Fixed Using Chat GPT

I was recently trying to update the SSL certificate on this website and for some reason I always run into issues. I will be making a separate post on how I will be remedying that. But in this case I went into my server attempting to use lets encrypt, and all was successful. Except for my site was still not secure. I did some troubleshooting using their recommended tools. Two of note were Check your Website and HTML5 Up which were useful for getting the meta data about my domain. I wasn’t able to get to the root as to what was going on, the only information I had to go with was an error for ‘mismatched name’ on my certificate.

I ended up posting on the forums to get help. They seemed like they were fairly active so I kept refreshing hoping to get someone to respond. In the meantime I thought I would try out my issue with ChatGPT. I tried a few prompts in the 3.5 version, which was more questions about SSL certificates in general. It was definitely informative and told me the main places to check out but wasn’t solving my problem. With still no response from the forums I decided to take my issue to ChatGPT version 4 using this starting prompt:

Trying to get ssl certificate to work. Using lets encrypt. On ubuntu 18 and apache 2.5. I created a new certificate but my browser is saying that the site is not secure and that the name is mismatched

And the response:

If your browser is saying that the site is not secure and the name is mismatched, it may be that the domain name on the certificate doesn’t match the domain name in the browser’s address bar. This can occur if the SSL certificate was generated for a different domain than the one you’re trying to secure, or if you’re trying to secure a specific subdomain and the SSL certificate wasn’t issued for that subdomain.

Here are some steps to help you troubleshoot and resolve the problem:

  1. Check your SSL certificate: Check your SSL certificate to make sure it has been issued for the correct domain name. You can do this by running the following command:
bashCopy codeopenssl x509 -in /etc/letsencrypt/live/ -noout -text

Replace with your actual domain name. Look for the Subject: field in the output, which should include a CN= (Common Name) field that matches your domain name.

  1. Check your Apache configuration: Your Apache configuration should point to the correct SSL certificate and key files. The configuration might look something like this:
<VirtualHost *:443>
    DocumentRoot /var/www/html

    SSLEngine on
    SSLCertificateFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/
    SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/
    SSLCertificateChainFile /etc/letsencrypt/live/

Again, replace with your actual domain name. Your Apache configuration file could be located in a number of places, but common locations include /etc/apache2/sites-available/000-default.conf or /etc/apache2/sites-available/default-ssl.conf.

  1. Restart Apache: After making any changes, be sure to restart Apache so they take effect:
bashCopy codesudo systemctl restart apache2
  1. Check your DNS settings: Make sure that the DNS settings for your domain name are correct, and that they point to the IP address of your server. You can check this by running nslookup and verifying that the IP address matches your server’s IP address.
  2. Check your firewall settings: Ensure your firewall is not blocking port 443, which is used for HTTPS traffic.
  3. Check with a different browser or incognito window: Sometimes, old SSL certificate information can be cached by your browser. Try accessing your site with a different browser, or open an incognito or private browsing window and access the site that way.

If none of these steps help, you might want to consider reissuing the SSL certificate. If you’re using Let’s Encrypt, you can do this with the certbot tool:

bashCopy codesudo certbot --apache -d

Again, replace with your actual domain name. After reissuing the certificate, be sure to restart Apache once more.

From there I was able to get down the right path posing more questions to ChatGPT and eventually got my site certificate back up and secured. Here is how I did it:

I fixed this using chatgpt. First I was able to read my cert:

openssl x509 -in /etc/letsencrypt/live/ -noout -text

Then I assumed maybe the issue was that my domain was listed with ‘www’ prefix as the common name. So to remedy that, I needed to remove the certs I had listed:

sudo certbot certificates

Then delete with:

sudo certbot delete --cert-name

Also removed conf files from /etc/apache2/sites-available/, then recreated the conf:

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/
<VirtualHost *:80>
    DocumentRoot /var/www/html

    ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
    CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined

Restarted Apache:

sudo systemctl restart apache2

Recreated the certs:

sudo certbot --apache -d -d

Restarted Apache again:

sudo systemctl restart apache2

Site is now recognizing the cert and is secured. I also had to change the documentroot of /etc/apache2/sites-available/ to point back to the correct url.

Thanks! Hope that helps someone

©Larry Buffaloboy