As with most cPanel Admins, I have a real SSL Certificate installed at the FQDN of my cPanel server (servername.domainname.com) as a shared certificate so that my users can take advantage of SSL encryption without having to purchase a static IP address and their own certificate.
This works really well…except when cPanel decides to go wonky and suddenly gives this error message when trying to access the secure site (https://servername.domainname.com):
SSL received a record that exceeded the maximum permissible length.
(Error code: ssl_error_rx_record_too_long)
This just happened to me today, in fact. What causes it? I’m not exactly sure. Searching several forums and message boards, many folks seem to think it is caused by account transfers between servers…but I haven’t transferred any accounts in months. Others say that it happens when you change the IP address of the domain in question…but I hadn’t done that either. Some have even reported that their fresh cPanel install threw this error at them, so I really wouldn’t be able to say with any certainty WHY it happened. What I do know, though, is HOW to fix it…well, at least it worked for me…
REQUIRES: Root access and an existing, non-self-signed SSL certificate that was previously installed and WORKING on your server but has suddenly seemed to go wacky or missing by giving the strange error message noted above
TIME REQUIRED: 5 Minutes
DANGER LEVEL: Medium-Low
1. LOG IN to WHM as ROOT
2. GO TO SSL/TLS >> Install a SSL Certificate and Setup the Domain
3. In the “domain” box, type the FQDN of the site the SSL certificate was for (servername.domainname.com), the hit the TAB key to move to the next field.
4. Your screen should dim a bit and all of the remaining boxes on the page should fill in automatically. Make sure the IP address listed matches that of the site the certificate is for, then CHANGE the user field from whatever is listed to the word “nobody” (without the quotes).
5. Click the “Submit” button at the top of the Certificate area and WHM will process your request. A success message will let you know that everything is done.
6. Browse to your secure website now (https://servername.domainname.com). If the site pulls up without error and with a secure connection, you are good to go!
If these steps don’t work for you, you may need to obtain the certificate again from your certifying authority and reinstall the certificate manually as if you had never had the SSL certificate set up before. Those steps, unfortunately, are beyond the scope of this article.
If this easy fix works for you, or even if it simply increases your aggravation without actually fixing anything, let me know in the comments!