Safari can’t establish a secure connection – Fix

Safari can’t open the page because “Safari can’t establish a secure connection” commonly appears on the browser if there is a safety issues between the web page and browser transmission protocol. The reason why web users are seeing this warning or something like “This connection is not secure” is that the destination website is not providing the appropriate security connection.

With most websites now operating on HTTPS that uses SSL/TSL secure connection, most major internet browser programs including Safari were designed to support this feature. As such, visiting websites that are still on HTTP or is not yet applying both the security benefits and enhancements offered by HTTPS, there is a chance that web users might see “Safari can’t establish a secure connection” warning.

It is true that there is safety risks when visiting sites showing “This connection is not secure” messages. Performing sensitive transactions on these websites are likely unsafe especially when doing login, providing personal details, or processing online payments. Since the transmission between the website and Safari is not encrypted with SSL/TSL, an attacker may intercept critical information from such transaction.

Mac Network

There are instances that “Safari can’t establish a secure connection” or “This connection is not secure” appearance is due to old certificates residing on the browser, which needs to be updated. Other factors include inappropriate settings on network configuration, security applications, and so on. Hence, the most common message that web user may receive is as follows:

Safari Can’t Open the Page
Safari can’t open the page [website] because Safari can’t establish a secure connection to the server [website].

We know that seeing “Safari can’t establish a secure connection” is frustrating for Mac users and therefore, we decided to make a simple guide to tackle this issue using different methods and solutions as we have collected a number of reports and solutions.

Ways to fix “Safari can’t establish a secure connection” issue

Option 1: Use Public DNS

In most cases, your internet service provider (ISP) automatically sets the IP address applied on these settings via Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). An alternative is to use a Google Public DNS that literally changes the network settings from ISP to provided public DNS. Please follow the steps below to change current DNS settings and see if this will resolve “Safari can’t establish a secure connection” issue.

Caution: Be sure to write down the current IP address or settings before replacing them. This is important just in case you need to revert to this IP if something the procedure is not successful.

1. Open System Preferences > Network.

2. If there is a lock icon in lower left corner of the window, please unlock by authenticating with administrative user name and password.

3. Select the current Wi-Fi or network connection and the click Advanced button.

Mac Network Image

4. Select the DNS tab.

5. Click the + sign to replace the existing DNS Servers and input the following:

6. Click OK and then, click Apply to save the settings.

Mac DNS Settings

7. Please restart Safari and see if “Safari can’t establish a secure connection” error is gone.

If ever suspicious IP address is set on DNS server, it could be due to virus infection and we highly suggest removing the virus from Mac first because it often solves the DNS issues.

Option 2: Change Certificate Trust

Old certificates and inappropriate authority settings could be the reason for having security connection issue on browser leading to “Safari Can’t Open the Page” warning. Though this may be an isolated case, we opted to include the procedure just in case it may be appropriate to solve the problem on some Safari users.

1. Open Launchpad and search for Keychain Access. Please open the app.

2. Select the Keychain Login from left panel.

3. On the same panel, click All Items under the Category.

Login Certificate

4. Sort the list by Kind and Delete or Drag to Trash the affected website’s Certificate and Identity Preference if there is any.

5. Close Keychain Access window for now.

6. Open Safari and visit the affected website to renegotiate a secure connection.

7. Once more, open Keychain Access and under Category on left panel, please select Certificates.

View Certificate

8. On right panel, double-click on the affected website to view root certificate authority.

9. Please expand the Trust section to see available options.

10. Under the area “When using this certificate:“, please set the selection to Always Trust.

Trust Certificate

If in case that unusual address is present on this area, it could be that adware have manage to incorporate malicious site on this configuration and redirects the browser to it even though it is an unsupported website. This may show error that “Safari Can’t Open the Page”. There are instances that simply removing adware from Safari and Mac computer can fix this problem.

Option 3: Date and Time Sync

For whatever reasons, there were reports that “Safari Can’t Open the Page – Safari can’t establish a secure connection” appears if there is an issue with date and time especially if it not syncing to your area. Please ensure that time and date is correct and Time Zone is assigned to your current location.

Set date and time automatically

1. Open System Preferences > Date & Time

2. If there is a lock icon in lower left corner of the window, please unlock by authenticating with administrative user name and password.

3. On Date & Time area, be sure that Set date and time automatically is active.

Date & Time

4. Click Time Zone tab and enable Set time zone automatically using current location. You must be connected to internet in order for system preference to set the current and exact time zone.

Time Zone

5. Close the Date & Time window and open Safari to see if the solution works. If not, proceed to next step.

Set date and time manually

1. Under Date & Time section, uncheck the Set date and time automatically to deactivate the settings.

2. Next, manually set the Date and the Time to your current settings.

3. Close the Date & Time window.

4. Open Safari browser to see if “Safari can’t establish a secure connection” is gone.

Option 4: Web Shield Exclusion

Web Shield, Safe Web, Net Guard, Web Filtering, and so on. Every antivirus and security software have this added security protection layer to block web users from accessing malicious websites. The feature is also helpful in scanning website activities and applies real-time protection to deter unnecessary web traffic. By default, web shield is activated on the installation of anti-virus program to immediately protect the computer from online attacks. However, there were reports that this feature is causing the browser to prompt “Safari can’t establish a secure connection” issues.

It is not recommended to entirely disable Web Shield feature on any anti-virus software as it can lessen the online protection. Though if you are certain that disabling web shield is a justifiable way to resolve “Safari can’t establish a secure connection”  error, please do so. Hence, our primary advise is to add the affected websites on the exclusion list to stop getting “Safari can’t establish a secure connection” or similar problems. Below is a general guide to change the settings. The steps may vary from one brand to another.

1. Open your anti-virus program.

2. Click on Settings.

3. Look for Web shield, Net Guard, Web Filtering or similar section.

4. Find the area associated to Exclusions.

5. Add the URL or web address to the exclusion list to stop the security program from blocking the data transmission.

6. Open the website and see if this has resolve the “Safari can’t establish a secure connection” or “Safari Can’t Open the Page” problem.

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