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SSL VPN vs IPsec VPN Comparison

Remote work is becoming a central part of the business landscape in America and beyond. It’s no wonder - employees that can complete tasks wherever they like it, not just in the office, have been proven to show greater productivity, flexibility, and satisfaction with their jobs. And more and more employers are noticing this, leading to them embracing remote work.

Still, remote work has certain requirements to be effective. For one, it implies employees accessing their company’s network wherever they work from. To this end, many organizations and individuals use VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) like VPN Unlimited. How do VPNs do it? Using technologies, such as SSL and IPsec. Wait, what was that we just said? Yeah, these can be somewhat puzzling. Take a look at our SSL vs IPsec comparison and figure it out!

What is SSL

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a cryptographic protocol, meaning that it’s used for encrypting data. SSL is employed at the transport layer so that it provides a protected connection between a device and a server over the internet. 

For instance, SSL can secure the communication between a browser and a web server. This protocol is pretty transparent and requires little to no interaction on the side of the user for establishing a session. Tunneling via SSL uses a client to connect to a backend server. 

Years after its creation, SSL was discontinued in favor of the newer TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocol. So if you ever see an SSL or SSL/TLS abbreviation, it most likely just means TLS. Not that VPN Unlimited users should be concerned about such technicalities or complexities - in our app all the heavy lifting has already been done for you. 

What is IPsec

IPsec stands for Internet Protocol security. It is a standard suite of protocols used by IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force). It is used to create a tunnel between two communication points. IPsec takes part in web packet encryption, decryption, and authentication, protecting communications by applying cryptographic security services.

Essentially, IPsec supports data encryption, protection, and integrity, as well as network-level peer and data origin authentication. For instance, IPSec can be installed in between a Windows host and a firewall to create a remote access VPN; or between two routers to create a site-to-site Virtual Private Network. The SSL/TLS vs IPsec difference is that the latter’s encryption is not based on Secure Socket Layer technology. 

Any SSL vs IPsec comparison is going to be puzzling

It’s easier to just download VPN Unlimited and try out these protocols firsthand!

FAQ about SSL VPN vs IPsec

Which is better IPsec or SSL VPN?

Some experts consider SSL to be better for remote access and IPSec to be preferable for site-to-site VPNs. However, corporate VPNs, such as VPN Unlimited for Teams, have to provide access to a company network as well as secure the connection to the internet. To this end, VPN Unlimited uses both SSL/TSL (in KeepSolid Wise to bypass VPN blocking) and IPsec (as part of the IKEv2 protocol). So just use the one that suits your needs at any given moment.

What is the difference between IPsec and SSL VPN?

Generally speaking, the biggest difference between an SSL VPN and IPsec VPN comes down to how they approach the encryption process, and on which network layers the encryption is performed. Basically, IPsec doesn’t use TLS for encryption. Another difference between SSL vs IPsec is that the latter does not specify encryption of connections by default, while the former defaults to traffic encryption.

Is SSL VPN more secure than IPsec?

In and of itself, SSL is more secure than IPsec once the user is logged into the network. However, you should always look at the specific VPN’s application of these protocols. For instance, in VPN Unlimited IPsec is presented as part of the IKEv2 protocol that has an added level of security, making it both fast and secure. SSL/TLS, on the other hand, is going to shine as part of the KeepSolid Wise protocol, allowing you to bypass VPN blocks.

What is SSL VPN used for?

One of the benefits of using a VPN with SSL is data privacy and security. Since an SSL VPN uses standard technologies and web browsers, it offers users more secure access to enterprise applications remotely. VPN Unlimited uses SSL/TLS in the KeepSolid Wise that allows users to establish VPN connections even in networks that band VPNs.

Which is better TLS or SSL?

Technically speaking, SSL is an outdated predecessor of TLS. Most modern networks and browsers have already discontinued SSL support, as TLS offers better performance and is more secure. So in most cases, if you see something branded as SSL, it actually uses TLS, or at least supports both TLS and SSL. 

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