What Do SSL and SSH Stand For?

Both are involved in secure internet connections

SSL and SSH are both security protocols designed to keep personal information private during data transmission while ensuring secure communication over the internet. Here's a look at what each term means, how they're similar, and how they're different.

TLS (Transport Layer Security) is an updated and more secure version of SSL. The term SSL is still used in reference to security certificates, however, because of its recognizability.

What Is SSL?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It puts mathematical encryption into place to prevent eavesdroppers from reading your texts and private content on a website. It's a standard technology for a secure internet connection, safeguarding any sensitive data sent between two systems.

SSL commonly uses something called port 443 to connect your computer to a secure server on the web. SSL is often used for sending credit card, tax, and banking data, as well as private email and personal information, to a business server somewhere.

If you're on an SSL connection, your web browser will have the address prefix HTTPS in front of the URL instead of the common HTTP prefix.

You're using SSL whenever you purchase a product from Amazon, file taxes online, transfer funds between banking accounts, log into Gmail or Outlook email accounts, send money with PayPal, purchase tickets online, and many more transactions that require security.

Businesses that operate online likely need an SSL certificate to ensure a safer, more secure web environment for their clients.

What Is SSH?

SSH stands for Secure Shell. It refers specifically to encryption for programmers and network administrators. SSH uses port 22 to connect your computer to another computer on the internet. Network administrators will use this technique so they can remotely log in to a server in another location.

If your email administrator needs to reboot the company email server from their home, they'll use SSH. If a network administrator needs to reset your office password while in a different office, they'll use SSH.

Other examples include a database administrator installing updated software so you can extract reports from the company finances, or a web server administrator cycling the company website to publish your new blog post.

Network administrators often use SSH for tasks an average internet user usually never has to deal with.

Similarities Between SSL and SSH

Both SSL and SSH are special encryption and protocol technologies used to connect two computers. SSL and SSH block eavesdroppers by encrypting (ciphering) the connection and scrambling the transmitted data so it's meaningless to anyone outside of the two computers.

Both SSL and SSH are designed to create confidential connections across the internet. With very few exceptions, a hacker won't be able to break into an SSL or SSH connection, but the encryption technology is only as reliable as current programming allows.

When you're trying to transmit financial information or internal business documentation, it's highly advisable to use only an SSL or SSH type of connection.

Both types of protocols aim to create a reliable, secure connection. Without these security protocols, we wouldn't be able to conduct business on the internet the way we've grown accustomed to today.