SSL Configuration and Troubleshooting


This article describes the main functions of SSL and how they are used in the DNN application. This article also covers how SSL is configured and includes troubleshooting procedures.



SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. In a nutshell, it is an encryption-based Internet security protocol that allows users to send information securely over the internet. Many websites utilize SSL for components that contain sensitive data (user account pages, online checkout). SSL encrypts the data that is being transmitted so that other users can not view this data.

When you are browsing a website, if you see a padlock and the URL starts with HTTPS (instead of HTTP), it means that the site is using SSL.

To begin setting up SSL, you would need to generate an SSL Certificate from a Certificate Authority and install the certificate on the server to secure the domain. For more information about different types of SSL certificates, please refer to the article: 6 Options for SSL Certificates to Secure Your Website.



Configuring SSL

There are two sections where you can configure SSL:

  • Persona Bar > Settings > Security > More: You can enable SSL, enforce SSL, and adjust a few more settings in this section. For more information, please refer to the article Enabling the Enforcing SSL Setting for a Site, which describes all available options on this page.
  • Content > Pages > [Specific page] > Advanced > More: You can specify whether or not this page should be forced to use a secure connection (SSL). This option will only be enabled if the administrator has enabled SSL for the site. 
    Please review the article Enabling SSL for DNN to get familiar with the process.

Note: Do not confuse Enforcing SSL and Enabling SSL for a site. When SSL is enabled for a site - pages can be accessed via HTTPS. When the Enforcing SSL option is enabled - users cannot open secure pages via HTTP (they receive an error), which means that unsecured pages are not accessible through a secure connection. 

Common Usage

There are a few situations that can occur with SSL in an environment as the DNN application only interacts with the SSL certificate that is already installed on the webserver. Please review the following scenarios and instructions on how you should handle them.

Scenario 1

“I have enabled SSL, but I have browsed to the page, and it is not secure!”

Instructions: You will need to enable a secure connection for all pages by following the article Enabling SSL for DNN (step 2).

Scenario 2

“I have enabled TLS 1.2, and the edit features do not work!”

Instructions: TLS is a different protocol, and it is sometimes interchangeable with the term SSL. If you have set up TLS 1.2 and encountered any issues, you need to provide the instructions from the article Forcing DNN to use TLS 1.2 for outbound connections to the user as a possible workaround.

Scenario 3

"I am in an Ondemand environment, here are the certificate files from our SSL provider; please help us generate the PFX file.”

Instructions: This issue is applicable to On-Demand instances where we require a PFX file to upload the certificate to the server. if you do not knowledge about SSL and need assistance in generating the PFX file, please refer to the article Create a PFX Using OpenSSL.


Note: Certain SSL issues are out of the scope of support because DNN only interacts with the SSL certificate that you have purchased. If the SSL certificate has been generated or configured improperly, you will need to have a look at their certificate and have all the information updated correctly.


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