Much has been said about HTTPS and VPN. As both can be considered security tools – even though they function in different ways – the online community has long disputed whether one is better than the other. Sure, they have their resemblances but more importantly, they have differences. To better understand them, it’s important to know what each of them does.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, simply known as HTTPS, provides secure authentication on a specific website and its web server. It is controlled by each website’s owner and its main goal is to provide privacy for the exchanged data while in transit. It helps prevent man-in-the middle attacks and DNS hijacking from potential attackers. With this protocol, the information provided by the end user is encrypted, and therefore, third parties are unable to see it. Initially used by banking and ecommerce, it is now widely profusely used across the internet.
A Virtual Private Network is a service that can be used to protect online data and identity when browsing the web. It is commonly used by those who want to bypass firewall restrictions and any geographic blocks that are preventing them from accessing certain types of content and/or websites. VPNs will switch the user’s real IP address with another on at a different location.
In addition, all information will be encrypted, meaning that for, third parties like ISPs, data such as the websites that were visited or any other kind of accessed content is inaccessible. VPNs can also be used while streaming or torrenting without having to open an internet browser. Therefore, users control the program and are able to select which VPN client they want to use, the location they want to connect to, and even which protocols and encryptions the software will apply.
HTTPS vs VPN
As we mentioned earlier, HTTPS is controlled by the website’s owner. This means that several pages of a given website may not be using the technology and therefore, some information may be exposed to third parties. On the other hand, VPN services are controlled by the people using it, meaning that they can decide and to optimize the software according to their preferences. Additionally, while a VPN will secure the data transfer between the device and the internet and is able to hide the user’s location online, HTTPS will only secure the data that is being transferred between the device and websites. The latter is also unable to circumvent online censorship and geographical restrictions imposed on content.
While HTTPS will encrypt the information you enter into a website, it won’t provide any privacy protection, like a VPN will. However, unlike HTTPS, VPN providers will not protect you from the data you enter willingly, like a credit card number typed into an unsecure browser page.
To summarize it, HTTPS and VPNs are two very distinct tools and theythat don’t actually work in the same way. The first is a great encryption protocol that will provide security online security on websites that use it, while the latter provides privacy and anonymity across the internet with no boundaries. This means that there is no need to choose one over the other. Both have the goal to provide safety online and they can and should be used together.
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