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Dealing With SSL Certificate Validation Errors in Rails

I often see this question asked – “I’m getting the following error

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OpenSSL::SSL::SSLError: hostname was not match with the server certificate

when trying to deliver an email with Rails 3. How can I solve the problem?”

Obviously the best solution would be get a valid certificate for your hostname, but sometimes this is not possible or you simply don’t want to bother with this stuff (on your development machine for instance). The solution to the problem commonly suggested is to turn off encryption completely like this:

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ActionMailer::Base.smtp_settings = {
  :address              => 'mail.foo.com',
  :port                 => 587,
  :domain               => 'foo.com',
  :user_name            => 'addy@foo.com',
  :password             => 'foofoo',
  :authentication       => 'plain',
  :enable_starttls_auto => true
}

This bit of code represent a portion of your ActionMailer configuration and you’d put it in application.rb or env.rb (where env is something like development, staging, production, etc).

While the solution is OK for development.rb you’d be crazy to use this code in production! Disabling encryption means that your username and password will traverse the Internet in plain text! A simple, but secure solution would be to just disable the certificate validation, without sacrificing the secure connection:

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ActionMailer::Base.smtp_settings = {
  :address              => 'mail.foo.com',
  :port                 => 587,
  :domain               => 'foo.com',
  :user_name            => 'addy@foo.com',
  :password             => 'foofoo',
  :authentication       => 'plain',
  :enable_starttls_auto => true,
  :openssl_verify_mode  => 'none'
}

This code snippet is mostly the same as the one shown before. The crucial difference is the line :openssl_verify_mode => 'none'.

I hope someone will find this short article useful. Happy hacking!

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