It’s hard to give up using Google Chrome for your Internet browsing activities. Even when you encounter errors, the natural thing to do would be to seek out solutions rather than jump to a different browser. That’s how good the browser is. And that’s how Windows users are attached to it.
One of the many problems that occur in Chrome is the difficulty in connecting to secure websites. You’re on this page because you’re experiencing the “Establishing Secure Connection” problem that slows down your Internet connection. The problem is usually peculiar to Chrome, and when it happens, you’ll likely find that other browsers function properly.
There are different solutions to the issue. We’ve compiled the fixes that worked for many users and included steps on how to apply them.
What Causes the “Establishing Secure Connection” Problem in Google Chrome
Some users reported that the issue began to occur after a Windows Update. Primarily, the issue seems to be caused by certificate problems. However, other underlying glitches could trigger the problem in Chrome. Understanding these root causes will arm you with knowledge that will come in handy in the future and help you prevent the problem from happening again.
We’ll explain the different causes of the problem below:
Issues with Cryptographic Services
The Cryptographic Services manages core Windows services in charge of securing the communication between your PC and the Internet. It could be that you’re on a user account that lacks appropriate permissions to implement the functions of these services, causing Chrome to consume too much time while trying to establish a secure connection with certain websites. We’ll show you how to confirm that the Cryptographic Services is responsible for the problem, and how to permanently fix it.
Corrupted Winsock Configuration
You might be dealing with a Winsock file that has gone corrupt due to injection of malicious scripts from insecure websites. Fixing the problem here involves resetting the Winsock catalog via Command Prompt, and there’s a guide below that will walk you through the process.
Problematic DNS Cache
Your DNS cache might have accumulated wrong domain parameters and there’s also the issue of DNS cache poisoning. This problem goes on to affect Chrome and causes the browser to find it hard Establishing secure connections. You’ll have to flush your DNS to get rid of the corrupt entries. The method is simple and straightforward, and we’ll show how to do it.
TLS 1.3 was introduced in Chrome 70. The security feature is the successor to TLS 1.2, and the browser seems to find it difficult establishing connections with websites that are yet to implement it.
Not all extensions are good for your browser. Many users started experiencing the issue after installing an extension. If this applies to you, then you must disable the extension and check if doing that gets rid of the problem. Later in this article, we’ll guide you on how to disable and remove Chrome extensions.
How to Fix the “Establishing Secure Connection” Issue in Chrome
Understanding the common causes of the problem is the first step. You’ve now reached the stage where you roll your sleeves. Going by the causes we explained above, you can jump to do fix you believe applies to you. For example, go straight to Disable Problematic Extensions method below if you started experiencing the issue after installing an extension.
If you still can’t place a finger on the likely cause of the problem, not to worry: you can still resolve the problem by following the fixes as we arranged them.
First Solution: Reset Winsock
Winsock, which is traditionally known as the windows sockets API in tech circles, is the programming interface that controls communication between Internet applications and your system’s network infrastructure. This is one of the most important networking components on your computer, and without it, both third-party programs and core Windows applications will find it difficult to connect to the internet.
There’s a Winsock.dll file in the system 32 folder which contains configurations for Windows programs and TCP/IP connections for implementing Internet connection requests.
Sometimes, Winsock encounters certain glitches. These glitches often occur due to malicious scripts that come from the Internet and corrupt the Winsock.dll file. To resolve the issue, try resetting Winsock to return the interface’s configurations to default. You’ll have to do this via an elevated Command Prompt window. Follow these steps:
- Right-click on the Start button and click on Run or press the Windows and R keys together to launch the Run dialog box.
- Once Run appears, type “CMD” into the text box, and before you click on OK, press and hold the Shift and Ctrl keys.
- Click on the Yes button once you see the Windows User Account Control dialog pop-up.
- After the Command Prompt window opens, type “netsh winsock reset” (no quotes) at the black screen and hit the Enter key.
- Windows will now try to repair the DLL file by replacing it with a new one. Once the process completes, reboot your system and check if the error persists.
Second Solution: Perform a Network Reset
Some of your network components might be experiencing glitches that are triggering the issue. You can reset your network to remove these bugs and get things working again. This simple fix helped many users resolve the issue with Chrome. The steps below will show you what to do if you don’t know how to reset your network.
- Launch the Windows Settings application: You can do this by pressing the Windows logo key and the I key simultaneously or by opening the Start menu and clicking on the gear icon above the Power icon.
- Once the home page of the Settings application shows up on your screen, click on the Network and Internet icon.
- Stay in the Status tab of the Network and Internet interface.
- Scroll down and click on Network Reset under “Change your network settings.”
- Follow the subsequent prompts that appear after you click on the link to complete the process.
- Once Windows completely resets your network, reboot your PC and check if the issue persists.
If you still experience the problem after rebooting your computer and opening Chrome, move on to the method below to reset your network components via command prompt.
Third Solution: Flush Your DNS Cache, then Release and Renew Your IP Address
The next process involves flushing your DNS, then renewing and releasing your IP address. These network components might encounter different issues that result in the “Establishing a secure connection” problem.
As you must know, your DNS (domain name server) is responsible for resolving domain names to their corresponding IP addresses. There are layers of procedures involved in the domain matching process. From the client to the root server and TLD server, users have to wait for certain information to change hands before they’re welcomed to the website they are trying to connect to. To reduce future wait times, these information are stored in files known as DNS cache.
Sometimes, however, DNS cache files accumulate wrong or corrupted DNS entries. These issues could be due to DNS cache poisoning or change of web servers. To resolve the problem, you have to flush the DNS cache and start fresh.
The problem could also be related to IP conflicts, which are often the results of network hardware and DHCP conflicts. There are cases where your router or modem has to assign new IP addresses if things are going to work normally again.
We’ll be showing you the commands you need to execute to flush your DNS, then release and renew your IP. Follow these steps:
- Press and hold the Windows key, then tap the S key to launch the search utility to the right of the Start button.
- Once the search box appears, type “command prompt” (no quotes) into the text box, then right-click on Command Prompt and select Run as Administrator from the context menu.
- Click on the Yes button once the User Account Control requests for permission.
- After the admin Command Prompt appears, type the lines below into the black screen, hitting the Enter key after typing each command:
- Restart your computer and check for the problem.
Fourth Solution: Restart DNS Client and Cryptographic Services to Troubleshoot the Error
The cryptographic services in Windows 10 manages the following core services:
Protected Root Service: Responsible for adding and removing your PCs Trusted Root Certification Authority certificates. Your browser requires root certificates to confirm that certain websites are genuine.
Automatic Root Certificate Update Service: Responsible for retrieving root certificates from the Windows Update service and enabling Internet security features such as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer).
Catalog Database Service: Responsible for confirming the authenticity of Windows files signatures and allowing the Installation of new programs.
Chrome usually gets stuck on the “Establishing Secure Connection” level because your user account doesn’t have permissions to certain registry keys related to the Cryptographic Services. You can confirm this by restarting the Cryptographic Services and the DNS Client service. Follow the steps below:
- Press the Ctrl, Shift and Esc keys together to launch the Task Manager. You can also right-click your Start button or taskbar, and then click on Task Manager in the menu that appears.
- Once Task Manager opens, switch to the Services tab.
- Click on the Open Services link at the bottom of the Services tab.
- Once the Services application opens, navigate to the Cryptographic Services entry, click on it, then click on Stop in the left pane of the Window.
- Locate the DNS Client service, click on it, then click on Stop in the left pane of the window.
- Next, go back to each of these services, click on them, and then click on Start in the left pane.
- Now, check if Chrome can now load the website on time.
You should note that this is merely a stop-gap solution, as the issue could occur again, and very soon for that matter. The more permanent solution involves granting your user account the required permission in the Windows registry. Before you proceed, note that tweaking the registry is a sensitive proceed that can cause complications if you lose your way. So, make sure you follow these steps carefully, and to be safe, back up the entire registry.
Follow these steps:
- Launch the Run dialog box by tapping the Windows and R keys simultaneously or by right-clicking on the Start button and choosing Run from the menu that pops up.
- After the Run dialog box opens, type “regedit” into the text field and hit the Enter key or click on the OK button.
- Click on Yes immediately the User Account Control dialog box appears.
- Once Registry Editor opens, switch to the left pane and navigate to the following tree:
- Right-click on the ProtectedRoots key under Roots and select Permissions from the drop-down menu.
- Click on your user account under “Group or user names,” then go to the “Permissions for [your user account]” section and click on the Full Control checkbox under Allow.
- Click on the OK button.
- Now, back up the Root folder: In the left pane of the Registry Editor window, right-click the Root folder and select Export. Choose an export location (you can use a USB flash drive), enter a name you can remember for the backup, then click on the Save button.
- Launch the Services application and stop the Cryptographic Services (just like we showed you above).
- Go back to the Registry Editor window and delete the Root directory that you backed up earlier.
- Now, restart your PC and check if the problem has been resolved.
Fifth Solution: Disable TLS 1.3
The Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol is responsible for securing the communication between a website and a user’s computer. This protocol is usually implemented in web browsers and other Internet applications.
The latest version of TLS is TLS 1.3. This version comes with enhanced security and privacy features. There’s a feature in Chrome, known as Downgrade Hardening, designed to protect users against malicious attacks that trick your computer into implementing older vulnerable TLS version policies. That said, this feature could be the reason you’re experiencing the problem. Try disabling it and check if the issue persists.
Follow these steps:
- Click on the address bar of the browser.
- Type or copy and paste “chrome://flags” (without the quotes), then hit the Enter key.
- After Experiments opens, stay in the Available tab and type “TLS” (no quotes) into the search bar, then disable “TLS 1.3 downgrade hardening.”
- Now, check to see if the problem persists.
Sixth Solution: Disable Problematic Extensions
If you were not experiencing the problem before installing a certain extension, disable that extension and check if the problem continues to occur. Some extensions pose security threats and interfere with the certificate authentication process, blocking your internet connection in Chrome. Many users found that an extension was responsible for the issue after trying out so many different troubleshooting methods. If you don’t know how to disable your extension, follow the steps below:
- Click on the three dotted lines in the top-right corner of the browser.
- Hover your mouse pointer over “More tools,” then click on Extensions. You can also get to the Extensions page by typing “Chrome://extensions” (without the quotes) into the address bar.
- Once the Extensions page opens, toggle off the switch in the extension you recently installed.
- Restart the browser and try connecting to the website.
Seventh Solution: Clear Chrome’s Browsing Data
Over time, your browser could accumulate a lot of browsing data, from cookies to a large browser cache. Try disabling these data to resolve the problem. Follow these steps:
- Click on the three vertical dotted lines located in the top-right corner of the browser.
- Once the menu drops-down, hover your mouse pointer over More Tools, then click on Clear Browsing Data. You can also get to the Clear Browsing Data page by tapping the Ctrl, Shift and Delete keys simultaneously when in Chrome.
- Once you get to the Clear Browsing Data page, slide to the Advanced tab.
- Now, check the boxes beside the browsing data you’d like to clear, then click on the Clear Data button.
- Restart the browser and check for the problem.
Eight Solution: Disable Proxy
If you’re trying to boost your Internet speed or bypass certain IP address restrictions, using a proxy or VPN, this could be the reason you’re facing the annoying issue. Try disabling your proxy and check if the problem goes away. This simple fix worked for many users who were employing proxies and VPNs.
Follow these steps:
- Click on the three dotted lines in the top-right corner of the browser.
- Once the menu fades out, click on Settings.
- Go to the left pane of the Settings page, expand Advanced, then click on System.
- Now, go under System in the right pane and click on the “Open your computer’s proxy settings” link.
- The Proxy tab of the Network & Internet page in Settings will now appear.
- Toggle off the switch under “Automatically detect settings.”
- You can now restart Chrome and check for the issue.
If you have a VPN, make sure you disable it or uninstall the program outright, then launch Chrome and check for the problem.
Ninth Solution: Change Your Internet Settings
As bizarre as it sounds, some users were able to resolve the issue by tweaking their internet properties. Follow these steps:
- Press the Windows and I keys together to launch the Settings application or right-click on the Start button and select Settings from the menu that appears.
- Once you see the home screen of Settings, click on Network & Internet.
- Remain in the Status tab of the Network & Internet interface, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click on the Network and Sharing Center link.
- In the Network and Sharing Center window, go to the bottom of the left pane and click on Internet Options.
- Once the Internet Properties dialog window appears, switch to the Connections tab.
- Go to the Local Area Network (LAN) Settings segment and click on the LAN Settings button.
- After the Local Area Network (LAN) Settings dialog opens, leave all the boxes unchecked and click on OK.
- Click on the OK button in the Internet Properties dialog, then restart Chrome and check for the problem.
Tenth Solution: Apply a Group Policy Fix
If you’re using Windows 10 Pro or any Enterprise edition, this fix is for you. Some users got the browser to work normally again after applying a certain tweak in the Local Group Policy Editor. Follow these steps:
- Use the Windows + R combination to launch Run.
- Type “gpedit.msc” (no quotes) into the text field of the Run dialog box and hit the Enter key.
- Once the Local Group Policy Editor window appears, drill down to the following tree in the left pane:
Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Public Key Policies
- Left-click on Public Key Policies, then go to the right pane and double-click Certificate Path Validation Settings.
- In the Stores tab of the dialog that opens, check the “Define these policies” checkbox and uncheck the “Allow user trusted root CAs to be used to validate certificates (recommended)” checkbox under it.
- Click on OK and check if the issue has been resolved.
That’s it! Chrome should now browse normally. If you have thoughts to share on the matter or problems you’d like assistance with, use the comments section to let us know.
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