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How to Fix VPN Certificate Validation Failure Error

How to Fix VPN Certificate Validation Failure Error

A VPN is a service that provides you with security while online. It establishes a private connection by routing your traffic through an encrypted tunnel, hiding your IP address and internet activity from third parties and other prying eyes.

VPN usage is popular for both personal and business use, as the number of data breaches and privacy violations continue to grow. With approximately 1.2 billion internet users worldwide employing a VPN service, they have become a vital part of our online experience.

A free VPN service can allow you to enjoy greater internet freedom and bypass geo-restrictions to access content and streaming libraries from other countries. Enhanced security and unblocking content are two of the biggest reasons individuals and businesses employ a VPN. 

That being said, VPN can be a very frustrating experience when you are faced with a VPN error. While VPNs can still be open to threats such as malware, a common problem with VPN clients is establishing the connection via the VPN certificate.

What is a VPN Certificate and Why Do We Need One?

The VPN client needs a VPN certificate to authenticate that you are connecting to their server. Digital certificates, much like using pre-shared keys for authentication, are another means to confirm you are who you really are.

An SSL certificate will be used by your VPN gateway to verify that it is the device it claims to be. These certificates are more secure than a pre-shared key, but they expire for security reasons or when they need to be replaced.

In 2020, Apple announced that TLS/SSL server certificates would not have a validity period greater than 397 days. This change made it vital to fix any VPN certificate validation error as soon as possible. Individuals use Virtual Private Networks to improve their security and privacy while browsing the internet.

As a result, if you are unable to validate VPN security, the purpose of obtaining the VPN in the first place becomes pointless. Although there are other types of security software out there, VPNs are an excellent tool to both protect your data and open access to more content online. Let’s look at a few common reasons for VPN certificate validation.

Common Reasons for VPN Certificate Validation Failure

There are numerous reasons why this could occur. It is possible that your device does not recognize the certificate of the VPN server as valid. There are several options for resolving this.

One approach is to add the VPN server’s certificate to the trusted certificate list on your device. Another solution is to install a third-party VPN client that enables certificate validation. If you are still experiencing issues, you should contact your VPN provider for assistance.

However, before you go through troubleshooting steps, it’s worth checking that the problem isn’t temporary downtime on the VPN client’s part, a glitch, or a bug. This can be solved by reconnecting to the VPN, restarting your router, or temporarily disabling your firewall. You should also make sure your VPN provider is compatible with your chosen network, such as Firefox.

The most common reason for a VPN certificate validation failure is an expired certificate. You can check whether your certificate is still valid in the interface of your VPN provider. Fixing this will depend on whether your certificate is externally signed for the VPN firewall or whether it is internally signed for an external component. This is because you must manually create and renew any certificates that are not signed by the default Certificate Authority (CA).

Renewing an Externally Signed Certificate:

  • Create a new certificate request
  • Sign the certificate with the external certificate authority
  • Import the newly signed certificate

Renewing an Internally Signed Certificate:

  • Create a new certificate request in the external component
  • Sign the certificate with the internal certificate authority
  • Export the newly signed certificate and import it to the external component

Further Troubleshooting Steps

If you continue to encounter the error after assuring it is not a bug and verifying the validity of your certificate, you can move on to the next set of troubleshooting steps.

One probable explanation is that the certificate’s Common Name (CN) does not match the domain name being requested. In this scenario, the solution is to check that the certificate’s CN reflects the domain name. Furthermore, it is critical to ensure that the certificate is issued or signed by a trusted Certificate Authority, as the certificate cannot be validated without this step.

If you are a Mac user, the most common cause is that the VPN server is not set up to use the proper certificate. Another possibility is that the certificate is not trusted by the VPN client. In this case, both a pre-shared key and a certificate can be used as authentication methods through the VPN client interface. 


Fixing a VPN certificate validation error as soon as possible is important to ensure your VPN client is running properly. Without troubleshooting this issue, your security is compromised until the error is resolved.

An expired certificate is likely the cause behind the error, so be sure to keep your certificate up to date and issued by a trusted certificate authority. If problems persist, it would be best to contact your VPN service provider for further assistance.

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