Transport Layer Security (TLS) guarantees encrypted communications between a client and a web server via HTTPS. It replaces the now deprecated Secured Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol.
Transport Layer Security (TLS) guarantees encrypted communications between a client and a web server via HTTPS. It replaces the now deprecated Secured Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol. When web traffic is encrypted with TLS, users see a green padlock in their browser window, near the URL box.
You can manage the TLS version that your domain uses when proxied through Cloudflare by setting the Minimum TLS Version in the SSL/TLS tab of the Cloudflare dashboard.
Selecting a minimum version ensures that all subsequent, newer versions of the protocol are also supported. TLS 1.0 is the version that Cloudflare sets by default for all customers using certificate-based encryption. In this case, it means that Cloudflare also accepts requests encrypted with all TLS versions beyond 1.0.
To properly test supported TLS versions, attempt a request to your Cloudflare domain while specifying a TLS version. For example, to use the curl command to test TLS 1.1 (replace www.example.com with your Cloudflare domain and hostname):
curl https://www.example.com -svo /dev/null --tls-max 1.1
If the TLS version is blocked by Cloudflare, the TLS handshake does not complete and instead returns errors such as:
* error:1400442E:SSL routines:CONNECT_CR_SRVR_HELLO:tlsv1 alert protocol version
For guidance on which TLS version to use, review the information outlined below.
Understand TLS versions
A higher TLS version implies a stronger cryptographic standard. TLS 1.2 includes fixes for known vulnerabilities found in previous versions.
As of June 2018, TLS 1.2 is the version required by the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council. Cloudflare recommends migrating to TLS 1.2 to comply with the PCI requirement.
TLS 1.3, which offers additional security and performance improvements, was approved by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) in May 2018.
Decide what version to use
Not all browser versions support TLS 1.2 and above. Depending on your particular business situation, this may present some limitations in using stronger encryption standards.
Consider using TLS 1.0 or 1.1 for sites with a broad user base, particularly non-transactional sites. This way, you minimize the possibility that some clients might not be able to connect to your site securely.
For a narrow user base and sites that run internal applications or business and productivity applications, Cloudflare recommends TLS 1.2. These sites might already have more stringent security requirements or might be subject to PCI compliance. However, you also need to ensure that your users upgrade to a TLS 1.2 compliant browser.
More articles on PCI compliance
- PCI compliance and Cloudflare SSL/TLS - Learn how to configure Cloudflare to meet PCI scan requirements and understand what mitigations Cloudflare has in place for earlier versions of TLS/SSL.