How to Fix “Secure Connection Failed” Error? 14 Easy & Advanced Solutions

Network Solved issue

Question asked by:

Skyler C.

Issue:

Getting a 'secure connection failed' error when visiting some webpages

Hey there, digital detectives! I'm caught in a web of 'Secure Connection Failed' alerts.
Any tips to untangle this mess and restore my connection to normal?
Thanks in advance!
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Encountering a “Secure Connection Failed” error can be a stumbling block when you’re browsing the web. This message is typically triggered by security features in your browser or network that detect a potential risk or misconfiguration in the website’s SSL certificate1

However, not all such errors are a sign of danger. Sometimes, they may result from minor issues that can be resolved with a few troubleshooting steps. 
In this guide, we’ll explore some easy and advanced strategies to fix the “Secure Connection Failed” error, ensuring your browsing experience remains both secure and seamless.

Understanding the This Error

The Secure Connection Failed error is a common issue that users encounter when a web browser is unable to establish a secure communication link with a web server. This security measure is designed to protect your data from being intercepted or tampered with during transmission. To fully grasp this error, it’s important to comprehend its underlying mechanisms:

  • SSL/TLS Protocols: The error often revolves around SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and its successor, TLS (Transport Layer Security), which are protocols that encrypt data between a user’s browser and a web server. These protocols use a combination of asymmetric and symmetric encryption to ensure that data is securely transmitted over the Internet.
  • SSL Certificates: Websites implement SSL/TLS through SSL certificates, which are digital certificates that authenticate the identity of a website and enable an encrypted connection. These certificates contain the website’s public key along with the identity of the website and its issuing certificate authority (CA).

If either one of these pillars is compromised — you’ll most likely see the error.
Also, faulty IP configuration might be the culprit as well and we have a dedicated guide explaining how to fix it.

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Common Triggers Of the Error

If even one or a few of these triggers are present — you may experience the secure connection failure error:

  • Certificate Validity: The certificate may have expired or is not yet valid, resulting in browsers rejecting the connection to ensure user security.
  • Certificate Authority Trust: Browsers have a list of trusted CAs. If a certificate is issued by an untrusted or unknown CA, the browser will not establish a secure connection.
  • Domain Name Mismatch: If the certificate was issued for a different domain than the one being accessed, the browser will flag it as untrustworthy.
  • Protocol Mismatch: Modern browsers and websites negotiate a specific version of TLS for secure communication. If your browser or the web server is outdated and unable to use a common protocol version, the secure connection will fail.
  • Intermediate Certificates: Certificates are often chained, with the root CA and possibly one or more intermediate CAs. Missing or misconfigured intermediate certificates can cause trust issues.
  • Revoked Certificates: Certificates can be revoked by CAs before their expiry if they are compromised. Browsers check for revocation, and if a certificate has been revoked, the secure connection will not be established.
  • Client-Side Issues: Problems with the browser or client system, like incorrect system time, outdated browser versions, or interference from antivirus software, can also trigger this error.
  • Network Issues: Sometimes, network devices like firewalls or proxies intercept secure connections, which can cause SSL/TLS errors if not configured properly.

Beginner-friendly Ways to Solve a Secure Connection Failed Error

Let’s first try these 6 easy steps to resolve the error. If none of these works out, don’t worry — we’ll move to some advanced steps afterward.

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Step 1: Is Your Internet Connection Working Fine?

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Check Your Internet Connection

Ensure your internet connection is stable. An unstable connection can cause this error. Try loading other websites to see if the problem is isolated to the one you’re trying to access.

Step 2: Confirm the Website’s SSL Certificate

Inspect the Website’s SSL Certificate
  • Click on the padlock icon in your browser’s address bar to view the site’s security certificate.
  • Check if the certificate is valid, current, and issued to the correct domain.

Step 3: Try Correcting Your System’s Date and Time

Correct Your System’s Date and Time
  • Verify that your computer’s date and time settings are accurate. Incorrect settings can lead to SSL certificates being read as invalid.

Step 4: Clear Your Browser Cache and Cookies

  • Go to your browser settings to clear your browsing data.
  • Select to remove cached images/files and cookies, then restart the browser.

Step 5: Disable Antivirus/Firewall (Temporarily)

Temporarily Disable Antivirus/Firewall Software
  • Turn off any security software temporarily to rule out interference with the SSL connection.
  • Remember to turn it back on after testing the website.

Step 6: Update Your Web Browser to The Latest Version

Update Your Web Browser

Check for any updates for your browser and install them if available. Outdated browsers may have issues with new SSL protocols.

Step 7: Try Using an Alternative Browser

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Use an Alternative Browser

Try accessing the website with a different web browser to determine if the issue is browser-specific.

Step 8: Turn Off VPN or Proxy Services

Deactivate VPN or Proxy Services

If you’re using a VPN or proxy, disable it temporarily to see if it’s causing the issue. After testing, you can re-enable these services.

6 Advanced Techniques to Fix the ‘Secure Connection Failed’ Issue

If the basic steps don’t resolve the “Secure Connection Failed” error, and you’re confident the issue isn’t with the website itself, you can delve into more advanced troubleshooting methods:

1. Check for Network Misconfigurations

Investigate your network settings to ensure there’s no misconfiguration causing the problem. For instance, incorrect MTU (Maximum Transmission Unit) settings can lead to connection issues.

2. Update Your Operating System

Outdated operating systems may lack the latest security protocols or may have underlying bugs. Ensure that your OS is up-to-date with the latest security patches and updates.

3. Flush the DNS Cache

Clear your DNS cache2 to ensure your system is not trying to use outdated or incorrect DNS information. You can do this by opening the command prompt (CMD) or terminal and typing:
ipconfig /flushdns on Windows
or
sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder on macOS.

4. Disable SSL/TLS Protocol Filtering via Firewall/Antivirus

In some cases, SSL/TLS protocol filtering in your security software can cause secure connection issues. Temporarily disable this feature in your antivirus or firewall settings to see if it resolves the issue.

5. Reset Your Browser

If all else fails, you may want to reset your browser to its default settings. This can resolve issues caused by extensions, corrupted data, or misconfigured settings.

6. Do a Clean PC Boot

Performing a clean boot on your computer can help identify if background services are interfering with your browser.
On Windows, you can do a clean boot by using the System Configuration tool (msconfig).

Final Words

In addition to the manual troubleshooting steps outlined earlier, we highly recommend considering our specialized software designed to automatically diagnose and resolve issues related to secure connections. These tools are crafted to scan your system for a range of problems that could lead to the ‘Secure Connection Failed’ error.

If you still have issues or questions regarding this error, feel free to contact us.

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If your Secure Connection issues are still not fixed — feel free to reach out to us via email and share your problem.

  1. What is an SSL? — via Cloudflare.com []
  2. DNS cache explained — via Lifewire []
Other Guides That May Be Useful:
About the author
Iggy Shells
Iggy Shells - IT & PC repair expert

Iggy is the founder of WindowsGuided.com. He’s been involved in custom IT and security solutions for more than a decade.

Now he and his team are sharing their knowledge with the world by helping casual users solve a myriad of different computer issues, system errors, and virus/malware infections.