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vSphere 5.1 "The server committed a protocol violation"

I am connecting to an vCenter 5.1 instance running on ESXi 5.1 with vSphere Client 5.1 over a VPN.

When I attempt to connect over the secured port 7444 I get an error.  I was prompted to accept the certificate prior to the error.  

vSphere Client could not connect to "xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx". An unknown connection error occured.  (The client received an invalid response from the server. (The Server committed a protocol violation.  Section=ResponseStatusLine))

If I try to connect over port 81 I get an error about the traffic not being encrypted and throws an error stating "The server 'xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx' could not interpret the client's request. (The remote server returned an error: (404) Not Found.)

Error stack
Call "ServiceInstance.RetrieveContent" for object "ServiceInstance" on Server "xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx" failed.

Thanks guys.

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Last Comment

8/22/2022 - Mon

Under server name\IP address, are adding the port number after the name or IP address(vmwareserver.com:7444)?

If so, have you tried it without the port number in it?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow/British Beekeeper)

can you connect directly to the ESXi server?

Thanks Force, I am using the port after the IP.  The error is the same and only shows the IP address.

hanccocka, I can connect directly to ESXi.  I also tried to connect via public IP and with some firewall policies I was able to connect to the vCenter server but recevied the same error.  Both on 7444 and 81.
Your help has saved me hundreds of hours of internet surfing.

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My own root cause analysis resolved this issue which I annotated in my last post.