Mail - Verify Certificate - What is this?

While some computer frustrations are major, some are just minor annoyances. This message is one which I was seeing frequently:
Verify Certificate

My instinct was always to click the “Connect” button. That would bring up my email and it would work until I either quit Mail or restarted my computer. I had clicked “Show Certificate” several times, but it didn’t do much:


Once again, I would click “Connect” and life would continue.

After doing this for months and months, it was getting old. Instead of clicking “Connect,” I decided to try the disclosure triangle in front of “Trust.”


Then I clicked on the “Use System Defaults” button. I chose “Always Trust.”

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 8.22.50 AM

Then I had to enter my computer password.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 8.23.14 AM

It was time to see if anything had really changed. It had! I could get my mail without that annoying message!

Now, for an explanation of what really happened. is a mail account service provided, by my web hosting service, DreamHost. They have security certificates in their name for their own mail servers. They can be trusted. My mail server account is covered under their certificate, but instead of using, I use, so we have a “host name mismatch.”

This is not the only account I have with this problem. My email account is provided by DigitalForest, another web hosting service and it has the same issue.

I know and trust both DigitalForest and DreamHost, so trusting mail servers provided by them makes sense—total sense.

If you have these “Verify Certificate” windows popping up in Mail and you recognize the company, you are safe. Just go ahead and verify the certificate.

Of course, in my case, the issue still existed on both my iPhone and my iPad:

In this case, I clicked on “Details.”
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Then I clicked “Trust” in the upper right corner and now I get my email without any further problems.

If you are having computer problems such as this and you don’t know how to fix them, give us a call at
Doctor Mac Consulting, (408) 627-7577. We can help you fix the problem and our rates are reasonable.


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