I have recently updated to https. Not supporting RC4.

We have one or two customers that cannot access our site, and are getting the error 'A secure connection cannot be established because this site uses an unsupported protocol or cipher suite. This is likely to be caused when the server needs RC4, which is no longer considered secure.'

They are all on XP, but running the latest Chrome.

How can I get around this? Bearing in mind we don't support RC4, the Chrome error message isn't very helpful.

I'm assuming there is a problem with Windows XP and any new browser trying to access any HTTPS site that does not support RC4 - surely there is a workaround, as a large chunk of people are still running XP?

  • Have you tried running your site against one of the popular SSL testers to confirm that you have the RC4 ciphers disabled? (eg. ssllabs.com/ssltest) XP should be able to negotiate one of the 3DES cipher suites.
    – learley
    Feb 23, 2016 at 14:46
  • Yep have tried that, and have confirmed with my hosts that it is not present.
    – Ralph King
    Feb 23, 2016 at 15:21
  • What does the SSL test show as the negotiated protocol for the Windows XP SSL handshake?
    – learley
    Feb 23, 2016 at 15:35
  • It only shows IE6 and IE8 which both show mismatch. It's new browsers that are the issue. It may be that they haven't updated to Service Pack 3 but even that seems a bit of a stretch
    – Ralph King
    Feb 23, 2016 at 15:42
  • I asked not because of the browsers but because Chrome is going to use the Windows Schannel library just like IE and so seeing how an XP client handshakes is going to let you know what might work in Chrome that is not RC4. For example, on sites I've tested that work from XP you will usually see TLS_RSA_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA as the cipher. Since you currently get a cipher mismatch, the RC4 portion of the error message you see in Chrome is probably a red herring and you actually aren't supporting any cipher suites that work in Schannel under Windows XP.
    – learley
    Feb 23, 2016 at 15:54

1 Answer 1


Your site needs to support a cipher that is available in Windows XP, which is why you are getting the cipher suite mismatch. Your SSL Labs test report lists the following ciphers:

TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256 (0xc02b)   ECDH secp256r1 (eq. 3072 bits RSA)   FS  128
TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA256 (0xc023)   ECDH secp256r1 (eq. 3072 bits RSA)   FS  128
TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA (0xc009)   ECDH secp256r1 (eq. 3072 bits RSA)   FS 128
TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384 (0xc02c)   ECDH secp256r1 (eq. 3072 bits RSA)   FS  256
TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA384 (0xc024)   ECDH secp256r1 (eq. 3072 bits RSA)   FS  256
TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA (0xc00a)   ECDH secp256r1 (eq. 3072 bits RSA)   FS 256
TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA (0xc008)   ECDH secp256r1 (eq. 3072 bits RSA)   FS    112
TLS_ECDHE_ECDSA_WITH_CHACHA20_POLY1305_SHA256 (0xcc14)   ECDH secp256r1 (eq. 3072 bits RSA)   FS    256P
(P) This server prefers ChaCha20 suites with clients that don't have AES-NI (e.g., Android devices) 

Here are the supported TLS cipher suites in Windows XP/Server 2003.



Your site won't work from Windows XP at all. You need to add one of the supported suites if you want to support Windows XP. The one most commonly used seems to be the aforementioned TLS_RSA_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA.

Edit to add: I just noticed you're using CloudFlare. Make sure you read the SSL FAQ and the Legacy Browser support articles.


I know Chrome is a modern browser but as I said before it uses the Windows libraries for whatever OS it is running on and TLS/SNI support wasn't introduced until Windows Vista. So if you disable legacy browser support in CloudFlare, you will break Chrome on XP as well because your site will only be accessible from browsers that support SNI.

  • I'd just tracked it down to Cloudfare's free plan. Thanks for the comprehensive explanation though, I've learnt something today! Cheers
    – Ralph King
    Feb 23, 2016 at 16:44
  • Ah, yes the free SSL plan at CloudFlare uses SNI so you'd need to upgrade to a paid plan if you wanted to support browsers on Windows XP.
    – learley
    Feb 23, 2016 at 16:47

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