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Difference between SSH and SSL

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1. Secure Shell (SSH) : 
It is a cryptographic network protocol used to access the network devices and servers over the internet. SSH protocol was developed by SSH Communications Security Ltd. SSH allows us to log in securely into another computer over a network, to execute commands in a remote machine, and to transfer files from one machine to another through the network. 


  • Secure: SSH is designed to provide secure communications between two systems, which makes it an ideal protocol for remote access and file transfer.
  • Authentication: SSH provides strong authentication mechanisms that make it difficult for unauthorized access to occur.
  • Flexible: SSH is a flexible protocol that can be used for a variety of purposes, including remote login, file transfer, and tunneling.
  • Support for public-key cryptography: SSH supports public-key cryptography, which allows for more secure authentication and encryption.


  • Complexity: SSH can be complex to configure and use, especially for non-technical users.
  • Performance impact: SSH can have a performance impact, especially when transferring large amounts of data or when multiple users are accessing the same system simultaneously.
  • Limited application support: SSH is not supported by all applications, which can make it difficult to use in some situations.

2. Secure Socket Layer (SSL) : 
It is a networking protocol which gives secure transmission in a non-secure network. SSL requires a certificate and works on the Public Key Encryption. SSL is implemented in various operations of networked environment such as web browsing, messaging, emails and other protocols like FTP


  • Widely used: SSL is a widely used protocol that is supported by most web browsers and applications.
  • Easy to use: SSL is relatively easy to use and does not require much configuration.
  • Strong encryption: SSL provides strong encryption that is difficult to break, which makes it an ideal protocol for secure web communications.


  • Vulnerable to attacks: SSL can be vulnerable to certain types of attacks, including man-in-the-middle attacks and SSL stripping attacks.
  • Limited application support: SSL is not supported by all applications, which can make it difficult to use in some situations.
  • Expensive: SSL certificates can be expensive, which can be a barrier to entry for some users or organizations.

Similarities between SSH and SSL:

  • Encryption: Both SSH and SSL use encryption to secure communications. They use different encryption algorithms, but the goal is the same – to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data.
  • Authentication: Both protocols provide authentication mechanisms to ensure that only authorized users or devices are allowed to access the network or server. SSH supports a variety of authentication methods, including passwords, public key authentication, and two-factor authentication. SSL uses digital certificates to authenticate web servers to client browsers.
  • Security: Both protocols are designed to provide a high level of security. They both use encryption and authentication mechanisms to protect against eavesdropping, tampering, and other security threats.
  • Use of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI): Both protocols make use of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to establish secure communications. PKI is a system of digital certificates, Certificate Authorities (CAs), and other security mechanisms that are used to verify the authenticity of digital certificates and ensure secure communication.
  • Flexibility: Both protocols are flexible and can be used for a variety of purposes beyond their primary use cases. For example, SSH can be used for secure file transfers and remote administration, while SSL can be used for secure email communication and other non-web-based applications.

difference between SSH and SSL :

1.SSH stands for Secure Shell.SSL stands for secure socket layer.
2.It is cryptographic tunneling protocol and has a username/password authentication system.It does not have a username/password authentication system like SSH.
3.It works on the port number 22.It works on the port number 443.
4.It completely depends on the network tunneling.It is asynchronous as it depends on the certificates.
5.It works on three-stage process for server and client authentication processes.While SSL usually works on X.509 digital certificates for server and client authentication.
6.It encrypts the communication between two computers over the internet.It encrypts the communication between browser and server.
7.It is appropriate and effective for securely executing commands across the internet.It is best suited for securely transferring critical data like in credit cards and banking.
8.It provides data confidentiality by using symmetric key algorithms.It adopts a combination of both symmetric and asymmetric encryption algorithms to provide data privacy.
9.SSH is basically a cryptographic network protocol.SSL is basically is a security protocol.
10.SSH protects against DNS spoofing, data manipulation, IP source routing, data sniffing during transmission etc.SSL protect against identity theft and man-in-the-middle (MiTM) attacks.


SSH and SSL are two different protocols used for different purposes. SSH is primarily used for secure remote access to servers and devices, while SSL is primarily used for securing web-based communications. They use different encryption algorithms, run on different port numbers, and provide different levels of authentication and implementation. Understanding the differences between these two protocols can help you choose the right one for your specific needs.

Last Updated : 18 Mar, 2023
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