Massive Google Webmaster Tools SSL Warnings?

May 1, 2014 • 8:27 am | comments (3) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Other Google Topics

security warningThis morning and yesterday, the webmaster forums started getting polluted with questions about Google Webmaster Tools issues and notifying them about SSL certificate errors.

In short, back in 2009, Google began notifying webmasters of security certificate issues. All of a sudden, yesterday, tons of people started getting them all at once.

Chris Ainsworth posted this on Google+, and we have several threads at Google Webmaster Help.

Some of the messages, webmasters are claiming are sent in error. Either the certificate works fine or the site does not have SSL at all on it. One webmaster wrote, "I got the same message, and it's irritating, because we don't us SSL."

Google has not responded to any of the threads at the time of publishing this story.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help & Google+.

Update: John Mueller told me:

These are legitimate messages (the SSL certificate is really incorrect). That can happen if your hoster lets your server respond on HTTPS, but doesn't actually set up a correct certificate there. This is a problem because it either shows errors in the browser, or gives users a false sense of security when they use those URLs.

That said, it looks like we might be sending out a bit too many of these messages at the moment, for example for servers that serve HTTPS content but don't actually use it at all. We'll look into the specifics and see if we can pause the messages for the moment. Show less

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Chris Ainsworth

05/01/2014 01:46 pm

I've seen two instances of SSL certificate notifications both of which were issued today and both of which concern expired SSL certificates. A very handy notification in my opinion!

Michael Martinez

05/01/2014 02:45 pm

There was a recent discussion on the Webmaster forums where a site was accidentally publishing itself on HTTPS and that is what got indexed into Google. The site was misconfigured and the Webmaster had to get their ISP to step in to fix the problem. That was unusual in terms of someone raising the issue but I suppose Google could see a lot of that.

Seriously Spain

05/02/2014 03:27 am

Google Webmaster Tools is a gigantic mess. Even submitting a URL takes forever, as it's more steps than Bing requires and then often keeps reloading automatically and won't allow you to submit the URL. It's also an issue Google has had for the last four or five years and refuses to fix. Meanwhile, Bing's webmaster tools work every time.

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