certificate.
- Clear your browsing history.
- Use incognito mode.
- Check that your device is fully up to date.
- Test your antivirus software. An over-zealous anti-virus can block some websites. It can also override your browser. Try disabling it temporarily, to see if this makes a difference.
- Your final option is to restart your device.
If none of these options works, then, of course, you still have the option of proceeding to the website. Which, as we said earlier, puts your data at risk. So we wouldn't recommend it. If you click on the "proceed to..." button, you will be able to access the website. But then again, your connection isn't private. So would you really want to?