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Web Hosting Security – Difference Between SSL, TLS and SSH

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Web Hosting Geek

One of the most important aspects of web hosting security is the protocol that is used to transfer files from the web server to a visitor’s computer. This is especially true for web sites that frequently engage in eCommerce activity. Understanding the various types of web hosting security protocols can help you build discretion when selecting an FTP client or web hosting plan in the future. If you’re interested in learning more about the difference between SSL, TLS and SSH security protocols, then you may find the following information to be quite useful.

SSL Explained

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a commonly used security protocol that provides supreme privacy when transmitting data over the internet. FTP clients and web shots utilise this protocol to ensure the utmost security during sensitive site browsing activities like eCommerce shopping and online banking. SSL protocol uses symmetric cryptography to perform state-of-the-art data encryption. SSL adds extra security by automatically checking the encrypted messages for integrity before delivering them to the recipient. SSL optimizes CPU resources to facilitate expedited communication, and can be used in conjunction with the following security protocols to increase effectiveness.

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TLS Explained

TLS (Transport Layer Security) utilities two main components – TLS Handshake Protocol and TLS Record Protocol. TLS protocol also uses symmetric cryptography, and like SSL checks the messages before the are sent to ensure that they are thoroughly encrypted. TLS differs from SLL because the encrypted massage can only be delivered to a third-party user after two authorized users have received the data. This adds an extra layer of security to the encryption, when used in combination with SSL, this method of encryption provides the highest level of security available to the public.

SSH Explained

SSH (Secure Shell) provides encrypted channels through which encrypted data can travel. Thus, SSH acts more as a medium for the aforementioned encryption methods than as an actual encrypting mechanism, hence the term “shell.” SSH is commonly used to send commands to a computer from a remote location. Although SSH is not the strongest encryption method, it is viable method of secure communication, and is frequently used in the web hosting industry as a standalone security precaution with some applications. Standard FTP services do not utilize Ssh technology, however SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol) does utilize this technology along with the other two aforementioned security protocols.

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Although all three of these security protocols could be used by themselves with success, most web hosting providers now utilize all three of them simultaneously in one form or another. If you’re serious about keeping your web site data safe form intruders and hackers then you’ll need to pay close attention to the technology used by your web hosting provider, especially if you’re the owner of an eCommerce business. Make sure all of your checkout pages are encrypted and have an SSL certificate. The easiest way to check if a web page is secured is to look at the first letters of the web address. If the web address begins with “HTTPS” then it is secured, however if the web page begins with “HTTP” it is not secured. Never conduct eCommerce on an unsecured web page.


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