SSL VPN Explained: A Beginner's Guide

SSL VPN Explained: A Beginner's Guide
SSL VPN Explained: A Beginner's Guide

When you shop online or access your bank account, you may notice a web page with an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) protocol indicated by "https" in the URL. SSL is frequently used with VPN connectivity to provide excellent security for remote access users and ease of use.

SSL VPN is a useful tool for businesses and consumers who want to protect their data online. The SSL VPN configuration combines the encryption protocol of SSL with the portal functionality of a VPN, making it a mashup of sorts.

By educating themselves about internet security, individuals can achieve a notable level of protection for their data. Thus, we have created this beginner's guide for you to understand all about SSL VPN and its principles. If you are new to VPN and SSL, here is a brief explanation.

Getting to Know the Basics: SSL VPN Full Form

An SSL VPN stands for Secure Sockets Layer Virtual Private Network.

VPN, short for Virtual Private Network, is a technology that allows you to access your computer or mobile to a private network.  This sets up a safe network through which data can be shared while hiding your IP address and enabling anonymous online browsing.

On the other hand, SSL uses encryption to keep private information and data safe by transforming it into an unreadable combination of numbers and letters. Only the authorised recipient can decrypt these messages back into their original, readable format.

Having the right SSL certificate confirms the legitimacy of the website owner's identity.

So What Exactly is an SSL VPN?

An SSL VPN is a secure remote access VPN that utilises either the SSL or TLS protocol in standard web browsers. This technology allows devices with an internet connection to connect to a private network through a web browser while maintaining end-to-end encryption for secure data transmission.

By using SSL VPNs, remote devices can establish a secure connection to a web browser, ensuring that data transmitted between the client software on the endpoint device and the SSL VPN server is encrypted using end-to-end encryption. This ensures that the transmitted data is protected from unauthorised access during transmission over the internet.

Now, if you're aware that SSL is no longer used for secure connections and has been replaced by TLS (Transport Layer Security), you may be curious about whether SSL VPNs still use SSL.

However, there's no need to worry because SSL VPNs don't use outdated SSL protocols. Despite the confusion, SSL VPNs use TLS to establish a secure connection between the user and the SSL VPN gateway, ensuring the connection remains secure.


SSL VPNs can be divided into two main types: VPN portals and VPN tunnels.

The VPN portal type only allows one remote SSL VPN connection to access remote websites at a time. In contrast, an SSL tunnel VPN allows multiple network services to be securely accessed through standard web browsers, as well as other protocols and applications that are not web-based.

Connection through VPN portals is established after the user has been authenticated through an approved method supported by the gateway. The user then accesses a webpage as a gateway to other services.

On the other hand, a circuit through VPN tunnels is established between the remote user and the VPN server, and the server can connect to more than one remote website, network services, or resources at a time on the user's behalf.

it is necessary for the web browser to manage dynamic content to use the SSL tunnel VPN, which cannot be accessed using an SSL portal VPN.

What is the Difference Between IPsec VPN and SSL VPN?

Over several years, VPNs used the Internet Protocol security (IPsec) protocol. SSL and IPSec are both types of Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols that provide secure remote connections, but they have some significant differences.

  • An SSL VPN does not necessarily require external software or hardware, unlike IPsec, which must be installed and configured on the end-user device.
  • The IPsec protocol can be blocked in some public places like hotels and cafes, but SSL tends to be open.
  • The IPsec software needs to be installed and configured on all client systems, while with the SSL VPN portal, the remote user only requires a web browser like Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox.
  • The IPsec VPN client provides access at the IP level to all network resources without much control at the application layer. In contrast, the SSL VPN portal can provide access to specific applications to ensure remote clients are compliant before allowing them access.
  • IPsec can be used for both site-to-site and remote access VPN connectivity, while SSL VPN is mainly used for remote access only.

Also Read: SSL VPN vs Zero Trust


Instead of relying solely on a VPN for network security, you should consider implementing a Zero Trust solution. While SSL VPNs can provide a secure, encrypted connection, they may not be enough to protect against modern cyber threats. Consider adopting Zero Trust by Instasafe Solutions for a more robust and comprehensive approach to network security. As cyber-attacks become more sophisticated, it is more crucial than ever to choose a security solution that provides the highest level of protection for your business.

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