HTTPS vs. VPN – which is the better option from the two tools? Many people have asked us this question time and time again. The truth is, it shouldn’t really be a matter of choice as both technologies are important for online protection.
As such, you should use them together when possible during your browsing sessions. There are some areas where HTTPS will let you down though, making VPN use at all times essential. Here, we’re going to highlight what a VPN and HTTPS is as well as what distinguishes one from the other.
So, let’s get started:
|Encrypts data between your browser and websites.
|Encrypts and routes all internet traffic, including from apps.
|Protects against eavesdropping on web transactions, like logins.
|Protects the entire internet connection.
|Activated automatically with “https://”.
|Requires manual activation, typically through an app.
|Doesn’t hide or change your IP address.
|Can change or hide your IP address for anonymity and geo-spoofing.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, is utilized by browsers for communicating with web servers. It’s the latest and more secure version of HTTP, which employs TLS (Transport Layer Security) encryption to safeguard data shared between you and websites.
It also authenticates both parties to prevent the possibility of Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks. When you visit an HTTPS site, your Internet service provider (ISP) or anyone snooping on your traffic will only see that have connected to a certain website, and not which pages you visited.
That’s why it’s important to confirm if the website you use for, let’s suppose, online shopping employs HTTPS – your credit card information can get stolen if it doesn’t, after all! The easiest way to know if a site uses HTTPS is to see if the URL begins with “https” and a green padlock displayed beside it.
HTTP vs. HTTPS Difference
An SSL/TLS certificate is the main difference between HTTP and HTTPS. So, HTTPS is essentially HTTP but with additional security. This means communications over HTTP is unprotected and allow cybercriminals, ISPs, and other entities to not only see what website you’re on, but also what you do there. HTTPS, on the other hand, keeps you and your data a lot safer through encryption.
What is a VPN?
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a used to establish an encrypted connection – also referred to as tunnel – between your device and unsecure network like the Internet. Since all your traffic goes through the VPN’s server rather than that of your ISP, nobody can find out what you’re up to online.
From ISPs and government agencies to advertisers and corporations, all they’ll be to see is that you’re connected to a VPN. Your real IP address is also masked with another one, making it nearly impossible for your online activities to be traced back to you.
The ability to appear as if you’re from a different country also enables you to enjoy complete Internet freedom. By switching between VPN servers, you can alter your IP address and access content and websites unavailable in your region.
Is free VPN safe?
You’ll find many free VPN services available on the market, but the vast majority of them aren’t safe to use. They log your data and sell it to third-parties for profit, show annoying ads, offer weak or no encryption, and leak your true IP addresses, to name a few. For these reasons and more, it’s best to steer clear from free VPNs unless you’re sure about their trustworthiness.
Differences & Similarities between HTTPS and VPN
Now that you better understand HTTPS and VPNs, let’s take a look at what makes them similar and what sets them apart:
- A VPN encrypts all the communications from your device, while HTTPS only secures the connection between you and the website.
- HTTPS has to be enabled on both the website you visit and your browser, whereas a VPN gives you complete control over your security.
- A VPN conceals your actual identity and helps you get around regional limitations and censorship, unlike HTTPS.
- HTTPS encryption is generally weaker as opposed to the powerful military-grade encryption provided by a VPN.
- Neither HTTPS nor VPNs will keep your device safe from malware or scams – these are best avoided by exercising caution!
Why is VPN Necessary?
Both VPNs and HTTPS are two different things, but their objective is the same: to make your online experience more secure. Therefore, VPN vs. HTTPS makes no sense as they’re not direct substitutes for each other.
While you could just use a VPN and avoid visiting HTTP websites altogether, it’s a safer bet to stick to HTTPS-protected sites and use a VPN as well. Besides, this will considerably reduce the risk of your data getting compromised.
Then, one must also consider the fact that HTTPS doesn’t help with accessing the Internet without any limitations – it can’t be used to conceal your identity with an anonymous IP address. In this scenario, a VPN is your best friend.
PureVPN – The Most Reliable VPN
- The fastest growing VPN network of more than 6500 servers and over 300,000 IPs in 88+ countries worldwide.
- Easy-to-use VPN apps for all major desktop and mobile platforms, including Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and Linux.
- A suite of features like Split Tunneling, DNS Leak Protection, Internet Kill Switch, and WebRTC Leak Protection.
- Excellent support for Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and 50+ other streaming websites.
- No caps on bandwidth so that you have the freedom to stream, download, and browse as much as you want.
- 10 simultaneous logins for your household – why buy multiple VPN accounts when you can secure all your devices with just one?
Why Do You Need VPN + HTTPS?
Using a VPN in conjunction with HTTPS is a great idea, and here are some reasons why:
- To Improve Data Security: While HTTPS ensures that the data between your browser and the website is encrypted, a VPN adds an additional layer by encrypting your entire internet connection. This dual encryption provides robust protection against eavesdropping and cyberattacks like man-in-the-middle.
- To Enhance Online Anonymity: HTTPS doesn’t hide your IP address or browsing activities from your ISP or other entities. By combining it with a VPN, you mask your IP address and make your online actions virtually untraceable, safeguarding your online privacy.
- To Dodge Geo-restrictions: VPNs allow you to change your virtual location, helping you access content that might be blocked or restricted in your country. HTTPS does not offer such capabilities – it merely encrypts the data transfers between your browser and websites.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is better: HTTPS or VPN?
As mentioned earlier, HTTPS and VPN serve different purposes. HTTPS encrypts data between your browser and websites, ensuring data integrity and confidentiality. VPN encrypts your entire internet connection, hiding your IP and protecting data in transit. Both are valuable, but for different reasons.
Is HTTPS safe over VPN?
Yes, HTTPS is safe over VPN. Using both together provides dual encryption: VPN encrypts your entire internet connection, while HTTPS ensures a secure connection between your browser and the website. This combo offers enhanced security.
Do I need HTTPS if I use VPN?
Yes, you should still use HTTPS even if you’re on a VPN. While VPN encrypts your entire internet connection, HTTPS specifically secures data between your browser and websites. It’s beneficial to have both layers of encryption for comprehensive protection.
Is HTTPS the most secure?
HTTPS is a robust security protocol for web browsing, ensuring data integrity and confidentiality between browsers and websites. However, it’s one part of a broader security framework. For total online security and privacy, combining HTTPS with other tools like VPNs is advised.
Wrapping Things Up
To sum things up, HTTPS is a great first step when it comes to making sure your data isn’t snooped on by unauthorized parties, and a VPN is necessary for those who value security and want to enjoy the borderless Internet. It’s not about whether HTTPS or VPN is the ideal choice – the two work well together as if the match was made in cyber heaven itself!