Fixing the Cloudflare “Origin Certificate Not Trusted” Error

Experiencing an error message like “Origin Certificate Not Trusted” on your website can be concerning. This error signifies a security certificate issue between Cloudflare and your origin server. If neglected, it could lead to warnings or errors for your users, adversely affecting their trust and experience on your site. However, with proper troubleshooting, you can pinpoint and resolve the underlying cause, reinstating robust security and trust for your site’s visitors.

Understanding the Cloudflare Origin Certificate

When leveraging Cloudflare, your website’s traffic is directed through their extensive global network. Cloudflare issues an origin certificate to authenticate the connection between their edge servers and your origin server.

This certificate, by default, isn’t issued by a recognized certificate authority (CA). Therefore, if the certificate’s connection chain isn’t correctly set up, the “Origin Certificate Not Trusted” error might surface.

The primary objective is to validate this origin certificate, ensuring all communications between Cloudflare and your origin server are trusted. For more insights on this process, you can refer to WordaThemes’ detailed guide on Cloudflare and Heroku Error 525.

Common Causes of the Error

Several key factors could lead to the “Origin Certificate Not Trusted” error:

  • Incorrect DNS Records: Incorrectly pointed DNS records to Cloudflare’s servers can hinder certificate verification. Ensure your DNS configuration is accurate.
  • Problems with SSL/TLS Settings: Invalid SSL/TLS settings in Cloudflare or your origin server can disrupt certificate validation. Review your cipher suites and TLS versions carefully.
  • Issues with Origin Server Configuration: Challenges like outdated software, expiring certificates, or other hiccups on your origin server can obstruct the validation of the origin certificate.
  • Problems with Self-Signed Certificates: Using a self-signed certificate on your origin server necessitates additional steps for establishing a trusted connection.

For a more specific scenario, such as resolving Cloudflare SSL errors when ‘www’ is not present in the domain, check out WordaThemes’ article on Cloudflare SSL Error with Missing ‘www’. This resource provides targeted advice for addressing such specialized issues.

In summary, understanding and resolving the “Origin Certificate Not Trusted” error involves a careful examination of your DNS settings, SSL/TLS configurations, and the state of your origin server. By methodically addressing these areas, you can restore security and user trust in your website.

Step-by-Step Guide to Resolving the Error

Follow these steps to troubleshoot and fix the Cloudflare “Origin Certificate Not Trusted” error:

1. Validate Your DNS Configuration

Log into your DNS provider and confirm that your records are correctly pointing traffic to Cloudflare’s servers:

  • A record pointing to 173.245.59.xxx
  • AAAA record pointing to 2405:b500:xxx:xxxx::xxxx

This ensures traffic gets routed properly through the Cloudflare network.

2. Check Cloudflare SSL/TLS Settings

In the Cloudflare dashboard, navigate to SSL/TLS app. Verify that your SSL mode is set to Full or Full (strict).

Also check that your SSL/TLS Minimum Version is TLS 1.2 or higher. Use recommended cipher suites like AES128+EECDH:AES128+EDH.

3. Examine Origin Server Config

Log into your origin web server and validate your SSL/TLS settings match Cloudflare’s. Use TLS 1.2 or higher.

Check your origin certificate is valid and issued by a trusted CA. If using a self-signed cert, you’ll need to install the Cloudflare origin CA certificate on your server.

4. Recheck Certificate Status

Try reloading your website and see if the “Origin Certificate Not Trusted” error has resolved. You can also use SSL checking tools to validate your origin certificate.

5. Contact Cloudflare Support

If you still see the error after troubleshooting, reach out to Cloudflare support for further investigation. They can help pinpoint any configuration issues.

Preventing Future Errors

To avoid any repeat “Origin Certificate Not Trusted” errors, be sure to:

  • Maintain trusted SSL/TLS certificates from known certificate authorities on your origin server. Never use expired or self-signed certificates.
  • Regularly check DNS records are pointing to Cloudflare servers and update as needed.
  • Monitor certificate expirations and stay on top of renewals before they cause issues.
  • Keep origin server software and SSL/TLS libraries up-to-date and secure.

Following Cloudflare’s best practices for SSL/TLS and DNS configuration will help ensure your origin certificate remains trusted, giving your visitors the verified protection they expect.

FAQ

What causes the “Origin Certificate Not Trusted” error?

This error occurs when Cloudflare is unable to validate the SSL/TLS certificate on your origin server. Issues with DNS records, expired certificates, and configuration problems can trigger it.

What is an origin certificate in Cloudflare?

The origin certificate is issued by Cloudflare to secure communication between their edge network and your origin server. It needs to be validated to avoid errors.

How do I renew or reissue an origin certificate?

You don’t need to renew Cloudflare’s origin certificate. As long as your origin server has a valid, trusted certificate, the origin certificate will function correctly.

Should I use a self-signed certificate on my origin server?

No, self-signed certificates will cause issues. You need a certificate from a trusted CA like Let’s Encrypt on your origin server for full compatibility with Cloudflare.

How do I check if my DNS records are configured correctly?

Log into your DNS provider and verify the A and AAAA records are pointed to Cloudflare’s IP addresses. This ensures traffic routing works properly.

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