How to Display Certificate Details in Chrome

It bugs me to no end when software companies do this. When they move familiar tools and services to a hard-to-find location, it always feels like somebody broke into my office overnight and rearranged my desk, just for the heck of it.

Google is on a roll. After removing user control over some plugins installed in the browser, the company moved information about security certificates of sites to a place where most users may never find it. More and more sites on the Internet move to https. Doing so has advantages, but there is also a considerable amount of pressure by browser makers and search engines to get sites to migrate. Google is on the forefront of all of this. It may come as a surprise therefore that the company made the decision to move certificate information from the address bar to the browser’s Developer Tools.

Certificate details provide you with information on the certificate a site or server uses. It provides you with information on a certificate’s validity, algorithms, and more.

How to display Certificate details in Chrome

chrome certificate details missing

Previously, all you had to do to display details about a certificate was to click on the padlock icon in the Chrome address bar, and select details from the menu that would open up.

If you do the same in the recent versions of Chrome, details is no longer there. There is also no indication if the feature was moved to another location, or if Google pulled it completely from Chrome instead.

If you have used the option for years to check certificates, you may be at a loss.

Google did not remove the option to view certificate details completely in Chrome, but it moved the option to a place that is less intuitive to use.

chrome certificate details

Here is what you need to do now to view a certificate in the Chrome web browser:

  1. When you are on the site, press F12 to open the Chrome Developer Tools.
  2. Switch to the Security tab when the Developer Tools interface opens.
  3. There you find the “view certificate” button listed to open the certificate details.

The certificate information is opened in a new browser window.

chrome certificate window

While you could say that the new method of displaying certificate information in Chrome is only one additional click or tap away, it is highly problematic for the following reasons:

  1. Users are not given any indication that Google moved the details option.
  2. The method is less intuitive than the original one, especially since most browsers up to this point handle this through the padlock icon. The notable exception is Microsoft Edge.
  3. Depending on how wide the Chrome browser window is, Security may not even be displayed there by default.  Chrome displays “>>” in the bar that shows the various Developer Tools modules. If you don’t see Security listed by default, click on that icon to reveal it and select it.

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