Fixes for the SSL/TLS handshake failed error for each web customers and web site homeowners

It’s time for an additional technical article. At present, we’re going to debate the SSL/TLS handshake failed error and the methods to repair it. Like many SSL error messages, the SSL handshake error might be triggered from each the client-side and the server-side, so typically it may be fastened by common web customers and different occasions it’s indicative of a configuration problem on the web site’s half.

No matter its origins, this generally is a irritating SSL error as a result of it prevents you from making a safe reference to the web site you’re trying to entry. That is unhealthy for customers and web site homeowners alike — for the location homeowners as a result of it drives away enterprise (probably straight into the arms of your opponents).

We’ll get into what the SSL/TLS handshake is, then we’ll cowl the explanations for the SSL/TLS handshake failed error and what you are able to do to repair it.

Let’s hash it out.

What Is the SSL/TLS Handshake?

At the start of each HTTPS connection, the shopper (the web person’s net browser) and the server (internet hosting the web site) should undergo a sequence of checks — for lack of a greater time period — to authenticate each other and decide the parameters of the encrypted connection. This is called the TLS handshake, though some inside the business nonetheless discuss with it as an SSL handshake.

(SSL is not technically correct because it’s a deprecated protocol. Nonetheless, we’ll nonetheless discuss with it as such all through the article as a result of folks nonetheless generally use the time period. So, you’ll see “SSL handshake” and “TLS handshake” used interchangeably all through the content material, however simply know that we’re nonetheless speaking concerning the TLS handshake.)

The TLS handshake course of accomplishes three issues:

  • Authenticates the server because the rightful proprietor of the uneven public/non-public key pair.
  • Determines the TLS model and cipher suite that might be used for the connection.
  • Exchanges the symmetric session key that might be used for communication.
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If you happen to simplify public key infrastructure (PKI) —which serves because the infrastructure for all the SSL/TLS ecosystem — it’s actually about safe key alternate. Throughout an HTTPS connection, the communication is definitely achieved with symmetric session keys — usually 256-bit superior encryption commonplace (AES) keys — which are generated on the shopper facet of issues. When a symmetric key’s generated, each events get a replica. They’ll use it to encrypt and decrypt the information that transmits between them.

Whereas 256-bit encryption continues to be sufficiently strong, the true safety is on the gate the place a a lot bigger, a lot stronger non-public key (usually a 2048-bit RSA key) helps deal with the authentication portion of the connection. Authentication is vital as a result of the shopper needs to verify it’s connecting with the proper occasion. That’s basically what the SSL/TLS handshake is for — it’s a set of checks the place:

  • The shopper and server authenticate each other,
  • They decide the parameters of the HTTPS connections (what cipher suite might be used), after which
  • The shopper encrypts a replica of the session key and sends it to the server to be used throughout the connection.

Traditionally, the SSL/TLS handshake has added a small little bit of latency to a connection, which is what led to the declare that HTTPS slows down your web site. That latency has been addressed in more moderen variations of the TLS protocol although, in order that’s nearly fully unfaithful immediately — particularly with HTTP/2 and HTTP/3.

At present, there are two completely different variations of the TLS handshake in use: TLS 1.2 and TLS 1.3.

The SSL/TLS Handshake Course of in TLS 1.2 vs TLS 1.3

TLS 1.2 makes use of a handshake that makes a number of roundtrips between the shopper and the server.

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Questioning how the TLS handshake course of works? We’re not going to go step-by-step, however basically:

  • The shopper and server ping each other.
  • The server presents its SSL/TLS certificates.
  • The shopper authenticates the certificates authority (CA)-signed certificates.
  • They alternate an inventory of supported cipher suites and agree on one, then key alternate happens.

This course of includes plenty of steps — all of which happen in a brief period of time.

TLS 1.3, alternatively, has refined the TLS handshake to a single round-trip.

Rehash: How to Fix Failed Error on SSL / TLS Handshake

Clearly, this cuts down on the time that it takes for a connection to begin — we’re speaking milliseconds right here so perhaps not noticeably (besides at scale) — and makes all the pieces extra environment friendly. TLS 1.Three additionally permits 0-RTT resumption, which streamlines subsequent connections to a TLS 1.3-enabled web site much more.

However, given the variety of transferring elements in a TLS handshake, there’s a lot that may go incorrect if a web site or a tool are misconfigured. A pair years in the past we wrote about fixing TLS handshakes failed errors on Firefox, however these errors are way more common than that. So now let’s speak about what can go incorrect with the TLS handshake and what have to be achieved to repair it.


Taking a Nearer Have a look at the SSL/TLS Handshake

There’s quite a bit happening beneath the hood once you hook up with a web site by way of HTTPS. Initially, everybody must… shake arms?!

Learn extra

An Overview of SSL/TLS Handshake Failed Errors

To make this text just a little bit simpler to observe, we’re going to place all the attainable causes for SSL/TLS handshake failed errors (SSL handshake errors) and who can repair them. After that, we’ll have a devoted part for every the place we’ll cowl methods to repair them.

Incorrect System Time Shopper machine has the inaccurate time & date. Shopper
Browser Error A browser configuration is inflicting the error. Shopper
Man-in-the-Center A 3rd occasion is intercepting/manipulating connection. Shopper
Protocol Mismatch The protocol utilized by shopper is just not supported by server. Server
Cipher Suite Mismatch Cipher suite utilized by shopper is just not supported by server. Server
Incorrect Certificates
  • URL host identify doesn’t match host identify on server certificates.
  • Incomplete/invalid certificates chain offered to shopper.
  • Revoked/expired SSL/TLS certificates despatched to the shopper or server.
  • Alternative of self-signed certificates in inside networks has triggered a path-building error.
SNI-Enabled Server Shopper can’t talk with SNI-enabled server. Server

Now, let’s dive into fixing these SSL handshake failed errors. Then we’ll end with a few issues you must positively not do from the client-side to try to repair this error.

Rehash: How to Fix Failed Error on SSL / TLS Handshake

SSL/TLS Handshake Failed — Shopper Errors

When a handshake fails, it’s often one thing happening with the web site/server and its SSL/TLS configuration. This leads to that pesky SSL/TLS handshake error.

Actually, it’s simply TLS configuration at this level as help for SSL 3.Zero has been nearly fully deprecated. (SSL Labs reviews that solely 4.6% of web sites nonetheless help the SSL 3.0. protocol as of August 2020.)

Nonetheless, there are a number of contexts through which a client-side error may cause the SSL/TLS handshake failed error. And plenty of them could seem fairly trivial — issues like ensuring your system time is right and your browser is present.

However, as we mentioned, there are plenty of transferring elements with the TLS handshake, and typically even the tiniest hiccup may cause the entire thing to go kaput.

So, let’s go over a number of of the client-side fixes for this problem.

Incorrect System Time

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I’m actually undecided why anybody would take their system clock off of the common time possibility, however apparently it occurs. Possibly you need to abide your individual private clock like some form of psychopath or perhaps the setting simply received unintentionally modified — it’s none of my enterprise, actually — but when your system time is incorrect it might trigger issues with TLS handshake. Consequently, this may trigger the SSL/TLS handshake failed error.

That’s largely owing to the truth that SSL/TLS certificates have finite lifespans, so time is vital. Actually, in some reasonably excessive profile instances of certificates expiration — like with the Oculus Rift VR system — web customers have even purposely set their system occasions again to a date earlier than stated expiration in order that they might nonetheless join. (More moderen examples of notable certificates expiries affecting all the pieces from COVID-19 reporting to streaming music companies.)

Clearly, don’t change your system time. If you happen to’re nonetheless getting the SSL/TLS handshake failed error and your system time is right, the difficulty is originating elsewhere.

Rehash: How to Fix Failed Error on SSL / TLS Handshake

Browser Error

This isn’t like a browser error — that is actually your browser making a mistake. Generally your browser can turn into misconfigured, or a plugin may cause issues to work just a little bit in another way and it leads to issues connecting to in any other case reliable web sites. Whereas diagnosing precisely what must be tweaked in your present browser could also be just a little bit tougher, narrowing the difficulty right down to a particular browser error is fairly easy: simply strive one other browser and see what occurs.

If you happen to’re utilizing Google Chrome, swap to your OS’s native browser like Apple Safari or Microsoft Edge. In any other case, hop on Mozilla Firefox (my desire) in case you have it.

Principally, simply swap it up and take a look at connecting to the location. If you happen to get the identical SSL/TLS handshake failed error, then you understand it’s not the browser inflicting the difficulty. However when you can join, now you understand one thing is up along with your plugins or settings.

The quickest approach to repair this SSL/TLS handshake error-causing problem is simply to reset your browser to the default settings and disable all of your plugins. From there, you may configure the browser nevertheless you need, testing your reference to the location in query as you tweak issues. This may occasionally take just a little little bit of time, nevertheless it’s actually the one approach to deal with the difficulty in case your browser is misconfigured or is making errors.


A person-in-the-middle (MITM) is usually offered as a nefarious hacker that’s trying to steal info or trigger hurt. That’s really not all the time the case. Numerous applications and units intercept visitors for inspection or another non-malicious goal like load balancing, after which ship it alongside to the appliance server. This course of technically constitutes a MITM, too.

Rehash: How to Fix Failed Error on SSL / TLS Handshake

Sadly, typically points with these units may cause a TLS handshake to fail. It may very well be one thing like a community firewall stopping the connection, or it may very well be a configuration on an edge machine on the server-side community. So, this problem can really be both a client- or server-side repair relying on the situation.

Right here’s the factor: If this problem is client-side, you threat exposing your self when you jigger with the settings in your antivirus or VPN. There ought to usually be a approach to whitelist or create an exception for the location in query. However NEVER drop your firewall or your antivirus simply hook up with a web site. If the difficulty is server-side, it’s seemingly a configuration problem on an edge machine.

Not too long ago, Ross Thomas, was telling me a few machine he handled as soon as that was intercepting visitors and affixing a small information string to point it had handed inspection. That was inflicting the information to fail check-sum hashes and will additionally probably mess with authentication.

Once more, there are too many attainable origins for me to slender it right down to a single repair right here, however in case you have a tool inspecting or intercepting visitors, begin there.

SSL/TLS Handshake Failed: Server-Facet Errors

Nearly all of the time SSL/TLS handshake failures are the results of server-side points. A few of these are simple to repair, a few of them are just a little extra concerned, and a few may not be value fixing in any respect.

Let’s have a look.

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Protocol Mismatch

That is really an error that may happen on each the client- and the server-side, and it might really be one thing that’s not value fixing relying on the context. In relation to supporting protocols and ciphers, a very powerful piece of knowledge is: all the time transfer ahead, by no means transfer backwards.

TLS 1.2 got here out greater than a decade in the past, but there are nonetheless a small phase of internet sites that don’t help it. In 2018, TLS 1.Three was lastly revealed as RFC 8446 by the IETF. As of August 2020, Qualys SSL Labs reviews that 98.4% of the Alexa prime 150,000 websites help TLS 1.2 and 32.8% help TLS 1.3.

Within the different path, PCI DSS necessities mandate that each one web sites that accumulate fee card info finish help for SSL 3.Zero and TLS 1.0. And the 4 main browser makers — Google, Firefox, Apple & Microsoft — collectively introduced TLS 1.1 can be deprecated by 2020.

If you happen to’re getting the SSL/TLS handshake failed error because of a protocol mismatch, it implies that the shopper and server don’t have mutual help for a similar TLS model. Right here’s an instance:

Helps TLS 1.0, TLS 1.1 Helps TLS 1.2

On this situation, there isn’t a mutually supported TLS protocol and the server seemingly isn’t supporting backwards versioning. And earlier than you ask, no, the server shouldn’t repair this. On this instance, the shopper ought to improve their browser, or, within the case that the browser is present — configure it to help the most recent TLS variations.

At this level, you need to be utilizing TLS 1.2 or TLS 1.3. If you happen to’re not, add help for them. However bear in mind, by no means go backwards.

Rehash: How to Fix Failed Error on SSL / TLS Handshake

Cipher Suite Mismatch

That is extremely much like the protocol mismatch — only a bit extra granular. SSL/TLS isn’t only one algorithm that handles all the pieces (although ECC is shut), it’s really a group of algorithms that serve completely different features and work in conjunction to make up SSL/TLS.

SSL/TLS is just like the Megazord and the cipher suite is just like the Energy Rangers.

What? You attempt to make a grouping of algorithms sound extra fascinating.

Anyway, whereas the cipher suites utilized by TLS 1.Three have been refined, historically a Cipher Suite has had algorithms that deal with:

  • Uneven public key encryption
  • Symmetric session key encryption
  • Key technology
  • Signature hashing

Completely different industries and authorities businesses have completely different encryption requirements that counsel completely different cipher suites. Usually, there’s plenty of overlap there, and most web sites help a handful of cipher suites in order that purchasers have a number of choices and can usually have the ability to discover a mutually agreeable cipher. Clearly, the chances of profitable negotiation would lower considerably if a web site solely supported a single cipher suite.

Oftentimes this may occur inside a community when you’re performing SSL bridging, the place an edge machine receives and decrypts HTTPS visitors, then re-encrypts it so ship alongside to the appliance server. If the sting machine and the appliance server don’t share a mutually supported cipher suite, it would trigger errors.

Very similar to with protocol variations, you must solely ever transfer ahead with cipher suites — by no means backwards. Keep in mind, when a protocol model or cipher suite is deprecated it’s not as a result of the business is making an attempt to be tough — it’s as a result of a vulnerability has been discovered or is imminent. So, going backwards solely makes your connections probably much less secure.

Incorrect SSL/TLS Certificates

There are a selection of various issues that may make a browser view an SSL/TLS certificates as incorrect and forestall the handshake from finishing efficiently. We’ll undergo every within the subsequent sub-sections. It’s additionally value noting that, typically, these points will materialize into a special error on the client-side versus the SSL/TLS handshake failed message. Usually, one thing alongside the strains of the web site not offering a safe connection. However on a technical stage that error is happening as the results of a failed handshake.

Host Identify Mismatch The CN within the certificates doesn’t match the host identify.
Incorrect Certificates Chain The certificates chain is lacking intermediates.
Expired/Revoked Certificates The server offered an expired, revoked or untrusted certificates.
Self-Signed Replacements (Inner Networks) Certificates replacements confused path.

Incorrect Host Identify

This was once an issue with WWW and non-WWW variations of internet sites. Nonetheless, this problem has largely been mitigated by the certificates authority group permitting one to be listed as a SAN (topic various identify) area freed from cost. This problem can often be fastened by re-issuing the certificates or typically by utilizing a wildcard certificates.

Incorrect Certificates Chain

We went in-depth on certificates chains, roots and intermediate certificates in a earlier article, however right here’s the fast model. The belief mannequin in SSL/TLS and PKI basically depends on meticulously-curated root applications. These are collections of trusted CA root certificates that actually reside on a pc system.

Mozilla Firefox Desktop and Cell
Google Android OS
Apple iOS, macOS
Microsoft Home windows

These CA roots are invaluable — a lot in order that reasonably than threat issuing instantly from them, certificates authorities spin up intermediate roots and signal SSL/TLS leaf (end-user) certificates with these intermediates. Right here’s the place the chain begins to return in. The Root CA certificates is used to digitally signal the intermediate roots. These intermediates are used to signal different intermediates or end-user, leaf SSL/TLS certificates.

Rehash: How to Fix Failed Error on SSL / TLS Handshake

When a browser receives an SSL/TLS certificates, one of many issues it does to test its authenticity is follows the signatures. It appears on the digital signature on the SSL/TLS certificates and follows it again to the intermediate root that signed it. Then it appears at that intermediate’s digital signature and follows it again to the certificates that signed the intermediate. So on and so forth till, ultimately, it reaches one of many root CA certificates in its belief retailer.

If it might’t do that, the certificates chain is oftentimes incomplete, which means that the browser couldn’t find one of many intermediates and the SSL/TLS handshake failed. To treatment this, you’re going to wish to seek out and set up the lacking intermediate certificates. Relying on which CA you bought your certificates from, they need to have their intermediates out there on their web site.

Expired/Revoked Certificates

Whereas certificates revocation within the present SSL/TLS ecosystem leaves quite a bit to be desired, there are nonetheless some contexts the place a browser will see {that a} certificates has been revoked and can fail a handshake on that foundation. Extra typically, it’s because of an expired certificates. SSL/TLS certificates are solely legitimate for a set period of time.

Rehash: How to Fix Failed Error on SSL / TLS Handshake

RELATED: That is what occurs when your SSL/TLS certificates expires

SSL/TLS certificates expiration happens for a number of potential causes (relying on whom you ask):

  • To make sure that validation info stays correct.
  • To proliferate protocol and cipher updates extra shortly.
  • To remove the necessity for certificates revocation lists (CRLs).
  • To fight the potential for cybercriminals from breaking commonplace encryption algorithms (though that is just about inconceivable with out quantum computing).

As of Sept. 1, 2020, max validity for an SSL/TLS certificates is now one yr (398 days to be actual). Which means it is advisable to be swapping out certificates often. If you happen to forgot to earlier than one expired, that’s most likely why the SSL/TLS handshake failed. Simply get a legitimate certificates issued and set up it — that ought to clear up your issues.

Self-Signed Replacements

On the general public web, a self-signed certificates will return an error 100% of the time if the shopper hasn’t manually put in your non-public root of their root retailer. However, on inside networks self-signed certificates are pretty frequent. And when you swap them out sufficient, that may trigger issues.

Most browsers will cache certificates in order that upon return to a web site it makes the handshake go sooner. However when you’re producing new certificates at common intervals, repeatedly including all of these newly-generated certificates to the native database goes to trigger confusion. Ultimately, the browser will wrestle with path-building and crash.

Up to now, Firefox has struggled with this significantly — to the purpose the place 7-Eight certificates re-issues will trigger vital latency, and 10 or extra may cause the handshake to take upwards of 30 seconds.

SNI-Enabled Servers

That is extra of an inside problem that exists between units, however typically a shopper speaking with a server identify indication server when it’s not SNI-enabled might be why the SSL/TLS handshake failed.

The very first thing you’ll must do is establish the host identify and the port variety of the server in query and ensure it’s SNI-enabled in addition to that it’s speaking all the pieces it must be. Once more, that is often much less of a public-facing problem, however it may be the trigger once in a while internally.

What To not Do – Don’t Reward Unhealthy SSL/TLS Implementations

Numerous the time web site homeowners don’t need to make a change till there’s an issue they’ll’t ignore. Whereas there are a number of client-side fixes for the SSL/TLS handshake failed error, it’s usually going to be a server-side problem.

Which means as an everyday web person, your choices are restricted in terms of mitigating SSL/TLS handshake errors. The very best factor to do is to tell the location proprietor of the issue and look ahead to them to repair it. In the event that they don’t, it is perhaps smart simply to cease utilizing the web site.

There are some stuff you positively ought to by no means do to achieve a web site:

  • Don’t drop your firewall. You may often whitelist a web site, however don’t drop your firewall. Ever.
  • Don’t disable your antivirus. Once more, whitelist if attainable, however preserve it on and up to date.
  • Don’t join by way of HTTP or click on via interstitial warnings. That is unhealthy any manner you have a look at it and may end up in plenty of points.

If the web site can’t supply a secure searching expertise, you shouldn’t be visiting it. Eliminating the SSL/TLS handshake error isn’t value jeopardizing your safety.

Be aware: This text on TLS handshake failed errors (SSL handshake failed errors) was initially written by Patrick Nohe on Nov. 14, 2018. It was up to date and re-published by Casey Crane as a “rehash” of the content material on Sept. 3, 2020.

As all the time, go away any feedback or questions beneath…

Rehash: How to Fix Failed Error on SSL / TLS Handshake

*** This can be a Safety Bloggers Community syndicated weblog from Hashed Out by The SSL Retailer™ authored by Patrick Nohe. Learn the unique put up at:

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