HTTPS or VPN is better? What should I use?

HTTPS vs VPN

HTTPS or VPN is better? This is the question you might have when consider securing your internet web traffic. In this tutorial, we are gonna review both protocols to see what are they and how can they help us to protect our data when suffering website over the public internet.

What is HTTPS?

HTTPS is a secure version of HyperText Transfer Protocol or HTTP for short. The “S” stands for Secure. Unlike HTTP protocol which sends/receives all the payload (data) in plain text, HTTPS protocol provides the encryption to secure your data.

With HTTPS, your web traffic is encrypted and transferred to the web server in a secure way. When a hacker stands between your computer and the web server, although he is able to capture your data, he will not able to read them. All the data is encrypted and only readable by the web server that you are communicating to.

Another advantage of HTTPS is identity. This protocol helps you to verify the website that you are accessing is real. HTTPS requires the website to have a certificate issued by a CA (Certificate Authority) which is trusted by your computer.

A website supports HTTPS

What is a VPN?

Technically, a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a technology that helps you to extend your private network across a public network. It means you can send and receive data between the computers over the internet directly since they are in the same VPN network. VPN also provides encryption for your internet traffic.

Compare to HTTPS, it does not only protect your web traffic but also other types such as email, voice chat, gaming data, etc. However, VPN does not stop at the encryption. Let’s see 2 more features offered by using a VPN:

  • Access blocked websites: When connecting to a VPN, your public IP address will be the VPN server’s one. It can be an IP address from a different country which is not blocked by the website or internet service you are trying to access.
  • Speed up your internet connection: When connecting to a VPN, all your traffic will be sent to the VPN server first, then go to the destination. The VPN server might close to your ISP and have fast internet access. So you will be benefited from that.

HTTPS or VPN – Which protocol should I use?

Each of these protocols is better at different things, and they work great together to keep you secure. If you want safe, private, and unrestricted internet access, you should use both.

  • HTTPS provides both encryption and identity for the website you want to visit while VPN only provides encryption.
  • HTTPS needs to be enabled on both your browser and on the website you visit, while a VPN will always work as long as you keep it on.
  • HTTPS provides end-to-end encryption, while a VPN provides encryption from your device to the VPN server.
  • A VPN secures all online communications coming from your device, while HTTPS only provides encryption between the website and your browser.
  • HTTPS is vulnerable to certain attacks (like root certificate attacks) that a VPN can sometimes help protect it from. HTTPS encryption is also generally weaker than the encryption a VPN provides.

How can I use HTTPS and VPN?

Most modern web browsers support the HTTPS protocol today. You don’t need to configure anything to use it. However, you need to make sure the website you are visiting supports HTTPS protocol so you will be safe.

Not all the public website supports HTTPS protocol, in this case, you will need a VPN to secure your connection. To have a VPN, you can buy it from public VPN provider or set up your own VPN using OpenVPN or Shadowsocks.

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