Comparing SSL vs TLS – what are the main differences?

SSL vs TLS - what ara the differences

When discussing the topic of ensuring the safety of data transmissions over the internet, two protocols, specifically SSL and TLS, come to mind as potential solutions. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security) are two examples of cryptographic protocols, the major goal of which is to protect the privacy of communications that are sent over the internet. Both of these acronyms stand for “secure sockets layer.” There are considerable differences between them in terms of the level of security they give, the way in which they deal with certificates, and the encryption methods that they utilize, despite the fact that they both use encryption to secure data. In this article, we will compare and contrast S.S.L. and T.L.S., concentrating not only on the unique characteristics of each but also on the ways in which they are similar to one another and can be shared.

Overview of SSL and TLS

SSL was created by Netscape in the mid-1990s to provide secure communication between web servers and web browsers. It was widely used until it was replaced by TLS in 1999. T.L.S., which is an updated version of S.S.L., was designed to fix the vulnerabilities and weaknesses of S.S.L. TLS uses stronger encryption algorithms and is considered more secure than S.S.L.

A secure connection can be established between a web server and a web browser by utilizing both the SSL protocol and the TLS protocol. They protect data transmissions by utilizing both symmetric and asymmetric encryption in tandem with one another. Both Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, and Transport Layer Security, or TLS, create a secure connection between a client and a server by utilizing a digital certificate that is issued by a certificate authority (CA) that is trusted by both parties. The data that is being transmitted can then be encrypted using the server’s public key, which is contained within the certificate. The client does a verification of the certificate to check that the server is legitimate.

SSL and TLS make use of symmetric and asymmetric encryption to assure the safety of data transmissions. This is accomplished by encrypting data in two different ways. The process of encrypting the data makes use of both symmetric and asymmetric encryption methods simultaneously. The data is encrypted using symmetric encryption, while the key that is necessary for symmetric encryption is exchanged using asymmetric encryption. Since S.S.L. and T.L.S. make use of asymmetric encryption in addition to symmetric encryption, this gives them an advantage over other protocols in terms of data protection.

SSL and TLS Handshake Process

The handshake process is the first step in establishing a secure connection between the client and the server. During the handshake process, the client and the server exchange information to agree on the encryption algorithms to be used, the session keys, and other parameters necessary for the secure connection.

The SSL handshake process has four steps:

  1. The client initiates communication with the server by sending a “hello” message, in which it reveals both the SSL version and the encryption techniques that it supports..
  2. The server sends a hello message back to the client, specifying the SSL version and the encryption algorithms it supports. The server also sends its digital certificate to the client.
  3. The client does a validation check on the certificate and then communicates with the server to request confirmation of the certificate.
  4. The client and the server exchange session keys and agree on the encryption algorithms to be used for the session.

The handshake procedure for TLS is quite comparable to the handshake process for SSL; however, the T.L.S. handshake process includes extra phases that offer increased protection. There are three primary stages to the TLS handshake process:

  1. The client initiates communication with the server by sending a hello message, in which it reveals the TLS version and encryption techniques that it supports.
  2. The server will respond with a hello message to the client, during which it will specify the TLS version as well as the encryption techniques that it supports. Additionally, the server will send the client a copy of its own digital certificate.
  3. The client verifies the certificate, sends a message to the server to confirm the certificate, and then generates a random session key. The client encrypts the session key using the server’s public key and sends it to the server. The server decrypts the session key using its private key and sends a message to the client to confirm that the session key has been received.

SSL vs. TLS – Differences


TLS is regarded as a more secure protocol than SSL due to the fact that it employs more robust encryption algorithms and possesses extra security features in addition to Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS). PFS ensures that even in the event that the server’s private key is stolen, the session keys cannot be decrypted, and the confidentiality of any sessions that have taken place in the past is preserved. Because SSL does not have PFS, it is susceptible to attacks that make use of lost or stolen private keys because it does not have PFS.

Certificate Handling

SSL and TLS both make use of digital certificates in order to verify the legitimacy of the server. However, SSL and TLS approach the management of certificates in significantly different ways. S.S.L. only makes use of X.509 certificates, which are issued by a third-party CA that can be relied upon. T.L.S., on the other hand, is capable of employing a wider variety of certificates, including Extended Validation (EV) certificates and Domain Validation (DV) certificates, among others. EV certificates offer the maximum level of validation possible and are utilized on high-security websites. On the other hand, domain validation certificates (DV) are utilized on websites with a low level of security.

Encryption Algorithms

SSL and TLS safeguard data communications in various ways by utilizing distinct encryption techniques. SSL makes use of RC4, which is no longer deemed secure, in addition to AES, which is still widely used despite having documented flaws in its design. On the other hand, Transport Layer Security (TLS) makes use of Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) in addition to other, more robust encryption algorithms such as ChaCha20 and Poly1305. These algorithms are regarded to be more secure and provide improved defenses against many types of attacks.

Protocol Versions

SSL has several versions, including SSL 2.0, SSL 3.0, and TLS 1.0. SSL 2.0 and SSL 3.0 are no longer considered secure and should not be used. TLS has several versions, including TLS 1.0, TLS 1.1, TLS 1.2, and TLS 1.3. TLS 1.3 is the latest version and is considered the most secure.

Pros and Cons of SSL and TLS


  • is widely supported and can be used on older systems that do not support TLS.
  • can be faster than T.L.S. because it uses less computationally intensive encryption algorithms.
  •  is easier to implement than TLS.


  • is less secure than TLS because it uses weaker encryption algorithms and does not have PFS.
  • is vulnerable to attacks that exploit stolen or compromised private keys.
  • is no longer supported by modern web browsers and should not be used.

TLS Pros / ConsPros:


  • is more secure than S.S.L. because it uses stronger encryption algorithms and has additional security features.
  • supports PFS, which ensures that even if the private key of the server is compromised, the session keys cannot be decrypted, and previous sessions remain secure.
  • is the recommended protocol for securing data transmissions on the internet.


  • can be slower than S.S.L. because it uses more computationally intensive encryption algorithms.
  • can be more complex to implement than SSL.
  • may not be supported on older systems that do not have the necessary software or hardware.

Finally, SSL and TLS are both cryptographic protocols designed to provide secure internet communication. While S.S.L. is an older protocol, T.L.S. is the preferred protocol for securing internet data transmissions. TLS is more secure than SSL because it employs stronger encryption methods and includes extra security features such as PFS. S.S.L. should be avoided since it is no longer supported by newer web browsers and is vulnerable to attacks that take use of stolen or compromised private keys. T.L.S. is the standard protocol for protecting internet data transactions and should be used whenever possible.

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