How to Fix the “SSL Handshake Failed” Error?

Learn SSL Handshake Failed error and how you can fix it

Has your SSL handshake failed? For someone who isn’t quite adept in technology, the term ‘SSL handshake’ might seem cryptic or out of the context. If you are in that zone and know nothing about why this error is popping-up on your system, then read until the end.

In this article, we shall not only discuss what SSL handshake is, but we shall also delve deeper into why this error shows up and what you can do to fix it.

What is an SSL handshake?

The SSL handshake involves algorithm agreement, certificate exchange, and exchange of keys using the shared algorithm. So, the ‘SSL handshake’ is the name given to a securely devised process that helps encrypt client-server communication through cryptographic keys. These keys are exchanged between the server and the client using one out of the two shared algorithms that both the server and the client mutually agreed upon. So, if any glitch occurs during this process, then the ‘SSL handshake failed’ error shows up.

Why does the ‘SSL handshake failed’ error occur?

An SSL handshake error, also known as the error 525 occurs when the two endpoints (server and client) are unable to establish a secure connection. This can happen due to several issues, which might be on the server-side or the client-side. If you are experiencing this error, there is not much to worry about and no matter what’s causing it, we’ll help you fix it in no time. Let us now discuss some ways in which you can fix the SSL handshake error.

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How to Fix the “SSL Handshake Failed” Error?

#1. Check your system’s time and date

Before you try any other fix for your SSL handshake error, we strongly recommend that you try correcting your system’s date and time. Silly as it may seem, this works for most people experiencing this sort of error. So, don’t undermine the power of your system’s date and time setting, which might be wrong due to many reasons.

It could be wrong due to pure neglect, a software glitch caused by malware, or simply because you are using a server located in another time zone through a VPN. If you are using a VPN, then it is recommended that you configure the date and time according to the server’s time zone. This refers to the date and time of the location in which the server is located, and not your physical location.

Windows user can reset the date and time in the following manner:

  • Click on the ‘Windows’ button.
  • Type ‘Date and Time Settings’ and choose the relevant option.
  • If you wish to set the time automatically, toggle the ‘set time automatically’ button.
  • If you are using a VPN or wish to set the time manually for any other reason, click on the ‘Set the date and time manually’ option.

date and time setup in windows

On Mac, the same can be done by navigating to ‘Menu’ and then to ‘System Preferences’. You will find similar settings for all other Operating Systems.

#2. Update your Web Browser

At all times, you must keep your Operating System and applications up to date. This alone can prevent many errors, including the ‘SSL handshake failed’ error. Chrome users can check that by opening the Chrome browser and clicking on the three vertical dots on the top-right hand corner. Next, click on ‘More Tools’ and if your Chrome browser needs an update, then you’ll find one here. If you don’t, it only means that your Chrome browser is up to date.

#3. Deactivate recently installed plugins or extensions

Most browser plugins and extensions come from unknown developers and could very well be packed with malicious code. So, if you recently installed one of those and have been experiencing the SSL handshake error, then try uninstalling it and clearing your cache and cookies. After you’ve done that, try reconnecting to the same website and check if you can now establish a secure connection.

Chrome users can uninstall the extension by following the below mentioned steps:

  • Click on the three vertical dots on the top-right corner
  • Click on ‘Settings’
  • Select ‘Extensions’
  • Choose the extension you recently installed and click on remove

google chrome extension setting

#4. Protocol Mismatch

Many people face the SSL handshake issue due to a protocol mismatch between the server and the client. Basically, there are multiple versions of the SSL/TLS protocol available and for a successful handshake, it is essential that the web server and the browser support the same version.

Often, the SSL handshake error shows up when the server runs on a protocol version that is much higher than that of the client computer. For instance, if the server uses the TLS 1.3 version but the browser’s using the TLS 1.1, then the SSL handshake is likely to fail because servers do not support previous versions. You can fix this by resetting your browser to its default settings and using it without any extensions.

To reset the browser settings to default on your Chrome browser, click on the three vertical dots on the top-right hand corner, choose ‘Settings’ and then ‘System’. Finally, click on the ‘reset settings to original default’ option and you are done.

reset settings to original defaults in google chrome

#5. Expired Certificate

You could be facing the handshake issue simply because you are trying to access a website that does not have a valid SSL certificate. Use our free SSL Certificate checker tool to validate your SSL certificate.

Conclusion:

We have discussed some of the most effective solutions for the SSL handshake problem, which might occur due to the browser or the system settings. In most cases, correcting the time and date settings or removing the trouble-causing extensions from the browser solves the issue.

For server-related concerns, it is only the website owner or administrator who can fix the ‘SSL handshake failed’ problem. Some of the common server-side issues are an invalid SSL certificate, a free SSL certificate from a fraudulent website, problems with the cipher suite, and incorrect installation of the SSL Certificate. In that case, it is recommended that you contact the website owner or administrator for an effective resolution.

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