Difference between IPSec and SSL

ComputersInternetSafe & Security

IPSec is a suite of protocols that provides security services during communications between networks. It supports network-level peer authentication, data origin authentication, data integrity, data encryption and decryption. It is often used to create a VPN.

SSL is a networking protocol that provides a secure connection between a client and a server over the internet. It works at the transport layer. It is often used to secure the communication between a web browser and a web server.

Read through this article to find out more about IPSec and SSL and how they are different from each other.

What is IP Security (IPSec)?

IPSec is a set of protocols developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) that enables data authentication, integrity, and secrecy between two communication points over an IP network. It also specifies how packets are encrypted, decrypted, and authenticated. It specifies the protocols for safe key exchange and key management.

IPSec protects communications over Internet Protocol (IP) networks by utilizing cryptographic security services. Peer authentication at the network level, data origin authentication, data integrity, data confidentiality (encryption), and replay protection are all supported. For example, IPSec may be used to build a site-to-site VPN between two routers and a remote access VPN between a firewall and a Windows host.

IPSec includes protocols for establishing mutual authentication with agents at the start of a session and negotiating cryptographic keys to use during the session.

IPSec can secure data transfers between two hosts (host-to-host), two security gateways (network-to-network), or a security gateway and a host (network-to-host).

The original IPv4 suite included only a few security features. IPsec is a layer-3 OSI model end-to-end security system that is part of the IPv4 upgrade. Unlike some other widely used Internet security systems, such as Transport Layer Security (TLS), which works above the Transport Layer, and Secure Shell (SSH), which operates at the Application Layer, IPsec can automatically secure applications at the IP layer.

What is Secure Socket Layer (SSL)?

SSL is a standard protocol for creating an encrypted connection between a client and a server. It guarantees that all data transferred between the client and the server is encrypted, preventing third-parties from intercepting the traffic and obtaining sensitive data.

SSL is a networking protocol that provides a secure connection between the client and the server across the Internet at the transport layer. To create a secure connection with the browser, web servers require an SSL certificate, which is acquired by a CA (Certification Authority) after a thorough inspection. On the server side, a set of public and private keys is also kept.

SSL is a transparent protocol that creates a secure session with minimum input from the end-user. SSL Tunneling entails a client using a proxy server to establish an SSL connection to a backend service or secure server. SSL, for example, is used to secure communication between a web browser and a web server.

SSL however is not 100% secure. It does not prevent forged input from being sent to the server. If the application utilizes SSL, other users on the network will be unable to see or alter the attacker's data while it is in transit because the attacker has access to everything on the other side of the SSL connection. If any of the assaults that can exploit any unpatched weakness on the server-side succeeds, then it can do

significant damage to the entire firm. The "Wanna-cry" virus, for example, targeted Europe's healthcare systems because they were using Windows XP, which had an unpatched security weakness that was exploited.

Difference between IPSec and SSL

The following table highlights the important differences between IPSec and SSL.

ConceptIPSec stands for Internet Protocol Security. It is a set of protocols that ensures the security of the Internet Protocol.SSL is a security protocol for securely transmitting data over the Internet.
LayerIPSec works at the Internet Layer of the OSI model.SSL operates between the OSI model's Transport and Application layers.
ConfigurationIPSec is complex to configure.SSL is simple to configure.
UsageIPSec is used to secure Virtual Private Networks (VPN).SSL is used to provide secure web-based communications and online transactions.
InstallationInstallation is vendor neutral.Vendor-specific changes to the operating system are necessary for the execution of the nonspecific installation process.
Changes in OSChanges required to OS during implementation.No changes required to OS during implementation.
Changes to ApplicationNo changes required to Application during implementation.Changes are required to Application during implementation.
LocationIPSec is present in OS space.SSL is present in User space.


IPSec is a secure network protocol suite that authenticates and encrypts data packets to allow secure encrypted communication between two computers over an IP network. SSL, on the other hand, is a networking protocol that provides a secure connection between the client and the server across the Internet at the transport layer.

Updated on 29-Jun-2022 11:51:12