Don't let your client's SSL Certificates expire

In February 2020 Microsoft Teams suffered a multi-hour outage impacting customers around the world. The reason? Microsoft apparently forgot to renew an SSL certificate, which enables a secure connection between a web browser and a web server.

A pretty rookie mistake but one that's all too easy to make.

In this case, whilst this is embarrassing, it's Microsoft - everyone knows them, so they can fix it and everyone goes back to using their website and web apps as normal.

You probably aren't Microsoft. If your customers arrive at your website to see a warning like this...

Firefox expired SSL Certificate warning

or this...

Microsoft Edge expired SSL Certificate warning

...they may not come back.

One way websites minimised the risk of their certificates expiring was to give their certificates very long lifespans, but that won't work anymore. In March 2020 Apple announced that Safari would no longer trust certificates with a lifespan over 398 days, and the other browser vendors quickly followed suit. And some certificate issuers, such as Let's Encrypt issue certificates with short lifespans, as little as 90 days.

Renewing SSL certificates is a tedious, time-consuming, error-prone, multi-step process. If you're lucky, and depending on where you get your SSL certificates from, and who hosts your website, you may be able to automate certificate renewal. But automated processes fail, so even if you have automated it you still need to keep an eye on it to make sure it's worked, and be the first to know if tere's a problem.

Warning: shameless plug ahead!

For just $30 a month and with just 5-minutes of setup, SiteSentry will monitor your websites and give you plenty of warning before an SSL certificate is due to expire, so you can avoid an embarrassing call to your clients to apologise for their website being inaccessible, or turn a potentially disastrous issue into an opportunity to demonstrate that you are proactive and go beyond your remit in your clients' interest.