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SSH vs SSL: What’s the Difference?
SSH vs SSL: What’s the Difference?
Rapyd Team avatar
Written by Rapyd Team
Updated over a week ago

Both SSH and SSL are terms frequently encountered in the world of web security and networking. Though they might sound similar, and both pertain to security, their functionalities and use cases differ considerably. This guide will shed light on the distinctions between SSH and SSL, their specific purposes, and how they each play a unique role in the digital realm.

In the vast sea of internet protocols and security measures, SSH and SSL stand out as two critical pillars that ensure secure communications. This article aims to demystify the technicalities behind each term, making it clear for even those unfamiliar with tech jargon, by elucidating the key differences and use cases.

Introduction to SSH

SSH, which stands for Secure Shell, is a cryptographic protocol that ensures secure communication over an unsecured network. Primarily, SSH is used to access shell accounts on remote servers securely. It encrypts data being sent over the network, preventing potential eavesdroppers from intercepting and reading the information.

Introduction to SSL

SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is a security protocol used to encrypt the connection between a web user's browser and the web server. This ensures that all data passed between them remains private and integral. If you've ever visited a website with 'https://' in its URL, you've utilized SSL.

Main Differences Between SSH and SSL

  1. Purpose: While SSH is used mainly for executing commands and managing files on remote servers, SSL is used to encrypt the connection between a web browser and a server.

  2. Usage: SSH is commonly used by system administrators for tasks that require remote access. In contrast, SSL is employed by websites that need to protect data transfer, such as login credentials or payment information.

  3. Port Numbers: By default, SSH operates on port 22, while SSL operates on port 443 when used in conjunction with HTTP (resulting in HTTPS).

Common Uses for SSH and SSL

  • SSH: Remote server management, secure data tunneling, and file transfers using protocols like SFTP.

  • SSL: Protecting data during online transactions, securing login credentials on websites, and ensuring data integrity on web platforms.

The Significance of Both in Today's Digital Landscape

With rising concerns about data breaches and cyber-attacks, both SSH and SSL are indispensable. SSH ensures that administrators can manage servers from afar without compromising security. Simultaneously, SSL plays a pivotal role in reassuring website visitors that their data is kept confidential.


SSH and SSL, though often mixed up due to their similar-sounding acronyms, serve distinct purposes in the realm of online security. One allows for secure remote access and data transfers, while the other encrypts and safeguards web-based communications. Both, however, are vital tools in the ongoing battle against cyber threats and in ensuring a safer online experience for all.

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