Fix: ERR_SSL_Protocol_Error

Each and every one of us uses internet on daily basis. We use internet browsers like Firefox and Google Chrome to access various different websites. But, sometimes you might see an error while accessing a specific website or a set of websites. The error message might vary depending on the browser you are using but it will be something along the lines of “SSL Protocol Error”, something to do with the SSL Protocol. The error will prevent you from accessing the website. You might see this error on all browser or on only a single one of them.

If we look at the core of the problem and its error message, it is giving an SSL Protocol error. The SSL Protocol error basically means that your browser isn’t able to establish a secure connection to the website. Now, this can be caused by a wide range of things. This can simply be a problem from the website’s end, it can be because of your browser issues, it can also be caused by some security applications blocking the connection, and several other things. Since there are a ton of things that can cause this to happen, we will cover all the possibilities and their solutions. So, go through each method listed below until the issue is resolved.


  • Try to disable your antivirus or other security applications for a while and check if that solves the issue. Antiviruses and other security applications might be blocking your connection. Note: Don’t keep your antivirus disabled for a long period of time. Antiviruses are essential for the security of your system. So, turn the antivirus back on once the troubleshooting is done.
  • Sometimes the issue might simply be the wrong date or time. Wrong date and time can cause this issue especially if you are using Google Chrome. So, make sure the time as well as your date is correct
  • You will see this error if your computer identifies the targeted website as an unsafe website. Unsafe websites or websites known for malicious activities will automatically be blocked. So, make sure you are trying to access a safe website. If the targeted website isn’t safe then the automatic blocking is there for a reason which is to protect you. If it is an unsafe website then the methods given below won’t be useful for you.

Method 1: Restart and/or Wait

This might sound stupid but it actually works. Sometimes, a simple restart and retry will solve the issue. If a restart doesn’t solve the issue then waiting for a while is also an option. This works because most of the times the problem might simply be from the server or website’s end. These type of problems usually get resolved after a while.

So, if you aren’t in a hurry then just reboot and check if the problem is resolved. If the reboot doesn’t solve the issue then just wait a few minutes or a few hours.

Method 2: Delete Hosts file

Almost every computer has a file named hosts. This file, in simple words, is a text file that contains the mapping of domain names and IP addresses. Deleting this file solves the issue for a considerable amount of users. So, here are the steps for locating and deleting this file.

  1. Hold Windows key and press R
  2. Type C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc and press Enter

  1. Locate the file named “hosts”
  2. Right click hosts and select Delete. Click yes for any additional prompts

Once done, restart the browser you were having troubles with and check if the issues is resolved

Note: If you can’t delete the hosts file then you might not have the proper permissions. In order to get the proper permissions, right click hosts file > select properties > select Security tab > Click Edit > Select the username that you are logged in with and check all the boxes under Allow > Click Ok. Now try.

Method 3: Clear SSL States

Basically, whenever you try to connect to a website, your computer asks the website for a certificate that allows your system to verify whether the website is safe or not. Once the verification is done, a secure connection is established. This whole verification process takes time so your website certificates are stored on your computer to speed up the connection establishing phase. These locally stored certificates can get corrupted which will end up creating issues in connecting to that specific website or a group of them.

This locally stored caches of certificates can be cleared by clearing the SSL state. Once cleared, your computer will re-cache the certificates and, hopefully, solve the issue.

  1. Hold Windows key and press R
  2. Type inetcpl.cpl and press Enter

  1. This will open up the Internet Options window
  2. Click on the Content tab
  3. Click Clear SSL state button
  4. Click Ok to confirm. Once done, click Ok to close the Internet Options window

This should solve the issue if it was caused by the corrupt certificates. Once done, restart your browser to see if you can connect to the website or not.

Method 4: Check Firewall Settings

Windows Firewall is an effective way of keeping your computer secure. Windows Firewall controls the incoming and outgoing traffic from your computer. Sometimes, your websites (or a group of them) might be blocked by your Firewall. This can either be intentional or unintentional but it’s always worth a check. Usually, it’s a good thing to block unsafe websites but if you are seeing this error on a safe website then removing the website from your Firewall’s blacklist will solve the issue.

Follow the steps given below to check your Firewall settings

  1. Hold Windows key and press R
  2. Type firewall.cpl and press Enter

  1. Click Advanced settings from the top left corner. This should open up a new window

  1. Click Inbound Rules
  2. Look through this list. Any entry with a red block sign with it is blocked. If there is a website address in any of these entries then select it and click Disable Rule or Delete from the right pane

  1. Once done, click the Outbound Rules and repeat the above step in this as well

Close the window once you are done. If you disabled any website then open your browser and check if the website is accessible or not. If there weren’t any websites in this list then move to the next method.

Method 5: Scan for Viruses

Note: This method is for people who can’t access the website from any one of the browser. You can still follow the method and scan your system though, there is no harm in it.

Although we told you to disable your security applications in the tips section but viruses and malware might be behind this issue. It’s highly unlikely but not impossible that a malware is causing this issue. If your system is infected then the certificates might be getting corrupted by that virus. It is advised to do a thorough scan of the system and eliminate any threats your antivirus finds.

Method 6: Reset Router

If you are experiencing this problem on all of your machines on a single network and you can’t access the website from any browser then this method is for you. This sounds more of a network or router problem. Simply resetting or restarting the router will most likely solve the issue.

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

Expert Tip

Fix: ERR_SSL_Protocol_Error

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