External Links Do Not Load in Author

Revised March 15, 2018

The Issue

In the author environment, clicking links to external sites sometimes shows a warning message, or loads a blank or mostly blank page or does not load the new page at all.

Example warning message from Internet Explorer: "this content cannot be displayed."

Example warning message from Internet Explorer: "this content cannot be displayed."

Example warning message from Internet Explorer: "only secure content is displayed."

Example warning message from Internet Explorer: "only secure content is displayed."

The Cause

The UBCMS author environment is loaded securely with SSL (the URL in the address bar will start with “https”). Attempting to follow a link within the UBCMS interface to an external site that is not loaded securely (i.e. its URL starts with “http” not “https”) will usually be blocked by the browsers. Modern browsers are becoming more strict about showing only secure content when the URL in the address bar is a secure URL. Browsers usually show an icon in the address bar to alert the user that “mixed active content blocking” is happening, but the icon is easy to overlook.

FireFox shield icon.

FireFox shield icon.

Chrome shield icon.

Chrome shield icon.

Workaround

Authors can click the shield icon in their browser’s address bar to disable mixed active content blocking and should then be able to click through to external, insecure pages within the secure UBCMS authoring tools.

No workaround is necessary for visitors to published sites. Visitors will not experience this blocking because it only happens when testing links within the author environment.