Fix Internet Explorer 11 error: 'This page can't be displayed: Turn on TLS 1.0, TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.2 in Advanced Settings'

Fix Internet Explorer error: ‘This page can’t be displayed: Turn on TLS 1.0, TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.2 in Advanced Settings’

Are you currently using Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) and have been randomly getting slow responses that arrive at an error message:

“This page can’t be displayed – Turn on TLS 1.0, TLS 1.1, and TLS 1.2 in Advanced settings and try connecting to https://www.google.com again. If this error persists, it is possible that this site uses an unsupported protocol or cipher suite such as RC4 (link for the details), which is not considered secure. Please contact your site administrator.”

Internet Explorer 11 error: "This page can’t be displayed - Turn on TLS 1.0, TLS 1.1, and TLS 1.2 in Advanced settings and try connecting to https://www.google.com again. If this error persists, it is possible that this site uses an unsupported protocol or cipher suite such as RC4 (link for the details), which is not considered secure. Please contact your site administrator."

The above error message is informative, and it appears that the error is related to IE using deprecated cipher suites.

But checking the ciphers in Tools > Internet Options > Advanced, in the Settings scrollbox, looking under Security, we see that we are already using updated cipher suites TLS 1.0, 1.1, and 1.2 (at present, SSL 3.0 is the only deprecated cipher) that should be selected by default in IE11.

Diagnosis of the error - Internet Options shows that IE is not using any deprecated cipher suites

So it appears that this is not cipher suite issue.

Solution: Reset Internet Explorer 11’s settings

* Note: The solution will involve resetting IE11’s settings – restoring its default settings, removing previous search providers and accelerators. It is recommended you try and remember, or preferably write down the search engines / accelerators, as well as any custom settings before performing the fix.

1 Going back to Tools > Internet Options > Advanced, under Reset Internet Explorer settings, click on Reset. In the Reset Internet Explorer settings window, check the box ‘Delete personal settings’, and click on Reset

Going back to Tools > Internet Options > Advanced, under Reset Internet Explorer settings, click on Reset. In the Reset Internet Explorer settings window, check the box 'Delete personal settings', and click on Reset

Once done, simply restart IE11 and try browsing again. Things should work now :)

Browsing is working on IE11 once again, as expected, without errors.

Conclusion

As usual, bugs occur in any software, and as you’d expect – it’s IE again. But this one is definitely uncommon – We’ve never seen it before:

  • it’s random nature made it seem, on first glance, like a network issue (or specifically a dns issue – because that error message familiarly appears when there’s a lack of connectivity), or a caching issue
  • and the fact that the cipher settings were not incorrect made it harder to fix.

We did not track down whether it was a problem with IE occasionally not applying those cipher settings correctly when browsing sites, or whether it was due to the cipher suites themselves – but one thing is clear: resetting the browser to its default usually resolves most browser-related problems pertaining to the http protocol.

It would be unfair to add more hate on IE that it already suffers regarding its performance and HTML compliance. But one thing we know about IE that great: it’s security – there’s no denying this one. And while we (Joe and I) might have taken quite a while to have found a fix for this error (a fix that’s not directly related to the error message), at least IE has once again done what it does best – protecting our privacy and security.