Mindless Philosophy

Accepting a self-signed certificate in Internet Explorer

by Darren Street

Created on: Thursday January 9, 2014

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I use a mail server called Smartermail which is a Microsoft Exchange looky-likey without the hassle, overhead and extortionate licensing costs but with features you actually use. The mail interface is driven by a .Net website written to .Net 4 spec. It’s very good and if you only need to handle one domain... it’s free.


Now it’s generally best to secure your email traffic over the web with an SSL certificate but with certificates from trusted roots coming in at £200+ it can be expensive.

Bear with me I am getting there.

Now you could create a self signed certificate on your webserver and bind that to the smartermail website. BUT you get a nasty URL red box reminding you that you are a cheapskate, so I went looking on a method to remove that nasty red box.

So if you really want to get rid of the red box, follow these instructions. It’s a bit of a fag but at least it does work.

Ditch the Red box

Remember this is for IE only. Haven’t figured it out for Firefox yet but I bet it’s easier.

1. Browse to the site where you are getting the nasty red box whose self signed certificate you want to trust.

2. When told “There is a problem with this website's security certificate.”, choose “Continue to this website (not recommended) even though it is recommended because it’s your certificate.”

3. Select Tools - Internet Options. If you can’t see the tools menu click the ALT key.

4. Select the Security tab, click the Trusted sites (green tick) for the zone and click the Sites button.

5. The URL of the site will be in the “add to zone” box. Confirm the URL matches, and click “Add” then “Close”.

6. Click OK to close the “Internet Options” box.

7. Refresh the current page.

8. You will again see the “There is a problem with this website's security certificate.”, select the “Continue to this website (not recommended)” option.

9. Click on “Certificate Error” at the right of the URL in bright red address bar. A box will appear saying Mismatch Address, select “View certificates”.

10. Click on “Install Certificate...” a Certificate Import Wizard control will appear, click “Next”.

11. On the next page select “Place all certificates in the following store”. Click the browse button and select “Trusted Root Certification Authorities”, and click “OK”.

12. Back in the wizard, click “Next”, then “Finish”. If you get a “Security Warning” message box, click “Yes”. Don’t worry it’s OK. It’s your certificate, you created it so you know it’s OK. Click OK to close the Certificate Box.

Nearly done, bear with...

13. Now select Tools Internet Options again. Select the Security tab, click the Trusted sites (green tick) for the zone and click the Sites button.

14. Now remove the URL you added earlier. Select the URL you just added, click “Remove”, then “Close”. OK out of all boxes.

15. Now shut down all running instances of Internet Explorer, and start up IE again. The site’s certificate should now be trusted and the red box gone forever.



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