What is the difference Between Encryption and Encoding?

Let us understand what encryption is.


Encryption can scramble the information so that only authorized persons can unscramble the conversation records. Encryption works by encoding the original information or plaintext with the support of sophisticated algorithms that change it to unreadable text or ciphertext.

A decryption key would be required to revert to a readable structure. Encryption is best adapted for unstructured fields or databases that are not transformed regularly or saved in multiple systems. It can be used to protect sensitive information including payment card information (PCI), personally identifiable information (PII), financial account numbers, etc.

Types of Encryption

There are two types of encryption which are as follows −

  • Asymmetric Encryption − There are two numerically related keys, as the public key and private keys are created to encrypt and decrypt the message. Asymmetric encryption is treated as more secure than symmetric encryption.

  • Symmetric Encryption −Symmetric encryption is also defined as conventional or single key Encryption. It is based on a secret key, which both communicating parties share. The sending party encrypts the plain text to cipher text messages using the secret key. The receiving party on receipt of the cipher text message uses a similar secret key to decrypt it to plain text.


Encoding is the phase of changing data (ex. text file) into another format so that it can be properly saved, transmitted, and consumed by multiple devices or systems. Encoding and decoding algorithms are openly available (i.e. there is no secrecy contained). If the encoding scheme is known (or detected) then the encoded information can be simply decoded back to its initial form.

The message is encrypted by utilizing an algorithm in encrypting. However, one ciphertext is created for each plaintext. The scheme used for conversion is not kept secret such as in the case of encryption. It is frequently publically available and therefore, the encoded data can be simply decoded.

Encoding was executed in 1973 by scholar Stuart Hall. Encoding is the process of transforming plaintext data from one form to another. In encoding, it can use sequences of characters including letters, numbers, and other special characters into a specialized structure for simpler transmission.

The goals of developing encoding are data transmission, data storage, and data compression/decompression. ASCII encoding is the broadly used encoding format. Encoding also manages by modifying the form of data. However, unlike encryption, the intention of encoding is not associated with security.