HTTPS vs VPN – Do You Need VPN If You’re Using HTTPS?
If you’re a part of the digital landscape, then the terms HTTPS and VPN might be familiar. Since the internet is lurking with cybercriminals looking to get their hands on your data, you must stay on alert and ensure your data is safe.
Now that many businesses are operating remotely, the need for security is more prevalent than ever. VPNs and HTTPS are vital elements that ensure your data is safe and secure. They both serve the same purpose of protecting your data and privacy.
In this in-depth guide, we’ll look at the uses of HTTPS and VPNs, what makes them different, and how they’re used to help you achieve your security needs.
Some may argue that various security measures are in place, and the internet isn’t as scary as it once was. They even say there’s no need for VPNs because people are now more aware of security threats. However, that’s not the case.
Before we go into how HTTPS work, here are some interesting stats that you should know:
- 95% of the websites on Google use HTTPS.
- There are more than 46 million websites that are using SSL in 2021.
- 56% of companies encrypted their online traffic in 2020.
- People spend 93.2% of their browsing time on Google Chrome pages that use HTTPS.
- 35.4% of unencrypted traffic to Google comes from mobiles.
HTTPS establishes a connection between the browser and the server. It uses an encryption protocol known as Transport Layer Security (TLS) to protect the data shared between a user and the websites they use.
HTTP and HTTPS work the same way. The browser and server still communicate over the HTTP protocol. However, a layer of TLS gets added on top of it. HTTPS is the same as HTTPS but with SSL (Secure Socket Layer). TLS is the new version of SSL. SSL ensures that the data sent between two systems remains safe and secure. It handles the encryption and decryption of data.
HTTPS also carries out an authentication process to confirm identity on both sides. HTTPS uses asymmetric encryption by relying on two keys, which are Public keys and Private keys. These keys protect the data shared between your computer and the websites you access.
HTTPS protects personal data from being publicized for everyone when accessing a website. HTTPS encrypts traffic, so even if cybercriminals can trace it, they wouldn’t be able to read it.
It’s necessary to confirm that your website is protected with HTTPS, especially if you share confidential data such as credit card details, log into different accounts, or send emails.
There are two easy ways to see if a website uses HTTPS. The URL begins with “https,” and a padlock icon is before the URL link. It would be best to use HTTPS protocols if you know that personal information gets collected from you.
As we mentioned earlier, the main goal of HTTPS is to create a secure connection between a browser and a website via encryption. An outside party cannot read or change whatever gets transmitted.
The thing to be cautious of is that only some websites use HTTPS, so all of your online activities, in that case, can be traced. You could therefore be subject to cyberattacks from malware to DNS leaks.
Another thing to take into consideration is the fact that HTTPS only encrypts your website traffic. So anything else that you’re doing online requires its encryption. This data includes your location, your IP address, the websites you’re visiting, and which device you’re using. So while HTTPS does offer good security, it’s not the complete package.
- One of the main benefits that HTTPS provides is its data encryption. Data that travels through HTTPS is always encrypted, keeping your data safe and secure. Even if cybercriminals get their hands on your data, there’s nothing they can decipher since it is encrypted. HTTPS makes “man-in-the-middle” attacks challenging to carry out.
- HTTPS websites have certificates that confirm to the user that the website is safe. If the credentials aren’t available, the website will notify you that it’s an unsafe connection. The certificate ensures that its policies match that of the website’s policies as well. Users can rest easy knowing that their data is in safe hands. SSL certificates build the rapport of a good relationship with your clients. The padlock icon that appears before the URL builds trust in the user as they can see that you don’t take security measures lightly.
- HTTPS also provides data protection. User data isn’t saved or stored in a client’s system, so there’s less likely for your confidential data to get stolen.
- An HTTPS connection is a crucial component affecting a website’s ranking on the Google search engine. A website with an HTTPS certificate will rank higher than one without one. So HTTPS aids in your SEO efforts, and that helps attract potential clients to your website.
- If you want to have an HTTPS connection, you will have to buy an SSL certificate. Hosting providers issue SSL certificates, but they get renewed yearly, which requires an annual fee. There are ways you can get around to calling an SSL certificate, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when your security is on the line.
- In SSL connections, everything gets encrypted. Any caching that takes place when data is encrypted and decrypted data gets blocked if the data is encrypted. Some of the content in HTTPS will have an issue with caching. Public caching those that occurred earlier cannot happen again. ISPs will not be able to cache the encrypted content as a result.
- The considerable work it takes in encrypting and decrypting data and computations affects the website’s speed performance, making it slower.
Not all websites have HTTPS connections, leaving them vulnerable to security threats and cyberattacks. VPNs can help you counter these issues. HTTPS only encrypts browser traffic, so there’s no guarantee that all of your data will remain safe.
However, VPNs encrypt all of the traffic coming in and out of your device. Let’s review some of the key benefits of using VPNs.
- VPNs safeguard your online privacy. Anyone can trace your online activities if you aren’t careful. A VPN keeps your data safe and anonymous. You can surf without worrying about compromised security with your IP address hidden. Data encryption makes sure that no one can see what you’re doing.
- With a VPN, you can gain access to geo-restricted content. Many streaming sites like Hulu, HBO Max, and Disney+ aren’t available in certain countries, but with a VPN, you can access all of them. The reason is that your IP address is hidden and masked and shows it as a different location.
- Some countries like China, for example, have heavy censorship and firewalls, to the point that they even block social media sites. A VPN is an effective way to gain access to censored content. They have advanced security features like DNS leak protection, a kill switch, and a smart mode to make things easier.
- While using a VPN, data encryption can slow down your internet speed. However, when you have premium VPN features, that won’t be too much of an issue.
- Just because you’re using a VPN doesn’t automatically make it secure. Free VPN services can end up doing more harm than good. Since you’re not paying a fee, these VPN providers can fund themselves through other sources, such as advertisements, but they also come with a price – your data is collected and sent to third parties. This method is how many companies can provide you with personalized ads.
- Both HTTPS and VPNs encrypt your data. However, VPNs encrypt more of it than HTTPS does. HTTPS only encrypts data that gets sent between the browser and the server. VPNs encrypt every single piece of data, with the only condition being to keep your VPN connection on.
- VPNs offer more advanced encryption methods to safeguard your data. They provide adequate security, using excellent VPN protocols like OpenWeb and Wireguard.
- VPNs go beyond just providing data encryption; they hide your IP address and give you access to websites blocked in your region. HTTPS does not offer anything other than encrypting browser traffic.
- HTTPS has weaker encryption as compared to VPNs. As mentioned earlier, they only encrypt the browser traffic and can still be more vulnerable to cyberattacks. However, the connection can protect you from MITM attacks, DNS leaks, and phishing scams.
- You must enable the HTTPS connection on your website, whereas the user must manually set up a VPN connection.
No matter how much we try to reassure ourselves, risks will always be associated with sharing your data online. Having multiple security measures is best for implementing the best security practices. Using all the tools at your disposal ensures that your data is protected and away from prying eyes.
HTTPS may be good enough for you if you only want to browse the internet at home over a secure network. The second situation is you aren’t entering confidential information while using a site you don’t trust.
VPNs, on the other hand, are better if situations arise where you’re working remotely and need to access the business systems securely; you want to have secure access to cloud systems and a hidden IP address that masks your whereabouts and location as you’re surfing the web.
Should there even be a battle between the two? Both of them play their parts in protecting your online privacy. They would better serve your security needs by using both of them together. HTTPS encrypts your data, but there’s still a risk of sensitive information being sent between the browser and the server to reach cybercriminals. VPNs add an extra layer of encryption, as everything is encrypted once your VPN connection is on. They both go hand in hand to give you the desired results.
If your main goal is to protect your data, then HTTPS is safe enough. Confidential data like passwords and banking details are not visible when the data is sent between your device and server. People can view your DNS queries, or when you’re online banking, see what bank you use, but nothing about the account itself.
A VPN contains all of your data and traffic inside a VPN tunnel. All of your data is secure inside an encrypted VPN tunnel. No one can trace sensitive and confidential information about you. If you want the internet to be a safe space, why not have the best of both worlds?