Know The Difference Between SSL and TLS Certificates

If you don’t know much about cybersecurity, you probably don’t know the difference between SSL and TLS. Apart from this, you will find many jargons that are used in digital security. For a newcomer, it can be difficult to understand every term and how they work. However, it becomes easier once you get familiar with the concepts. 


If you have come across the term SSL, there is a fair chance that you may have heard about TLS too. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layers, whereas TLS stands for Transport Layer Security. Both of them are security protocols that verify the data flow between systems, servers, users, and applications. 


Although they are used for the same purpose, they are different. The basic difference is TLS is an up-gradation of SSL. Now, dive deep into the two terms and explore the key differences. Before that, let’s know why you need an SSL or TLS certificate in the first place.

Purpose of SSL or TLS certificate

Cybersecurity has become one of the primary concerns in the digital world. As every organization has some critical data and information, they need to be protected. Hackers try to access the data from the data servers, systems, and applications. They can cause harm to the organization by accessing the data without any authority. 


So, a secure data transfer is required from both sides. An SSL or TLS certificate acts as a barrier to unauthorized access. They encrypt data by issuing a private key that is required for accessing the data. 


SSL has also become one of the essential ranking factors in the web search engines, especially Google. Websites that have SSL certificates rank better and offer a better experience to users without any security concerns. Now, let’s start with SSL.

SSL: What is it, and how it works?

In 1994, Netscape created SSL (Secure Sockets Layers). It was considered as a layer that secures data transfer between client and server. Later, the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) standardized SSL as a security protocol. 

The first version of SSL (i.e., SSL v1.0) was not released due to some flaws. The second version was released in 1995, but there were some design flaws. As a result, Netscape developed SSL v3.0, but it was also considered insecure due to the POODLE attack. Next, let’s understand what TLS is. 

What is TLS?

TLS refers to Transport Layer Security, which was an up-gradation of SSL v3.0 and released in 1999. There are four versions of TLS, such as TLS 1.0, TLS 1.1, TLS 1.2, TLS 1.3. The first version of TLS was released in 1999, which was an up-gradation to SSL v3.0. 


In 2006, TLS 1.1 was an update of the first version of TLS. It was helpful in protecting against the CBC attacks. Google, Mac, and Apple deprecated both of the versions of TLS for security reasons in 2020.


The TLS 1.2 version was released in 2008. It allows a more secure authentication process to the client and server. In 2018, TLS version 1.3 was released that resolved the problems of the earlier versions.

Difference Between SSL and TLS certificates

The differences between TLS and SSL are minor, and a person with technical ability can only identify them. Here are some notable differences between SSL and TLS: 

  • Cipher Suites
  • Alert Messages
  • Message Authentication
  • Record Protocol
  • Handshake Process

These are the key points where TLS differs from SSL. You need some technical knowledge to understand these terms. 

Final Thoughts

If you are not sure whether to use SSL or TLS, both of them perform the same task. They help users, servers, organizations, and applications for secure data transfer. It’s better to use a TLS certificate as it’s an update of the SSL. Using a certificate lifestyle automation service can help you automatically renew and maintain these certificates. However, SSL certificates are widely available on the internet. Hopefully, the above information has helped you to understand the difference between TLS and SSL certificates. 

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