What is TLS 1.3? An Overview of a Faster and More Secure TLS Version

10 Jan, 2024

TLS 1.3 introduces a lot of security and performance enhancements.

The HTTP/2 protocol updated in late 2015 and TLS 1.3 updated in 2018. Since then, encrypted connections are now more secure and faster than ever.

Read below about the changes with TLS 1.3 and how TLS 1.3 can benefit you as a website site owner.

What is TLS?

Transport Layer Security (TLS) is the successor to Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).

TLS provides secure communication between servers and web browsers.

Because symmetric cryptography is used to encrypt the data transmitted, the connection is secure.

For each connection, there are uniquely generated keys. These keys are based on a shared secret that servers and web browsers negotiated at the session’s starting.

This method is known as a TLS handshake.

IP-based protocols such as HTTPS, FTP, SMTP, POP3 now support TLS to encrypt the data.

Web browsers (still) are using an SSL certificate. This SSL certificate allows the browsers to verify that a digitally signed Certificate Authority issues it.

This certificate is also known as the TLS certificate.

However, most SSL providers still stick with the name “SSL Certificates” because SSL is a more well-known term than TLS.

I am sure that you know the HTTPS that you see in your browser’s address bar. SSL/TLS certificates provide the magic behind this.

TLS 1.2 vs TLS 1.3

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an open standards organization. IETF is in charge of defining the TLS protocol.

TLS protocol has gone through many various iterations from TLS, TLS 1.2, and TLS 1.3 versions.

After going through 28 drafts, on March 21st, 2018, IETF finalized TLS 1.3.

And since August 2018, the final version of TLS 1.3 is now published and widely adopted.

Large internet companies like Cloudflare are already offering TLS 1.3 to their customers.

Small and modern service providers like Rovity are also offering TLS 1.3 as the default TLS version.

The main advantage of TLS 1.3 over TLS 1.2 is a faster connection and improved security.

Speed Benefits of TLS 1.3

When it comes to performance, encrypted connections, including TLS, have always added a slight overhead to the server and network.

Indeed HTTP/2 helped us with this obstacle. But TLS 1.3 helps speed up encrypted connections further with Zero Round Trip Time and TLS False Start features.

TLS 1.2 required two round-trips to complete the TLS handshake.

With 1.3, only one round-trip is required. This reduction, in turn, cuts the encryption latency by half.

TLS 1.3 Handshake

Another related advantage of TLS 1.3 is that it remembers!

That means if you have previously visited a website, you can now send data on the first message to the server. This is called the Zero Round Trip Time (0-RTT). And yes, Zero Round Trip Time also results in enhanced loading time.

Improved Security With TLS 1.3

Usually, TLS 1.2 was not configured correctly, and that leaves all websites vulnerable to attacks. This misconfiguration was one of the big problems with TLS 1.2.

TLS 1.3 removed out-of-date and vulnerable features from TLS 1.2.

TLS 1.3 is more simplified; this simplicity reduces server administrator’s, and developers’ possibilities misconfigured the protocol.

TLS 1.3 Browser Support

Can I Use TLS 1.3

All modern web browsers are fully compatible with TLS 1.3.

Legacy browsers like IE 11 don’t support TLS 1.3 yet. And since Microsoft now moved to Edge, a chromium-based browser, I don’t think Microsoft will make IE 11 work with TLS 1.3 anytime soon.

Safari 13.1 partially supports TLS 1.3.

Some less popular mobile browsers are also won’t support TLS 1.3 as of now.

Those non-supported browsers may take some time to catch up.

TLS 1.3 Server Support

Are you curious to know whether or not your server or host supports TLS 1.3 yet?

Visit the SSL Server Test tool and scan your domain. Once the SSL Server Test tool generates the result, scroll down to the “Protocols” section.

Rovity TLS Version

You will see the supported protocols listed there.

Rovity Supports TLS 1.3

At Rovity, we are always ahead of our competitors. We deploy most modern technologies on our networks and systems as soon as it is available.

We support TLS 1.3 by default.

Try Rovity to get modern specs like TLS 1.3 and stay ahead of the competition.

Let your websites fly with Rovity!

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Jafar Muhammed

Jafar Muhammed has 10+ years of experience in WordPress, web hosting, domain names, DNS, CDN, server administration, etc. He is an open web advocate. He is the CEO of Rovity, the fastest-growing premium shared hosting startup in India.