What is SSL handshake failed Error code 525 error? How to fix this error?

Running into an SSL handshake error can be a confusing obstacle when visiting secure websites. This little problem in talking between your web browser and the website can happen for different reasons. Whether it's an expired SSL certificate, mismatched protocol versions, or even a simple mismatch in cipher suites, there are straightforward solutions to get you back on the secure browsing track. In this guide, we'll help you figure out why SSL handshake errors happen, and we'll give you easy solutions to make sure your internet connection is smooth and secure. Let's jump in and fix any issues so you can browse the web without any problems!

What is an SSL handshake?
The SSL handshake is a crucial process for establishing a secure connection between a client (e.g., a web browser) and a server. It involves the exchange of messages to agree on cryptographic parameters, authenticate the server through a digital certificate, and establish a shared secret for encrypted communication. Once completed, the SSL handshake ensures a secure and encrypted channel, protecting the confidentiality and integrity of transmitted data.

Without the SSL handshake, a secure connection is impossible, posing a substantial security risk. The complexity of the handshake process introduces multiple points of potential failure, increasing the likelihood of handshake failures or triggering your connection is not private error.

The SSL handshake failed Error code 525 is a Cloudflare-specific error that occurs when the SSL/TLS handshake between the client and the Cloudflare server fails.

An SSL handshake failed error code 525 means explicitly that the SSL handshake failed because the client could not verify the SSL certificate presented by the server. This can happen for various reasons, such as an expired, invalid, or self-signed SSL certificate or a mismatch between the domain name in the SSL certificate and the domain name being accessed by the client.

There are several potential causes for this error, and here are a few of the most common ones:

1. Expired or Invalid SSL Certificate: If the server's SSL certificate has expired or is not correctly configured, the handshake will fail.

2. Incorrect Server Configuration: Misconfigured servers might not have the necessary protocols, cipher suites, or SSL versions enabled to establish a secure connection.

3. Mismatched SSL/TLS Protocol Versions: The client and server may be attempting to negotiate different versions of the SSL/TLS protocol, leading to handshake failure.

4. Firewall or Antivirus Interference: In some cases, firewalls or antivirus software can block the SSL handshake process, failing.

5. Date and Time Discrepancies: Your local device has the wrong date or time.

How to fix the SSL handshake failed Error code 525 error?

To resolve an SSL handshake failed error code 525, you may need to take the following steps:

1. Switch Your SSL/TLS encryption mode to Flexible:

To begin, navigate to the SSL/TLS tab on Cloudflare. Once there, follow these steps:

i. Change your SSL/TLS encryption mode to "Flexible".

Cloudflare Flexible mode is one of the SSL/TLS encryption modes provided by Cloudflare. It encrypts the connection between the visitor's browser and Cloudflare using HTTPS, but the connection between Cloudflare and the web server remains unencrypted over HTTP.

ii. Ensure that "Always Use HTTPS" is turned on within the "Edge Certificate" tab. (see image below)

By doing this, all of your HTTP requests will be automatically redirected to HTTPS. Furthermore, if you add a custom SSL certificate on your hosting server, the 525 error will disappear without any adjustments required on Cloudflare's end.

2. Enable All SSL/TLS Versions:

One way to fix the SSL Handshake Failure or Error 525 is to activate all SSL/TLS versions, which can allow websites with outdated or insecure protocols to load. This method is not usually recommended but can help identify the source of the error.

To activate all SSL/TLS versions, go to the Advanced Settings in Chrome and click on System. Then select Open proxy settings and go to the Advanced tab. Click on the boxes of all the TLS/SSL versions, reload your browser, and try reaccessing the website.

3. Verify your SSL certificate is accurate and valid:

Many individuals encounter the SSL handshake problem due to a protocol mismatch between the server and the client. Successful communication relies on both the web server and the browser supporting the same version of the SSL/TLS protocol. The SSL handshake error often arises when the server operates on a protocol version significantly higher than that of the client. For example, if the server uses TLS 1.3 while the browser is on TLS 1.1, the handshake may fail since servers typically don't support older versions. One way to resolve this issue is by resetting your browser to its default settings and using it without any extensions.

4. Update the browser to use the latest SSL protocol:

Begin with the simplest solution. Updating your browser to use the latest SSL protocol can be a crucial step in resolving SSL handshake failed errors. If your browser is using an outdated or unsupported SSL version, it may encounter difficulties establishing a secure connection with modern websites.

Consider a situation where your browser is capable only of TLS 1.1, and your server is set up to support TLS 1.2 or 1.3 (the latest version). In such a scenario, attempting to establish a secure connection is likely to lead to an SSL Handshake Failed error.

Here are general steps that cover common browsers:

1. Google Chrome:

Chrome usually updates automatically in the background. However, you can manually check for updates.

  • Clicking on the three dots in the upper-right corner.
  • Select Help
  • Choosing About Google Chrome.

2. Mozilla Firefox:

Firefox also has automatic updates. However, you can manually check for updates.

  • Click on the three horizontal lines in the upper-right corner.
  • Go to Help.
  • Select About Firefox.

5. Correct the time and date on the client device:

If the time and date on your computer are wrong, you might see an SSL handshake failed error. Make sure your device's clock is set correctly to fix this issue. The SSL/TLS protocols rely on accurate time and date information to validate certificates and establish secure connections. If the device's clock is incorrect, it may lead to a mismatch in certificate validation, resulting in an SSL handshake failure.

To fix this issue, you need to correct the time and date settings on the client device. Ensure that the system clock is set to the correct date, time, and time zone.

Here are general steps to correct the time and date on different types of devices:

For Windows:

  • Click on the Windows button.
  • Type Date and Time Settings

  • If you wish to set the time automatically, toggle the set time automatically button.
  • If you wish to change the date and time manually then click on the Change date and time button.

6. Try another browser:

If you're encountering an SSL handshake failed error, consider using a different web browser. Sometimes, browser-specific issues or outdated configurations can lead to handshake failures. Trying another browser provides a simple solution, as different browsers may have varying compatibility and security settings. This can help determine if the issue is specific to the browser you're using, and using an alternative browser may allow you to access the website without encountering the SSL handshake error.

7. Add website to allowlist:

If you're getting an SSL handshake error on a website, you can fix it by telling your computer to trust that site. Think of it like giving it special permission to connect securely. This involves adjusting some settings in your web browser or computer so that the security measures causing the error don't apply to that specific site.

If you're using Google Chrome, follow these steps to give the website special permission.

  • Open Chrome and click on the three-dot menu.
  • From the drop-down menu, hover over the Settings option and click on it.

  • Scroll down to the settings page and click on the Privacy and Security section.
  • Then, click on Site Settings.

  • Scroll down to the Additional Permissions section and click on Pop-ups and redirects.

  • Click on the Add button and In the dialog box that appears, type in or copy-paste the URL of the website you want to add to the allowlist.

  • The added website should now appear in the Allow section of the Pop-ups and redirects page, indicating a successful addition to the allowlist.

8. Deactivate any newly installed plugins or extensions:

If you're facing SSL handshake issues, and you recently added a browser plugin or extension from unknown sources, try removing it. Clear your browser's cache and cookies, then revisit the website to check if the SSL problem is resolved. Some plugins may contain harmful elements, so taking these steps can enhance your online security.

Steps for Google Chrome:

  • Open Chrome and click on the three-dot menu.
  • Go to extensions and click on manage extensions.

  • Next, display a list of all your installed extensions and choose the one you wish to remove.

Conclusion:

Facing the SSL Handshake Failed error can be confusing and common. It happens because there are many possible reasons behind it, involving both the device you're using and the website or service you're trying to access. It's like solving a puzzle where you need to check if your security certificate is up-to-date, make sure both sides (your device and the website) speak the same "language," and look into various settings to find and fix the issue. It might seem tricky, but taking these steps helps ensure your connection is secure and works smoothly.


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