How to enable TLS 1.3 support in Firefox and Chrome

The following guide provides you with instructions on enabling TLS 1.3 (Transport Layer Security) support in Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.

Transport Layer Security, short TLS, is a cryptographic protocol to communicate securely over a computer network. The current version of TLS is 1.2 while TLS 1.3 is available as a draft currently.

TLS 1.3 is based on TLS 1.2 but offers major security and privacy improvement over the protocol that web browsers support currently by default.

While it would go too far to list all improvements, you can check out the Wikipedia entry on TLS 1.3 for that, it does remove support for some cryptographic hash functions and named elliptic curves, prohibits use of insecure SSL or RC4 negotiations, or supports a new stream cipher, key exchange protocols or digital signature algorithms. It is also faster than TLS 1.2 by reducing the number of round-trips to 1 compared to TLS 1.2 using 2 round-trips.

Enable TLS 1.3 support in Firefox and Chrome

tls 1.3

Both Firefox and Chrome support TLS 1.3, but the version of Transport Layer Security is not enabled by default. The main reason for that, likely, is that it is still only available as a draft.

Testing your browser's TLS capabilities

One of the first things that you may want to do is check which TLS and SSL protocols your browser supports.

One of the better options to test the capabilities is to visit SSL Labs, and there the "My Client" page which checks the browser's capabilities.

It reveals all protocols supported by the browser, checks whether the browser is vulnerable to certain known attacks, lists the supported cipher suites, protocol details, and how mixed content is handled by the browser.

If you run the test using Chrome or Firefox Stable right now, you will get a "no" next to TLS 1.3

Enable TLS 1.3 in Firefox

firefox tls 1.3 support

Mozilla Firefox users may enable TLS 1.3 support in Firefox in the following way (note that Nightly supports TLS 1.3 by default already, while Firefox Stable needs to be configured specifically to support it).

  1. Load about:config in the Firefox address bar.  Confirm that you will be careful if the warning screen is shown. The Firefox Configuration editor opens.
  2. Search for security.tls.version.max
  3. Change the value of the preference to 4 by double-clicking on it.

Enable TLS 1.3 in Chrome

chrome tls 1.3

Google Chrome users may enable TLS 1.3 in the browser as well. Please note that some Chromium-based browsers such as Vivaldi support the same flag. You can apply the change to these browsers as well.

  1. Load chrome://flags/ in the browser's address bar. This opens the experiments page of the web browser.
  2. Find Maximum TLS version enabled. You can also click on this link directly: chrome://flags/#ssl-version-max
  3. Click on the menu, and set it to TLS 1.3.
  4. Restart the web browser.

Closing Words

Some sites, like Cloudflare for instance, support TLS 1.3 already. Cloudflare customers may enable TLS 1.3 for their sites to "improve both speed and security for Internet users everywhere".

Summary
Article Name
How to enable TLS 1.3 support in Firefox and Chrome
Description
The following guide provides you with instructions on enabling TLS 1.3 (Transport Layer Security) support in Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Responses to How to enable TLS 1.3 support in Firefox and Chrome

  1. Blockhead June 15, 2017 at 4:31 pm #

    I went to "myclient" site and got one negative result.
    TLS_RSA_WITH_3DES_EDE_CBC_SHA (0xa) WEAK 112
    I did not find any recommendations how to fix it but I'm also not the brightest in this area.
    Does anyone have an idea how to fix this ? And by the way, what is it for and do I need to fix it ?
    Many thanks from a technical blockhead.

    • Anonymous June 16, 2017 at 9:09 am #

      You will need to contact your browser vendor and ask them to fix this. That is indeed a weak ciphersuit that is no longer necessary on modern web and needs to be removed.

    • Anonymous June 16, 2017 at 11:09 am #

      You have to disable all 3DES/DES suites on your site. You'll lose support for IE8 on XP, not a big deal.

      • Blockhead June 16, 2017 at 5:38 pm #

        Thanks, but how can I do that ? Found some sites on the web but the info provided was quite confusing.

      • Tom Hawack June 16, 2017 at 7:07 pm #

        @Blockhead,

        // DISABLE TRIPLE-DES ENCRYPTION - TLS cipher suites using the Triple-DES (3DES) cipher are no longer considered safe.
        user_pref("security.ssl3.rsa_des_ede3_sha", false); // WARNING: MAY BREAK SOME SITES

        I'd advise adding to this,

        // DISABLE 1024-DH ENCRYPTION
        user_pref("security.ssl3.dhe_rsa_aes_128_sha", false); // WARNING: MAY BREAK OBSCURE SITES
        user_pref("security.ssl3.dhe_rsa_aes_256_sha", false); // WARNING: MAY BREAK OBSCURE SITES

        and

        // DISABLE 128-BIT ENCRYPTION
        user_pref("security.ssl3.ecdhe_ecdsa_aes_128_sha", false); // WARNING: MAY BREAK SOME SITES
        user_pref("security.ssl3.ecdhe_rsa_aes_128_sha", false); // WARNING: MAY BREAK SOME SITES

        Never encountered an issue with these 5 disabled.
        Source : Ghacks User.js

  2. akg June 15, 2017 at 4:52 pm #

    firefox 55 beta also supports TLS 1.3 by default

  3. Pants June 15, 2017 at 5:15 pm #

    In Firefox, I am fairly sure you'll also want to change the fallback limit
    user_pref("security.tls.version.fallback-limit", 3);
    user_pref("security.tls.version.max", 4);

    • The dude June 19, 2017 at 2:53 pm #

      WOW! you are a super master. How can we go one day without your comments?

  4. Tom Hawack June 15, 2017 at 11:44 pm #

    For Firefox users running the 'Configuration Mania' add-on, TLS 1.3 may be enabled from the add-on's following section:
    Security > SSL > SSL Protocol Versions

    TLS 1.3 has been made available for Firefox ever since the browser's version 49. I remember having enabled it then but, encountering issues, though with very few sites, I eventually had reset the minimum required / maximum supported encryption protocol. to 1.2 (security.tls.version.fallback-limit = 3). I've now switched it to 4 (TLS 1.3), hoping sites' security will have progressed since then.

    LIVE EDIT : ghacks.net doesn't seem to handle TLS 1.3 ... disabling it, resetting min/max to TLS 1.2

    • Heimen Stoffels June 16, 2017 at 1:15 pm #

      gHacks works fine for me with TLS 1.3 in SeaMonkey 2.53 daily.

      • Tom Hawack June 16, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

        I read you loud 'n' clear, Heimen. I'm stunned that, here, I cannot access Ghacks with TLS 1.3 enabled.
        Anyone else experiencing OK (as Heimen on SeaMonkey 2.53) or KO (as myself on Firefox ESR 52.2.0)?
        And of course, Martin's word if he has the time would be welcomed.

  5. jasray June 16, 2017 at 1:48 am #

    What a browser will support is so different from what the majority of sites will support. Wasn't there an earlier article/argument this week about the failure of "most" sites to use SSL? Boycott sites that don't use SSL or TLS?

  6. trends June 16, 2017 at 2:32 am #

    Does the latest Pale Moon browser
    support TLS 1.3?

    If yes,
    how to enable it in PM?

    (using: Pale Moon 27.3.0 - Linux 32 bit...)

    • D June 18, 2017 at 11:17 am #

      Nope.

  7. Heimen Stoffels June 16, 2017 at 1:14 pm #

    Hmm, I'm running the latest SeaMonkey daily build of 2.53 (which is built on Firefox Aurora (I think? at least latest FF test build) and TLS 1.3 is enabled by default for me, at least according to that My Client page.

  8. mohanmekap June 17, 2017 at 2:08 pm #

    Thanks I enabled it on chrome and now, i feel my site is loading fast.

  9. Jason June 19, 2017 at 8:36 pm #

    Should TLS 1.0 or 1.1 be disabled? -will that cause issues?

    Thanks

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