I have recently had an active website that was protected by an SSL certificate. The site is no longer active and the certificate has expired. I have tried to put up a simple HTML holding page but Google will not show it because there is an expired certificate associated with the domain. Is there a solution to allow me to display the page without needing a certificate.
It sounds like your site may have been serving a HSTS header during the time when it was secured with the SSL certificate. If you are not familiar with HSTS, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_Strict_Transport_Security.
It allows web servers to declare that web browsers (or other complying user agents) should automatically interact with it using only HTTPS connections
HSTS Policy specifies a period of time during which the user agent should only access the server in a secure fashion.
If that's the case, then
- Browsers that previously connected to your site by https will be not be able to connect to your site by http until the HSTS directive expires.
- Browsers that never connected to your site previously will be able to connect to your site by http now.
Having said that, SSL has never been simpler and less expensive to deploy (especially if you use Let's Encrypt). You might want to simply renew your SSL certificate to solve the problem of (1) above.
Why not using a free certificate instead https://letsencrypt.org/? You can have a secure website that will not be blocked by modern browsers. This is pretty straight forward and it's the fastest or smartest solution than modifying config files.
Also please make sure you check your website headers.
Personally, I use Mozilla Observatory. That way you can have your site checked for things like TLS/HTTP Headers/Cookies, etc and you get scores for each category and solutions in case they are needed.
Glad that HSTS worked out to work for you, but in case other people have this problem (and the accepted answer does not work) many websites still use redirects to enforce HTTPS. This is usually going to be small bit of code in the htaccess or web.config file that simply redirects all HTTP requests to HTTPS.