In the world of web browsing, security is paramount. Internet users who rely on Google Chrome may have, at some point, encountered the dreaded ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR. This Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) error rears its head when the browser struggles to establish a secure connection with a website. It’s an issue that can be frustrating but not insurmountable. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the intricacies of ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR, discussing its causes and, most importantly, how to fix it.

Understanding Secure Connections

Before diving into the solutions, it’s essential to grasp the concept of secure connections. When a webpage loads over a secure connection, it typically starts with HTTP or HTTPS. HTTPS, a secure protocol based on HTTP, offers numerous advantages, including improved SEO and robust security. However, it also comes with more stringent requirements.

One of these requirements is the need for a valid SSL certificate to be correctly installed and configured. An invalid SSL certificate can trigger issues, such as the dreaded “Your Connection is Not Private” error. When your SSL certificate is working correctly, a padlock icon appears next to the website address in the browser, indicating a secure connection.

Taking Stock of Your Site

Before we delve into troubleshooting ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR, consider recent changes to your site. Secure connections are typically stable once established, but issues often arise when something changes. If you’ve recently switched hosting providers or installed a new SSL certificate, this could be the root cause of the problem.

Understanding recent site changes can provide valuable insights into the source of the secure connection issue.


ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR is primarily a result of a misconfigured SSL certificate on the website’s end. This error message also pops up when a browser fails to connect to an SSL-protected website. It manifests as a network communication protocol error, with several underlying causes, such as network problems, incorrect SSH installation, wrong credentials, and security system misconfigurations.


Resolving ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR is crucial for smooth browsing experiences. In the following sections, we’ll walk you through the troubleshooting steps necessary to tackle this issue, both for website owners and visitors.

1. Make Sure SSL Is Installed on Your Website

Forcing HTTPS without a proper SSL certificate in place can render your website inaccessible, leading to the ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR. It’s vital to ensure that SSL is correctly installed on your website. Here’s how you can verify it, especially if you’re using Hostinger’s services:

  1. Open the hPanel control panel.
  2. Select the specific website in question.
  3. Under the website’s domain name, check the SSL status.

A green checkmark signifies that your website’s SSL is installed and active. If not, it’s crucial to obtain an SSL certificate before enabling HTTPS. When selecting an SSL certificate, consider these factors:

  • Choose a reputable company.
  • Define your use case (e.g., single domain, multi-domain, or wildcard SSL).
  • Ensure warranty and support.
  • Stay within your budget.

The process of obtaining an SSL certificate may vary depending on the provider, but generally, it involves generating a Certificate Signing Request (CSR), purchasing the SSL, submitting the CSR to the Certification Authority (CA), and finally, installing the SSL certificate on your website.

Alternatively, if you’re using Hostinger web hosting, you can get a free lifetime SSL service when you purchase a hosting plan. These free SSLs offer the same level of protection as paid certificates.

2. Force HTTPS Connection on Your Website

Once you have a valid SSL certificate in place, it’s essential to force HTTPS on your website. If you don’t enforce HTTPS, your website may continue to run on HTTP by default, potentially causing the ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR to persist. With Hostinger, SSL certificates automatically force HTTPS. Here’s how you can manually enable HTTPS using hPanel:

  1. Go to the SSL section of hPanel.
  2. Find your installed SSL certificates and click “Manage.”
  3. Choose the domain you want to configure and click “Force HTTPS.”

If you’re not using Hostinger, alternative methods can be employed to force HTTPS, such as editing the .htaccess file or using content management systems like WordPress.

3. Clear Your Browser’s Cache

After addressing potential issues on your website’s end, if ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR still lingers, the problem may be within your browser. Browsers store various data as a cache, including SSL certificates, to enhance web page loading speed. However, outdated cache can lead to problems. Clearing your browser’s cache will prompt it to fetch updated information, potentially resolving SSL errors.

Each browser may have slightly different steps for clearing the cache. For Google Chrome users, follow these steps:

  1. Click the three dots icon next to the address bar.
  2. Navigate to “More tools” -> “Clear browsing data.”
  3. Select “All time” for the time range.
  4. Check “Cached images and files.”
  5. Click “Clear data” and then restart your browser.

Keep in mind that clearing the cache may result in slower site loading initially, and it may sign you out of various websites.

Additionally, clearing the browser’s SSL state can help resolve the issue. This state stores cached SSL certificates, and clearing it is essential. The steps may vary depending on your operating system and browser.

Pro Tip: If clearing SSL or browser cache doesn’t resolve ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR, temporarily disable antivirus programs, firewall software, and browser extensions. Ensure that your system’s date and time settings are correct.

How Different Browsers Display ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR

While ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR can affect all browsers, the way it’s displayed may vary. Here’s how some popular browsers handle this error:

Google Chrome

Google Chrome displays the error as “This site can’t provide a secure connection” and offers options to reload the page or run Windows Network Diagnostics.


Opera shows the same error code and message as Chrome, prompting you to run Windows Network Diagnostics.

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge displays “The connection for this site is not secure,” accompanied by the error code.

Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox provides a detailed error message with the SSL_ERROR_RX_MALFORMED_HANDSHAKE code, offering options to retry or learn more about the error.


Frequently Asked Questions

    • ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR is a common error message that occurs when there are issues with the SSL/TLS protocol while trying to establish a secure connection between your browser and a website.
  2. Why does ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR occur in different browsers?
    • ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR can vary in appearance and explanation in different browsers, such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Mozilla Firefox. This is because each browser interprets SSL/TLS errors slightly differently.
  3. What is the significance of HTTPS on a website?
    • HTTPS is a secure protocol that ensures data transmission between the server and the browser is encrypted and secure. It offers improved SEO benefits and a higher level of security for your website.
  4. How can I check the validity of my SSL certificate?
    • You can verify the validity of your SSL certificate by using online SSL checker tools like Qualys SSL Labs. These tools can provide detailed reports on the status of your SSL certificate.
  5. Why is the system time and date important for SSL certificates?
    • The correct system time and date are crucial for SSL certificates because they have an expiry date. If your local system’s time and date are incorrect, it can lead to conflicts during the SSL certificate authentication process.
  6. How can I update my browser to the latest version?
    • You can update your browser to the latest version by checking for updates within the browser settings. Most modern browsers automatically check for updates, but you can manually initiate updates if needed.
  7. Should I disable antivirus and firewall software to resolve ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR?
    • Temporarily disabling antivirus and firewall software can help identify if they are causing the issue. However, always reactivate them as soon as possible to maintain system security.
  8. Why is checking server logs important in troubleshooting ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR?
  9. What if none of the solutions work?
    • If none of the provided solutions work, it’s advisable to contact the website’s support team for further assistance in resolving the ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR.
  10. What LSI/NLP keywords are associated with ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR?
    • SSL certificate, secure connection, SSL/TLS protocol, HTTPS, browser settings, SSL cache, antivirus, firewall, server logs, SSL checker.


In conclusion, ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR can be a tricky issue, but with the right knowledge and steps, it can be effectively resolved. Whether you’re a website owner or visitor, ensuring SSL installation, forcing HTTPS, and clearing your browser’s cache are essential measures to combat this error. We hope this guide has helped you troubleshoot ERR_SSL_PROTOCOL_ERROR effectively.