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Whether you read up on them or just ignore them, web browsing errors are indeed a thing, and sometimes they can come up without much in the way of rhyme or reason. Or, at least, that's what it might look like at a glance. An error message is, after all, caused by an error of some sort, and looking into it should be a given. One of the most common SSL connection error examples, specifically, is that of the infamous err_ssl_protocol_error message on Google Chrome.

If you're thinking about Internet security and are worried whether this means you can't provide a secure connection across the board, the issue is a bit more complex after all. However, since this is by far one of the most common SSL errors and many Internet users come face-to-face with it, some explanations are sorely needed.

To that end, here you'll discover all the key information you need to truly understand what this particular error message means, why it says that you cannot provide a secure connection and whether it's a sign of issues with your Internet security.

What is err_ssl_protocol_error?

err_ssl_protocol_error browser error

Err_ssl_protocol_error is a message that is typically caused by a connection issue between the server and the client. The nature of this connection issue can be varied, ranging from problematic antivirus settings all the way to browser cache problems or, perhaps, a failure of the generalized authentication process. It may also be the result of a website choosing not to force a secure connection in the first place (i.e. HTTP in lieu of HTTPS connection)

In other words, it's a secure connection warning that may or may not be caused by a multitude of potential issues.

Diagnosing err_ssl_protocol_error isn't always easy, but the good news is that it's not necessarily a sign of malicious activity. In fact, in most cases, it's just an instance of a failed secure connection that you can resolve in short order. Having said that, some caveats are still worth keeping in mind while attempting to do so.

HTTPS connections are, after all, a security baseline for good reason, and though it's ideal when you can fix err_ssl_protocol_error with minimum fuss, keeping a close eye on the situation as it develops will be the way to go, regardless.

What makes this SSL connection error so pervasive?

Quite simply, err_ssl_protocol_error can be caused by almost anything. SSL connection error instances are hardly uncommon, and as long as the error message isn't particularly problematic, it's not a huge deal to get the issue resolved.

This error message is also rather comprehensive, in that it can refer to an extremely wide variety of problems that make the website unable to provide a secure connection. In some cases, these are extremely straightforward and easily solvable. Other times, though, it might be a hefty SSL error that you cannot fix on your end.

In summary, though, err_ssl_protocol_error is exceedingly common, and you're bound to come across it sooner or later.

Everything You Need to Know About err_ssl_protocol_error on Google Chrome

What does err_ssl_protocol_error mean?

In short, err_ssl_protocol_error means that your browser cannot establish a safe connection with the website you're attempting to open. The problem may be on your end, but it also may not.

More specifically, if you get the err_ssl_protocol_error on Google Chrome, it's usually going to be featured alongside the following message: "This site can't provide a secure connection." The Chrome browser may also include an explanation that the site sent out an invalid response, with your options being to either reload the site, or to try running the Windows Network Diagnostics utility.

Other web browsers such as Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Safari will have similar, effectively equivalent explanations to offer, and if you don't have any extra context to help interpret the error, you may be at your wits' end soon enough.

How to fix err_ssl_protocol_error?

Now that we've underlined the fact that err_ssl_protocol_error could well be caused by many different things, it also follows that fixing it could be very easy, but also very difficult. Depending, of course, on the cause of the issue. Here are some of the common fixes you may wish to attempt pulling off. Odds are that these will help:

Correct the Date and Time on your system

Having incorrect time and date settings can affect your system because that means your computer is lagging behind. You should always make sure your system settings are up-to-date because that can cause a number of problems. Google Chrome has a certificate validity that authenticates your computer and has an expiration date. If your date and time are incorrect that will cause an error in the SSL security authentication process. Just remember to update the time and date of your computer, so your system is never out of sync with the servers you are trying to access.

Clear your SSL State

  1. Go to Customize and control Google Chrome, the three dots you see just below the X (close) button.
  2. Click on Settings.
  3. Scroll down and open Advanced Settings
  4. Go to Open proxy settings.
  5. A window named ‘Internet Properties’ will open up.
  6. Go to the Content window and click on the Clear SSL State Button
clear ssl state

Clear Browsing Data

Browsing data can sometimes affect your browser ad cause multiple SSL errors. Clearing your browsing data can often fix this error in a matter of minutes.

  1. Launch Chrome;
  2. Press Ctrl + Shift + Delete;
  3. Ensure that the time range is set to “All Time”;
  4. Check the checkbox for “Cookies and other site data”;
  5. Check the checkbox for “Cached images and files”;
  6. Hit Clear Data
Clear Chrome Cache clear browser cache

Disable QUIC Protocol

Disabling QUIC Protocol can remove the SSL error completely. QUIC (Quick UDP Internet Connections) are enabled into chrome and it provides a TLS/SSL equivalent connection to Google’s servers.

  1. Paste chrome://flags/#enable-quic in the address bar of your Chrome browser and hit Enter;
  2. Under Experimental QUIC Protocol option, you’ll see that it’s set to “Default”. Disable it.
  3. Relaunch Chrome
disable QUIC protocol

Check your Antivirus Settings

Antivirus can sometimes cause an SSL error. If you have an outdated version of SSL the antivirus may block it, which causes an error in chrome. Antivirus checks for malicious security threats and also checks for outdated SSL certificates. Briefly turning off your antivirus may allow you to open chrome and visit the error generating website. If your Antivirus scans SSL protocols you will probably encounter errors while using chrome.

Check your Firewall

If a website is blocked by your firewall your system will display the ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR message in Chrome. Make sure you check your blacklist and your firewall settings. Removing that website/IP address from your blacklist should be an easy solution for the SSL Error.

Adjust your Internet Security

If your internet and privacy level is too high it may restrict you from visiting certain websites.

  1. Type “Internet Options” in the search bar of your computer and hit Enter;
  2. The “Internet Properties” dialogue box will open. Inside it to navigate to the Security tab and look at the slider given there. If that slider is too high on the scale, bring it in the middle (to Medium level) and click OK.
  3. Try opening the website again.
Windows Internet Options

Enable all SSL/TLS Versions

Sometimes SSL/ TLS versions of some websites may not be compatible with your version of chrome. You may need to change the SSL/TLS protocol settings because Chrome doesn’t permit deprecated SSL/TLS protocols to run automatically.

  1. Click on the three dots you see in the top-right corner of Chrome
  2. Go to Settings.
  3. Go to Advanced Settings.
  4. Open Proxy settings
  5. Click on Advanced Scroll down till the Security section comes up.
  6. Check all SSL and TLS versions.
  7. Click Apply.
  8. Relaunch your Chrome.

These are all rather quick and easy ways to fix err_ssl_protocol_error that you may wish to try out. It is, however, worth pointing out that if disabling QUIC protocol does not work, you may wish to turn the setting back not on to prevent any potential issues arising from the toggle.

Furthermore, if none of the above help you resolve the issue, then the odds are that the problem is server-side, with you perhaps attempting to access a non-SSL-protected website in the first place. Should that be the case, you may have no way of resolving the issue.

How to recreate err_ssl_protocol_error on Google Chrome?

Since this is a relatively generic error, it's possible to recreate it by reversing some of the fixes featured in the previous section. From fiddling with Internet properties all the way to setting up an overly aggressive ruleset in your antivirus software, or, perhaps, by changing how your QUIC protocol works.

Is err_ssl_protocol_error bad?

In case that you simply cannot fix err_ssl_protocol_error, there's no need to panic. This message simply tells you that there's a problem with the Internet security and privacy settings, and that the relevant SSL protocols are currently unable to do their job. As we said before, it's not a sign of malicious activity on its own.

Should you attempt to disable your antivirus software or meddle with SSL certificates, however, it's possible that you may open up your system to some other threats that may or may not be unrelated to the error messages you've been getting. With that in mind, only temporarily disable antivirus software and make sure that your usual Internet security and privacy features are otherwise up and running once you're done with that.

Common questions about err_ssl_protocol_error

As we've established in the article, the error simply means that there's a problem in communication between you and the server you're attempting to access. This does not necessarily mean that you don't have a secure connection, though it can in some instances be the case.

Not at all - err_ssl_protocol_error is a generic message that could appear in any browser, though since a huge number of people rely on Google Chrome for their browsing, they may only have experience with the issue in that particular browser.

Since Google Chrome is also wildly customizable through the use of browser extensions, it's possible for the user to break certain features, settings, and websites inadvertently. Doing so could lead to the appearance of the aforementioned error message. Google Chrome is far from the only browser susceptible to this issue, however.

Much as is the case with most other error messages, you'll need to consider the context. Are you accessing a website that isn't very important to you? Simply trying to log back in after a few hours could very well have the issue resolved. Alternatively, if your website is reporting problems and highlighting this error, then you may need to deal with the problem on your end, as it could be that something has gone wrong on the server side of things.

Author: Filip Galekovic
Last Modified: 24/10/2022
Tags: #Articles