Do you know the difference between IPsec VPNs and SSL VPNs? If not, that’s not too bad, because we summarize all the differences between the two encryption protocols. So be on the safe side before you choose a VPN client, because both protocols have their advantages and disadvantages.
IPsec VPN versus SSL VPN! When choosing the right VPN client you should not only pay attention to the price, the connection speed and the design of the app. The security protocols IPsec and SSL are important functions which are about the security of your connection.
Encryption also affects the speed and functions of your VPN. Encrypted connections are usually slower, why should you use SSL and IPsec at all?
IPsec VPN vs. SSL VPN: Why do I need a security protocol?
If two computers connect via the Internet, third parties may be able to view this connection and extract private information or transfer harmful files to the computers. Imagine it as if you were calling your friend your phone number in a station concourse.
For this reason, e-mail programs, web browsers and other clients encrypt the connection between two computers using security protocols. To do this, they mix all transferred data so that they can only be read again with a certain security key. The other side needs this key in order to be able to process the data sensibly.
Since security keys are very complex, it is difficult to guess or calculate them. Since only the sender and receiver have the key, the connection is secure. Encryption succeeds via various protocols and works automatically with all VPN clients. A rough distinction is made between the protocols SSL and IPSec. Let’s take a closer look at both possibilities.
VPN clients and apps
VPN clients and apps allow you to connect to VPN servers. Most of these applications are bound to a specific service – to which the connection is then established with just a few clicks.
IPsec VPN vs. SSL VPN: This is what the IPsec protocol offers.
The name IPsec stands for Internet Protocol security and is strictly speaking a collective term. All IPsec VPNs include the protocols L2TP, IKEv2, and SSTP. All these protocols have in common the method by which they encrypt the connection.
As the term IPsec VPN already implies, these protocols encrypt and decrypt the so-called IP packets. Since these are one of the cornerstones of communication over the Internet, the encryption of IPsec VPNs also starts at this basic level. This results in the following advantages and disadvantages:
Advantages of IPsec VPN
Since the IP packets are the cornerstone for many other applications on the Internet, almost all connections can be encrypted using the IPsec protocol. This is independent of the program you are using, so you can still use your favorite software. Programs do not have to support the connection via IPsec VPNs.
All in all, it is very easy with IPsec VPN providers to route and secure all traffic over a VPN connection. But this circumstance is a curse and a blessing at the same time. This means that it is not possible to control exactly what is transmitted via the connection without any further aids.
Disadvantages of IPsec VPN
When using IPsec encryption, it is not possible to encrypt or decrypt only certain data packets. If you give a third party access via IPsec, he can in principle decrypt all further information from your network. These accesses do not necessarily have to be wilful.
Cyber criminals are also aware of the disadvantages of IPsec VPN connections and use global access to develop viruses, Trojans and other malware. You therefore have to restrict these accesses with additional software. This puts a strain on both your memory and your CPU usage. IPsec is also known for not being compatible with all software.
Another method to encrypt VPN connections is the standard SSL. This also has advantages and disadvantages, which you can read in the following lines. IPSec VPN vs. SSL VPN: This is what the SSL protocol offers.
The acronym SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and describes another method to encrypt VPN connections. The encryption protocol is also known as Transport Layer Security (TLS). If you have ever had to set up an e-mail account manually, you have certainly read these terms before. Because many e-mail providers use TLS for the connection to the mail server.
Even with browsers, SSL is more common, as you can see from the small lock symbol next to the url. Instead of the unencrypted HTTP protocol, the more secure variant HTTPS is used here. In this case the S stands for SSL. If you see “https” in the browser, you control the server of the website via a secure SSL connection. If you see “https” in the browser, you control the server of the website via a secure SSL connection.
If the server operator wants to receive an SSL certificate, he must first provide detailed information about the domain name, name of the operator, name of the company, address, place of residence and more. The operator then receives a public SSL key, which it can deposit on its website or in the server’s information.
If a client wishes to establish an SSL connection to the server, the server and client must first reveal their identity. This is the first protection barrier of an SSL connection. If the identity check is successful, the two parties exchange information to encrypt the data to be transmitted. This procedure has the following advantages and disadvantages:
Advantages of SSL
SSL is integrated as standard in all common Internet browsers. Therefore you don’t have to install any additional programs to connect to an SSL server. Since SSL works in the connection between client and server, you can only secure this connection.
If you establish a secure connection to a certain server in a program, the remaining data traffic of your computer is not included. This is more secure and has a positive effect on the speed of your internet connection.
Disadvantages of SSL
While all other connections are not affected by the active SSL encryption, the SSL connection itself is slower. This is because the server and client must always communicate with each other and confirm their identity before transferring files. This process is often referred to as “handshake” between the client and server.
In addition, the data is encrypted at the beginning of the transmission and decrypted by the client. This slows down communication again and requires more processor power from both systems. However, the faster the processors in smartphones, computers and tablet PCs become, the less significant this disadvantage becomes.
IPsec VPN vs. SSL VPN: Conclusion
With the IPsec and SSL encryption types, you should also consider your future purpose when selecting a VPN service. If you choose a free VPN service, you are welcome to try both methods. If you want to secure all your Internet traffic, you should rather establish an IPsec connection. This slows down the speed less and is generally regarded as more compatible, since the encryption starts at the IP packets.
- IPsec Compatibility Low Precision
- Speed Rather uncertain
- SSL Widely used Rather slow
- Precisely controllable “handshake” with every new connection
SSL connections are particularly suitable for securing only certain data streams. If you’re looking for a VPN for Netflix, you can only route the data for streaming over the VPN connection and leave the retrieval of mails, browsing and more unencrypted. However, SSL-encrypted connections are generally considered slower.
Do you now know about the differences between IPsec and SSL? Perfect, then you are a big step ahead on the way to the right VPN! We show you on the next page which is the best VPN provider and show you in many other instructions and articles, how you move anonymously through the Internet.