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Admin Columns Pro SSL Upgrade Fix - Justin Silver

Admin Columns Pro SSL Upgrade Fix

I use the Admin Columns Pro plugin on several of my WordPress site to easily customize the layout in my admin tables. As it is a premium plugin updates to it are not hosted on the WordPress repository but rather come from their own private repository. This was working fine until a recently when I started getting errors during the upgrade process. It seems as though the SSL request was to www.admincolumns.com but for some reason the server was responding with a wildcard cert for *.wpengine.com – their hosting provider.

I opened a ticket on their support site and while helpful, unfortunately they were not able to come to a resolution. The error during the plugin update reads like the following.

Enabling Maintenance mode…

Updating Plugin Admin Columns Pro (1/1)
Downloading update from https://www.admincolumns.com?wc-api=software-licence-api&request=plugindownload&licence_key=XXXXXXXXXXX&plugin_name=admin-columns-pro…
An error occurred while updating Admin Columns Pro: Download failed. SSL: certificate subject name '*.wpengine.com' does not match target host name 'www.admincolumns.com'

Disabling Maintenance mode…

Root Issue

I was never able to determine the root issue other than it likely likes with WP Engine. The behavior is not consistent between environments, for example from my Mac running OSX Yosemite I can can use curl to load the Admin Columns Pro site via curl:

> curl -v https://www.admincolumns.com
* Adding handle: conn: 0x7fa2cc004000
* Adding handle: send: 0
* Adding handle: recv: 0
* Curl_addHandleToPipeline: length: 1
* - Conn 0 (0x7fa2cc004000) send_pipe: 1, recv_pipe: 0
* About to connect() to www.admincolumns.com port 443 (#0)
*   Trying 178.79.179.38...
* Connected to www.admincolumns.com (178.79.179.38) port 443 (#0)
* TLS 1.0 connection using TLS_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA
* Server certificate: www.admincolumns.com
* Server certificate: RapidSSL CA
* Server certificate: GeoTrust Global CA
> GET / HTTP/1.1
> User-Agent: curl/7.30.0
> Host: www.admincolumns.com
> Accept: */*
>
< HTTP/1.1 200 OK

But the same request did not work from my CentOS 5 servers:

[[email protected] ~]# curl -v https://www.admincolumns.com
* About to connect() to www.admincolumns.com port 443 (#0)
*   Trying 178.79.179.38... connected
* Connected to www.admincolumns.com (178.79.179.38) port 443 (#0)
* successfully set certificate verify locations:
*   CAfile: /etc/pki/tls/certs/ca-bundle.crt
  CApath: none
* SSLv3, TLS handshake, Client hello (1):
* SSLv3, TLS handshake, Server hello (2):
* SSLv3, TLS handshake, CERT (11):
* SSLv3, TLS handshake, Server finished (14):
* SSLv3, TLS handshake, Client key exchange (16):
* SSLv3, TLS change cipher, Client hello (1):
* SSLv3, TLS handshake, Finished (20):
* SSLv3, TLS change cipher, Client hello (1):
* SSLv3, TLS handshake, Finished (20):
* SSL connection using AES256-SHA
* Server certificate:
* 	subject: serialNumber=dzc7avuEuqhZCEL82HF5aqoCQMgtwixa; OU=GT41552380; OU=See www.rapidssl.com/resources/cps (c)14; OU=Domain Control Validated - RapidSSL(R); CN=*.wpengine.com
* 	start date: 2014-04-17 12:42:18 GMT
* 	expire date: 2018-05-19 17:27:48 GMT
* 	subjectAltName does not match www.admincolumns.com
* Closing connection #0
* SSLv3, TLS alert, Client hello (1):
* SSL peer certificate or SSH remote key was not OK
curl: (51) SSL peer certificate or SSH remote key was not OK

I noticed that the CentOS machines were using SSLv3, whereas my Mac was using TLS. I was then able to recreate the issue on my Mac by forcing curl to use SSLv3.

> curl -v -sslv3 https://www.admincolumns.com
* Adding handle: conn: 0x7fae0b004000
* Adding handle: send: 0
* Adding handle: recv: 0
* Curl_addHandleToPipeline: length: 1
* - Conn 0 (0x7fae0b004000) send_pipe: 1, recv_pipe: 0
* About to connect() to www.admincolumns.com port 443 (#0)
*   Trying 178.79.179.38...
* Connected to www.admincolumns.com (178.79.179.38) port 443 (#0)
* SSL certificate problem: Invalid certificate chain
* Closing connection 0
curl: (60) SSL certificate problem: Invalid certificate chain
More details here: http://curl.haxx.se/docs/sslcerts.html

Disable SSL Certificate Verification in WP_Http

With the SSL certificate for the request being invalid and the server not being in my control, the only option is to disable the SSL certificate verification in WP_Http. This is accomplished by setting a key in its configuration array called sslverify to false. We can do this by hooking into the http_request_args filter, checking the URL that it is loading, and disabling the verification for Admin Columns Pro.

add_filter( 'http_request_args', 'fix_acp_plugin_update', 10, 2 );
function fix_acp_plugin_update( $r, $url ){
	$starts_with = 'https://www.admincolumns.com?wc-api=software-licence-api&request=plugindownload';
	// if the url starts with ^ then don't verify SSL
	if ( 0 === strpos( $url, $starts_with ) ){
		$r['sslverify'] = false;
	}
	return $r;
}

Successfully Updated!

Et voila! The plugin is now able to update successfully.

Enabling Maintenance mode…

Updating Plugin Admin Columns Pro (1/1)
Admin Columns Pro updated successfully. Show Details.
Disabling Maintenance mode…

All updates have been completed.

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2 Responses

  1. Hi Justin.

    Thanks again for your help in resolving this. We have used your input the create a permanent solution as can be read here: https://www.admincolumns.com/forums/topic/unable-to-upgrade-plugin-or-add-ons-ssl-error/

    All the best.

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