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My Computer Is Blocking All Secure Websites From Loading

by Naomi Bolton

Websites that deal in sensitive user information, such as credit card details, make use of the HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) communications protocol to safeguard the data. This encrypted data is harder for others to intercept and misuse. A couple of factors, however, can cause problems when trying to access websites that make use of the secure protocol. These can range from an incorrect date on your computer to browser extensions to malware interference.

Firewall Is Blocking Access

Since secure websites use a different port than that of normal HTTP sites, the problem could be with the firewall. If the firewall is configured to block the port used by secure websites, none of them will load while normal websites will be unaffected. Check the firewall that you are using to ensure that access to port 443, which is the default HTTPS port, is not being blocked. Also check your router to ensure that access to secure sites is not blocked at a hardware level.

SSL Is Disabled in the Browser

To connect to secured websites your browser must have the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) security protocol enabled. If SSL is disabled in your browser, it can prevent secure sites from loading and will display a "Secure Connection Failed" error message. Check that SSL is enabled for your browser to allow access to secure websites. The SSL settings are under the Encryption tab of the Advanced section in the Firefox options and under the Advanced tab of the Internet Explorer Internet Options window.

Incorrect Computer Date

If the date on your computer is incorrect, it can cause problems with the security certificates of certain sites. This happens if the date on your computer is set to a time before the security certificate for the website has been issued. Your browser uses the date of your computer to determine whether the security certificate is still valid. Correct the date on your computer to prevent expired issuer certificate errors that can prevent access to secure websites.

Virus or Malware Infection

Some types of viruses and malware can interfere with your browser settings, blocking access to certain websites. Perform a thorough security scan of your computer to determine whether malware is the root of the problem. Use a free online virus scan from ESET, Bitdefender or Trend Micro (links in Resources) to check your system. Visit the secure websites using a different browser on the same computer to see if the connection settings of your primary browser have been changed.

Browser Extension Interfering

Browser extensions are useful third-party plugins that can increase the functionality of your browser but can also sometimes cause problems. An outdated or buggy browser extension can cause issues when trying to access a secure website. To troubleshoot this problem, start your browser in Safe mode and attempt to access the websites that are blocked. Safe mode usually disables any browser extensions, so if this is the problem, the secure sites should load. Browsers all have different methods to run safe mode; for example, Chrome uses New Incognito Window, while in Firefox you must select "Restart With Add-ons Disabled."

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