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HTTPS vs VPN: Why You Need a VPN If HTTPS Is Secure

HTTPS vs VPN; they are two different things but both serve the purpose of your Internet protection. In fact, both should be used together when surfing the web as they cannot be substituted for one another.

 

HTTPS

HTTPS also stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. You can tell when a website is HTTPS by the padlock next to the URL bar. HTTPS provides secure authentication of the website and its associated web server in order to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks.

Every website you surf on will begin with HTTP, but not all will have HTTPS. Select websites or webpages like your email, online banking, or ecommerce sites usually have HTTPS, especially on a Check-Out page where you need to enter personal information like your name, address and credit card information. The S will only appear to signify it is secure on this portion of the website which is encrypted.

This is done through something called SSL (Secure Socket Layer) which is a certificate the website provides. The website owner purchases it and puts it into their program to shield your raw plaintext data so that your sensitive information will be encrypted.

 

VPN

Source: Tech Hive

A Virtual Private Network is a service you can use to protect your online data and identity when you browse on the web. A VPN is technically made up of a group of computers (or discrete networks). With a VPN, all your raw data on the internet such as your personal data, voice or videos will be channelled through an encrypted and secure virtual tunnel between your device (computer, smartphone, tablet, etc.) and a VPN provider’s servers around the world.

 

HTTPS FEATURES

  • HTTPS only secures the data transfer between your device/router and accessed website or server, as HTTPS is only webpage provided or website specific.
  • Users like you and I have no control over HTTPS, it is set by the website owner if they choose to purchase the SSL certificate.
  • Bigger websites like Google or your banks may use HTTPS on everything, but not all websites (especially smaller ones) are willing to pay for the certificate.
  • Navigating away from a HTTPS webpage will mean leaving your browsing unprotected.
  • Does not disguise your location and identity (IP address).
  • Does not offer any defence against Internet censorship.

 

VPN FEATURES

  • A VPN secures the data transfer between your device and the whole Internet, as opposed to HTTPS which is only website provided.
  • Your raw data stream enters the secure encrypted tunnel which is typically corporate to military grade level of encryption (anywhere between 256 bits to 2048 bits).
  • Even if you visit a site which does not have HTTPS encryption, you are still safe no matter where you surf because all your traffic is encrypted on the VPN.
  • When you are subscribed to a VPN provider, you have direct control over your Internet security, unlike with HTTPS which is website controlled.
  • VPNs will help hide your geolocation and identity online by hiding your real IP address. Being connected to a VPN server spoofs your true IP address with a VPN-assigned IP address.
  • Grants freedom on the whole Internet by bypassing online censorship, firewall restrictions and geo-blocks.

 

HTTPS & VPN COMBINED

Both HTTPS and VPNs work together to protect your Internet online. They go together like peanut butter and jelly to complement each other. Again, they are not direct substitutes for one another, but help you to keep yourself protected when surfing.

Relying on the encryption of HTTPS alone is not enough if you value your Internet security. It still leaves much vulnerabilities open. Hence, it is advisable to always use a VPN connection if you are surfing on HTTP or HTTPS websites for a more complete surfing experience.

 

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