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The GitHub home page malfunctioned earlier this week, with reports that an expired SSL certificate was the culprit.

GitHub users reported that they were unable to access various resources, apparently because the SSL certificate issued on GitHub's content delivery network (CDN) was only valid until November 2, 2020 at 7:00 AM ET.

Technically, the issue is known as a "mixed content issue" because GitHub's back-end server had a valid certificate, which meant that certain aspects of the site, such as textual content, were still working properly. However, anything accessed from the standalone CDN server, including images and JavaScript files, could not be loaded.

The outage lasted approximately 30 minutes before GitHub managed to acquire a new SSL certificate. The new certificate will expire in November 2021.

Expired certificate

Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, certificates are a commonly used security protocol that informs online users that communication between their web browser and a web server is encrypted. As a visual clue that a valid SSL certificate exists, Internet users should see a lock next to any HTTPS URL that uses SSL.

Despite the importance of having a valid SSL certificate, a surprising number of online outlets forget to renew, causing embarrassing outages. Lately, HP and Roku users have encountered problems due to unforeseen certification issues.

Most of the time, these problems are easily avoided with good advance planning. To avoid future problems, someone on GitHub should set a reminder now to renew the SSL certificate before it expires next year.

Through a standby computer

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