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Firefox vs IE SSL warnings

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Sunday December 7, 2008 )

Most web developers tend to use FireFox and sometimes forget that the majority of the world still uses Internet Explorer. They might test a site extensively in FF, but not thoroughly in IE. If the site owner also uses Firefox exclusively, a common security warning related issue may be missed for a very long time that can cause people to abandon a shopping cart session.

On a SSL page, one beginning with https://, Internet Explorer is a tad touchier than Firefox.

If an element on the secure page isn’t referenced via a relative path or a https: address; Internet Explorer will spit the dummy and generate a warning message stating that one or more elements are not secure. That’s more than enough to drive jumpy customers away.

While the warning message is somewhat ominous, it can be something that’s not actually a security threat – something such as a CSS file, image or tracker script not properly referenced that creates the issue – and it’s usually quite simple to fix.

If you have an ecommerce site and use Firefox exclusively, it’s worth checking your cart and other secure pages with Internet Explorer to see if this problem is occurring on your site.

If it is occurring, look for things like this in the code of the page:

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="">


<img src="href="">

…these should be either made relative; e.g

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="/style.css">


<img src="href="/image.gif">

… or reference an absolute https: URL like so

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="">


<img src="href="">

Pick up some more tips on reducing shopping cart abandonment and plugging leaky web sites.


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