How to Make Sure the SSL & TLS Protocols Are Enabled

By Edward Mercer

The Transport Layer Security and Secure Sockets Layer protocols, more commonly known simply as TLS and SSL respectively, are Internet security protocols that keep data safe in transit. The protocols involve the exchange of encryption keys by computers and servers as a means of authentication, followed by the transfer of encrypted data. The server and computer use the key to decipher transferred data, while third parties cannot. SSL is a predecessor to the TLS protocol and, although both use similar technology, you should make sure that all of your Web browsers are running the TLS 1.0 protocol or later for maximum security.

Internet Explorer

In IE, click on "Tools" in the top menu bar of the browser. Then select "Internet Options" and click on the "Advanced" tab in the Internet Options window. Scroll down through the options and verify that the "TLS 1.0" checkbox is checked. Alternatively, you can check a later version of TLS such as 1.1 or 1.2. If no box is checked, check a TLS box and then click on the "Apply" button on the bottom of the window. This option ensures that all of your data transfers through the browser comply with the TLS protocol.

Firefox

In a Firefox browser, click on "Tools" in the header menu of the browser. Select "Options" and then click on the "Advanced" icon in the options window. Click on the "Encryption" tab and make sure that the "Use TLS" option is checked. If it is, you can close the window and continue browsing safely. Otherwise, check the box and click on the "OK" button in the window to apply the TLS protocol to all of your browsing in Firefox.

Safari

To verify that the TLS protocol is enabled in Safari, click on the gear icon on the top right of the browser, next to the address bar. Click on "Preferences" and then click on the "Advanced" icon. Then click on the "Change Settings..." button. Click on the "Advanced" tab in the Internet Properties window and browse through the Settings section to make sure that the TLS checkbox is selected. Check the box if it is not and then click on the "OK" button.

Chrome

For TLS security in Google's Chrome browser, click on the wrench icon in the upper right of the Web browser. Click on "Options" and then "Under the Hood." In the new window, click on the "Change proxy settings..." button. Click on the "Advanced" tab icon in the Internet Properties window. If the browser is using the TLS protocol, the TLS checkbox should be selected in the Settings section. If it isn't, check the box next to the most recent TLS version and click on the "OK" button.