When we try to use certificates on computers that are not part of the domain, Windows complains that

The revocation function was unable to check revocation because the revocation server was offline.

However, if I manually open the certificate and check the CRL Distribution Point property, I see an ldap:/// URL and an http:// URL that points to externally-accessible IIS site that hosts the CRLs. Of course, the non-domain-joined client cannot access the ldap:/// URL, but it can download the CRL from the http:// link (at least in a browser).

I enabled CAPI logging and I see the event that corresponds to this failed revocation check. The RevocationInfo section is:

  • RevocationInfo

    [ freshnessTime] PT11H27M4S

    • RevocationResult The revocation function was unable to check revocation because the revocation server was offline.
      [ value] 80092013
    • CertificateRevocationList
      [ location] UrlCache
      [ url] http://the correct URL
      [fileRef] 6E463C2583E17C63EF9EAC4EFBF2AEAFA04794EB.crl
      [issuerName] the name of the CA

Furthermore, I can see the HTTP request to the correct URL and the server's response (HTTP 304 Not Modified) with Microsoft Network Monitor.

I ran certutil -verify -urlfetch, and it seems to show the same thing: the computer recognizes both URLs, tries both, and even though the http:// link succeeds, returns the same error.

Is there a way to have non-domain-joined clients skip the ldap:/// link and only check the http:// one?

The ldap:/// URL is

ldap:///CN=<name of CA>,CN=<name of server that is running the CA>,CN=CDP,CN=Public Key Services,CN=Services,CN=Configuration,DC=<domain name>?certificateRevocationList?base?objectClass=cRLDistributionPoint

The non-domain-joined clients may be on the domain network or on an external network. The http:// CDP is accessible from the public internet.

  • Very good question that I myself have run into and do not know the answer to. I think it might be a bug. Has not been urgent enough for me to open a support case with MS about it though.
    – Ryan Ries
    Aug 21, 2014 at 1:58
  • Your only workaround may be re-issuing the certs with only the HTTP CDP on them.
    – Ryan Ries
    Aug 21, 2014 at 1:59
  • I am a bit confused. I think that an PKI enabled application should check all mentioned CDPs and use the one, it can find. So I would guess that his is a mistake of the client. Which application is using the certificates? Other possibility might be: What does the ldap-URL look like and where are the non-domain-joined client located. Maybe you could setup a fake ldap-system, that provides the CRL.
    – cornelinux
    Aug 21, 2014 at 20:31
  • @cornelinux The actual client is a WCF program, but certutil, the built-in program is exhibiting the same behavior. The WCF client does not explicitly check for CDPs or anything, but the check happens automatically.
    – 0xFE
    Aug 21, 2014 at 20:36
  • 1
    Looking at this (social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windowsserver/en-US/…) and the third answer by Brian (who probably is Brian Komar), he states, that you should only use HTTP in the CDP (no File, no LDAP).
    – cornelinux
    Aug 22, 2014 at 6:25

1 Answer 1


After troubleshooting this with Microsoft support, we noticed that the delta CRL was not accessible to the client because IIS's default configuration does not support filenames with the + character and delta CRL's end with +. After enabling double escaping in IIS, the non-domain-joined client was able to confirm that the certificate had not been revoked.

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