Authentication and security for the transporting of data are the common factors between these two technologies. There are differences between SSL vs TLS. Let see what each of them has in store for you.

What is SSL?

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a standard for encrypting data that is exchanged between users’ devices (browsers) and websites. SSL also proves identity for users to feel safer. SSL became a convenient security layer, especially for websites requiring sensitive data from users.

To transfer information without securing it have the risks of interception, theft, or manipulation. 

SSL works via two different keys, a public key and a private one. Both are vital for encoding and decoding the information exchanged between two systems.

Whenever a user connects to a website with an SSL certificate, there’s an exchange of public keys to encrypt the messages they send to each other. When the server receives a message, it decrypts it through its private key. Its answer to the user is encrypted with this private key, and a mirrored process takes place on the user’s side.

SSL is used on remote login, e-mail, websites, etc.

What is TLS?

Transport Layer Security (TLS) is a cryptographic technology to keep private the data communicated on the Internet. It encrypts messaging, e-mail, voice-over IP, file transfers, etc. It’s an evolved version of SSL. 

TLS can authenticate the server or the client, supply confidentiality to the communication channel, and guarantee integrity.

A TLS connection starts with a handshake between the user’s device and a server. This handshake involves different processes. The identity of the server is authenticated. The TLS version and the specific cipher suite they will use to communicate are defined. And session keys to encrypt messages they will exchange are created. There won’t be an exchange of data until the handshake is completed.

SSL vs TLS. Which one to choose?

As you see, both technologies work similarly. TLS repaired vulnerabilities found on SSL and improved its functionality for authenticating and securing communication.

  • TLS supplies more detailed and reactive alerts when problems occur.
  • SSL authentication of messages through keys offers a good level of security. But TLS goes to a higher level, using key-HMAC (Hashing for Message Authentication Code) to protect information not to be modified while it is in transit. HMAC works through a secret cryptographic key and a cryptographic hash function. The shared secret replaces the use of digital signatures.
  • For creating key data with the HMAC, TLS uses two hash algorithms to increase security. Even if an algorithm gets compromised, information will be safe.
  • While authenticating, SSL sends a message to every node saying that the integrity of the exchanged information is untouched. Meaning it was not modified. TLS does the same, but it includes HMAC and PRF (pseudorandom function family) values in that message to strengthen its method of authentication. 
  • Data integrity is stronger guaranteed by TLS because it also defines the kind of certificate to be exchanged by nodes. This avoids loss of data while getting transferred to their destination.
  • SSL and TLS provide reliability for your website. Both supply the visible security marks for your customers to realize they are in a secured site. The HTTPS and the padlock on the address bar.
  • Many people call indistinctly SSL or TLS this technology. Some providers also think clients can be confused with the change. They sell you the TLS, saying it’s the SSL you asked for. But they are not the same. All SSL versions are already outdated. Many websites still use it (one of its versions), but they should be aware of the risks of its vulnerabilities to mitigate them.

To put it bluntly, TLS is already the official successor of the SSL certificate. 


Now the choice is clear, TLS for protecting the integrity of all the communication you exchange with your clients online. Internet is not a safe place anymore. Protection is a must!