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SSL vs HTTPS | Difference between SSL and HTTPS

In today's internet world, security is most important so that any unauthorized person or third party cannot temper the data. Security is a must for some websites where we need to enter personal details or perform any money transactions. Hence, if you are looking to make your website secure, you must need to be aware of HTTPS and SSL. Both HTTPS and SSL are used to make the communication or transaction more secure over the internet. Both technologies prevent the data from being read by the man in the middle while sending or receiving the data on the internet.


The SSL and HTTPS are mostly used together, so are both similar to each other? The answer is no.

HTTPS is the secured version of HTTP protocol that is used by the browser for communication. It uses SSL/TLS for delivering the encrypted data.

On the other hand, SSL is an encryption protocol that is used to encrypt data. In this topic, we are going to explain SSL and HTTPS protocols and what are the differences between both of them. But before proceeding, let's first understand about basics of these two, i.e., HTTP.

What is HTTP?

  • HTTP is the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, which is the most commonly used protocol worldwide. It is the primary protocol that is used to communicate and exchange information between the browser and websites. This protocol is used to view any webpage on the internet, or we can say it enables a website to communicate with other websites. When we enter any domain name, it automatically connects over http or https. Such as, here the http:// tells the browser to connect over the http.
  • The communication between client and server occurs in the form of Http request and Http Response.
  • The HTTP request is a communication request that is sent by the client(browser) to the webserver.

This request is processed by the server, and it returns the response to the client, which is known as an HTTP response.

The http request and response are in the form of simple text; anyone who is monitoring the session can read the information that is being transferred. Hence it can be a threat as the information can be tempered by man in the middle. To remove this threat, HTTPS was introduced, which is the secured version of HTTP.

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS Stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, which is the secure version of the HTTP protocol.

It encrypts the data that is retrieved by HTTP protocol and also ensures that data that is being transferred between computers and servers cannot be read by any third person.

HTTPS does this encryption with the help of encryption algorithms.

When HTTP is combined with an encryption protocol such as SSL/TLS, it is known as HTTPS. The use of HTTPS is important to enhance the security of data transfer and mostly in the case of transferring sensitive information such as bank details.

Nowadays, most of the websites use HTTPs protocol because it enhances the trust of users that their data is safe with the websites, and also prefer by the search engines.

Whenever a user goes online, he must have and need some degree of privacy, whether it is ISP, Government or, any other organization. So, even if there is no personal or crucial information is being transmitted, HTTPS is one way to ensure that the user's data remains as private as possible.


Advantages of HTTPS

  • Secure Communication: HTTPS protocol transfers data by establishing a secure connection.
  • Data Integrity: With the help of encryption and authentication, HTTPS provides data integrity between browser and website. Hence if the hackers may get the data, then also they wouldn't be able to read or alter it.
  • Privacy and Security: It provides privacy and security to prevent the websites from being hacked or passively listen to the communication between browser and server.
  • Faster Performance: HTTPS enhances the speed of data transfer by reducing the size of data, hence provides faster performance.
  • SEO: HTTPS is preferred by the search engines as a ranking signal while generating the search results. Hence, website owners can get good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) results by configuring their websites with HTTPS.
  • User Experience: HTTPS provides a good user experience by increasing the trust of users. If a website is not using HTTP, then it is flagged as unsecured, which can make the user stop using that site.

What is SSL?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, which is an encryption-based internet security protocol created by Netscape in the year 1995. It encrypts the data and is used with HTTP protocol. The combination of SSL with HTTP makes the website secure, and HTTP is changed to HTTPS.

This protocol is used to ensure data security over the internet.

It uses public-key encryption for securing the data.

When a client/computer tries to communicate with the website that is using SSL, the browser asks the website to give its identification. To respond to this, the web server sends a copy of its SSL certificate to the computer. After checking this certificate, the encrypted communication between the browser and web server starts. But what is an SSL certificate? Let's understand it:

SSL Certificate

  • SSL certificate is a small text file hosted in a Website's Origin Server and enables a website to convert to HTTPS from HTTP protocol.
  • The certificate contains the public key and identity of the website, along with the related information.
  • A Computer's browser that tries to connect with a web server can reference this file to get the public key and hence verify the identity.
  • An SSL certificate contains the below details:
    • Name of the domain for which the certificate has been issued.
    • Name of the person, organization, or device to which it was provided.
    • a certificate authority that issued it
    • Digital signature of the certificate authority.
    • Associated subdomains
    • Issue date of the certificate
    • The expiration date of the certificate
    • The public key.

The public and private keys used with SSL certificates are the long Strings of characters, and these keys are used for encryption and decryption of the data. Data that is encrypted with the public key can only be decrypted with the associated private key. Moreover, a private key can be used by its owner to sign other digital documents, and this signature can be verified using the public key.


How does SSL/ TLS Work?

Th working of SSL is explained in below points:

  • SSL encrypts the data that is being transmitted over the internet to make it secure. It means, if a hacker gets the data encrypted with SSL, he will only see the mixed characters, which are nearly impossible to decrypt or read.
  • It makes a secure connection by initiating an authentication process between two communication devices over the internet. This process is known as Handshake, which ensures that both are those devices that they are claiming to be.
  • To make the data integrity, it digitally signs the data. With this, it is verified that data has not been tempered before it reaches the true recipient.

Note: You can check whether a site is using an SSL certificate by seeing the URL. If it is showing HTTPS with a domain name, then it is secured with SSL or TLS, else not.

Why SSL/TLS is mandatory?

The SSL/TLS is mandatory if we are transferring some sensitive information such as banking details, user-name & password, or any payment-related information. Below are the cases in which SSL/TLS is mandatory:

  • For authentication
    It should be used for authentication that you are the same as what you are claiming for. Any web server can act as your server and can temper the information transmitted by the users. In such a case, SSL/TLS first gives an identity of your server to establish encrypted communication.
  • To build trust
    For websites such as e-commerce, where a user needs to enter their card details for shopping, they need a trustworthy site. If you don't use SSL, then it will be flagged as Not-secure, and the user will not be able to trust your site. But using SSL/TLS certificate, you can ensure your customers provide complete security.
  • To comply with Company Standard.
    In some industries such as Finance, you need to maintain some basic security. In such industries, there are some Payment Card Industry (PCI) guidelines that one needs to follow to accept credit card information on your website. And for such purposes, the use of an SSL/TLS certificate is mandatory.

How is HTTPS different from SSL?

As from the above discussion about SSL and HTTPS, we can say, HTTPS and SSL are different technologies that are related to each other.

HTTPS is the combination of HTTP and SSL/TSL and is used to encrypt the communication between server and browser.

SSL is a cryptographic protocol that ensures secure and encrypted communication over the internet.

TLS/SSL can be also be utilized to secure other app-specific protocols apart from HTTPS. These protocols are SMTP, FTP, XMPP, and NNTP.

Comparison chart between SSL and HTTPS

It is abbreviated as Secure Sockets Layer. It is abbreviated as Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.
It is the first cryptography protocol. It is the secure version of HTTP, which is a communication protocol between browsers and web servers.
It is used along with HTTP to convert it into HTTP
HTTPS can be said as the combination of HTTP and SSL.
The main aim of SSL is to provide security and encryption in data transmission. The main aim of using HTTPS is to increase the security of data transfer, and it is done with the help of cryptography protocols such as SSL/TLS.
There are three versions of SSL, which are SSL1.0, SSL 2.0, SSL 3.0. There is no other version of HTTPS yet.
Currently, it is considered deprecated and no longer in use. Instead, TLS(Transport Layer Security) protocol is being used widely to provide data security for communication over the internet. Most of the websites are switching to HTTPS rather than HTTP. If a website does not use HTTPS, browsers flag that site as "Not secure," which also affects the user experience.


HTTPS and SSL are fundamentally connected to each other. HTTPS is "HTTP over SSL." When we configure an SSL certificate with the website, it transmits data using HTTPS. Mostly both technologies are used together. (Although instead of SSL, TLS, the successor of SSL, is currently being used).

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