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Browser doesn't like https://domainname.com but accepts https://www.domainname.com

Posted on 2011-03-03
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
We have installed a dedicated SSL certificate (our web host did on our shared web site) for our www.domainname.org. When folks visit https://www.domainname.org they view the site in secure mode no problem.

BUT - there are some google links to our site that link to https://domainname.org (without the www prefix). When users click on that link, they get a security warning from their browser stating that the site was set up for www.domainname.org.

Why is this happening? I understand that the common name assigned to an SSL means that is the specific address that it is for. But I am able to go to my own local web server where I installed a dedicated SSL and I can go to either https://www.mydomain.com or https://mydomain.com and I don't get a security warning.

Why do users clicking on the google link get the security error, but I don't when I go to my local site in SSl mode? Is it because they are clicking on a link, vs. my manually typing it in my browser? That is the only difference I can make out.

Any thoughts?
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Question by:rascal
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Dave Baldwin earned 2000 total points
ID: 35034016
Your second paragraph Is the answer but here is an explanation: http://nayyeri.net/ssl-certificates-and-www-prefix-on-domain-names
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Author Comment

by:rascal
ID: 35038973
Thanks DaveBaldwin,

The answer is contained in that post: some SSL issuers provide SSL certificates that work both WITH and WITHOUT the www. prefix, and at no extra charge. It's just part of the SSL certificate they generate.

For example, the SSL cert I got from Thawte works this way - it will work both with and/or without the www. prefix.

The problem SSL cert in this case was issued by SecureTrust and it requires the EXACT name - so if the SecureTrust certificate was issued as www.domainname.com, then that is the EXACT name that must be used.

Lesson learned - be sure you find out from the issuer whether the SSL certificate will work both WITH AND WITHOUT the www prefix - like Thawte does.
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Author Closing Comment

by:rascal
ID: 35038981
Thanks Dave,
See my note above for more details.
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LVL 84

Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 35039001
You're welcome and thanks for the points.
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