Differences between Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS)

Computer EngineeringComputer NetworkMCA

Both SSL and TLS are security protocols that are widely used to provide security over the web between web browsers and web servers. Read through this article to find out more about SSL and TLS and how they are different from each other.

What is Secure Socket Layer (SSL)?

SSL is a standard technique for transmitting documents securely across a network. SSL technology, created by Netscape, establishes a secure connection between a Web server and a browser, ensuring private and secure data transmission. SSL communicates using the Transport Control Protocol (TCP).

The term "socket" in SSL refers to the method of sending data via a network between a client and a server. When using SSL for secure Internet transactions, a Web server needs an SSL certificate to establish a secure SSL connection. SSL encrypts network connection segments atop the transport layer, a network connection component above the program layer.

SSL is based on an asymmetric cryptographic process in which a Web browser generates both a public and a private (secret) key. A certificate signing request is a data file that contains the public key. Only the recipient receives the private key.

The goals of SSL are as follows −

  • Data integrity − Information is safe from tampering. The SSL Record Protocol, the SSL Handshake Protocol, the SSL Change CipherSpec Protocol, and the SSL Alert Protocol help maintain data privacy.

  • Client-server authentication − The SSL protocol authenticates the client and server using standard cryptographic procedures.

SSL is the forerunner of Transport Layer Security (TLS), a cryptographic technology for secure data transfer over the Internet.

SSL encrypts the transmitted data to guarantee a high level of privacy. If hackers intercept this data, they will get to see a jumbled mess of characters nearly hard to decrypt.

SSL uses a handshake method to authenticate the transmitter and the receiver. SSL also digitally certifies data to ensure data integrity, ensuring that it has not been tampered with before reaching its intended receiver.

SSL has gone through multiple versions, each one more secure than the last. Transport Layer Security (TLS) was introduced in 1999, which replaced SSL.

What is Transport Layer Security (TLS)?

TLS is a technology for securing the communication between client and server applications communicating over the Internet. It ensures the privacy, integrity, and security of data sent across the Internet between multiple nodes. TLS has superseded the secure socket layer (SSL) protocol.

Secure Web browsing, application access, data transfer, and most Internet-based communication are all made possible by TLS. It protects the data that is transmitted from being intercepted. TLS protects Web browsers, Web servers, VPNs, database servers, and other devices.

There are two tiers of sub-protocols in the TLS protocol −

  • TLS Handshake Protocol − Allows the client and server to verify their identities and choose an encryption scheme before transferring data.

  • TLS Record Protocol − It makes the connections safe and stable. It's based on the industry-standard TCP protocol. It also supports encryption and data encapsulation.

Difference between SSL and TLS

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

Full Form
SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer
TLS stands for Transport Layer Security.
Master Secret Code
SSL uses Message Digest to create a master secret code.
TLS uses a pseudo-random function to create a master secret code.
SSL uses Message Authentication Code protocol.
TLS uses Hashed Message Authentication Code protocol.
SSL is complex than TLS.
TLS is a straightforward protocol and it is simple to implement.
SSL is faster than TLS because it does not perform a thorough authentication.
Due to the two-step communication process, which includes handshaking and data transfer, TLS is a little slower than SSL.


From the above discussion, we can conclude that SSL is a faster but less secure protocol than TLS, as it does not perform a thorough authentication.

Updated on 22-Aug-2022 14:28:03