Debug SSL issue – part 1 (1 way SSL)

In java to debug SSL issue, add to java command line argument. This can be added either to server side or client side and will print the SSL handshake details between the client server on standard out.

I assuming this 1 way SSL connection from client to server. For details on 1 way SSL –


  1. SSL debug is every verbose and prints a lot in log, so if you doing debug on the server side, it may be good to limit communication to server from client you are facing issue with.
  2. The exact output you may see may vary based on version of Java Runtime (JRE), i will try to keep this discuss generic.
  3. In enterprise environment there are lot of component between client and server – proxy, firewall, load balancer etc, so first debug it to make your request from client is making to server. Look at SSL debug only once the you have establish the communication from client is reaching server. And its failing in SSL handshake between client and server.

Once you have this added, let me explain how to understand the details that are printed.

  • The first thing it will print is *** ClientHello, TLSv1.2, this indicate the client request is making it to server and the connection protocol is TLSv1.2. After this line it will print bunch of details like cipher suite, extension that client accepts, rejects etc.
  • The server reciprocates with server hello *** ServerHello, TLSv1.2, this indicate the server is received the request and protocol that it will use. Also after it indicates the cipher it has selected. If there are cipher suite in common, you will see the error – no cipher suites in common.

Then as part of server hello, server presents it certificate

RandomCookie: GMT: 1495682071 bytes = { 188, 152, 123, 228, 111, 6, 216, 173, 128, 2,
chain [0] = [
Version: V3
Signature Algorithm: SHA1withRSA, OID = 1.2.840.113549.1.1.5

Key: Sun RSA public key, 2048 bits
public exponent: 65537
Validity: [From: Thu May 12 14:47:31 CDT 2016,
To: Wed May 13 14:47:31 CDT 2026]
SerialNumber: [ c8]

  • And prints *** ServerHelloDone.
  • Now the client has to validate this certificate against the cert that present in its trust store. So client side you should see something like

Found trusted certificate:

If you dont have right certificate or CA in trust store in client side or if trust store if not correctly configured,  you will see error at this point in the log like – unable to find valid certification path

  • If certificate is found in client key store, client server exchange the symmetric key (based on cipher suite used) that will be used for any further communication.




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