A Guide to the Difference Between SSH and SSL : Understanding the Major Methods

دليل إلى الفرق بين SSH و SSL: فهم الاختلافات الرئيسية

Encryption is an essential part of maintaining a secure online experience.

However, when it comes to WordPress websites, there’s a lot of confusion around certain terms – especially when the abbreviations are so similar.

This is the case with SSH and SSL. Short for Secure Shell and Secure Sockets Layer, respectively, SSH and SSL share many similarities.

For example, they both help establish a secure connection on the web.

However, there are a few differences between the two that are important to understand so that you can make sure that you are using these features correctly.

In this post, we will introduce you to both SSH and SSL, explain what each is and what they are used for.

Then we’ll take a deeper look to discuss some of the key differences between the two. Let’s get started!

Introduction to SSL

As mentioned earlier, SSL is short for Secure Sockets Layer.

It is a security protocol that helps maintain protection between web browsers and servers by encrypting the data that is sent between the two.

As a WordPress user, you may be more or less familiar with the term from having to install an SSL certificate on your site.

SSL is required to enable HTTPS browsing :

It is important to note that although many people still refer to it as SSL, technically this term is the old version of the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol.

In short, both SSL 2.0 and SSL 3.0 are now obsolete and have been upgraded to TLS 1.2 and 1.3. While there are some differences, they basically work the same way and serve the same purpose.

Hence, we will refer to it in this article as SSL. SSL helps encrypt your data in transit, to prevent malicious actors from intercepting it and performing Man-in-the-Middle (MiTM) attacks.

The SSL protocol is implemented on the servers via SSL certificates.

The SSL protocol serves two main purposes: data encryption and authentication.

Data encryption protects sensitive information such as credit card information, passwords, and social security numbers.

At the same time, authentication is used to verify the identity of the server and browser.

Introduction to SSH

SSH stands for Secure Shell. It is an encryption protocol that enables a secure connection to the server.

Its purpose is to help protect your site’s files and data from being compromised when managed over a remote connection.

Basically, it helps protect your server. It is likely that when your website server is accessed, it is done via SSH.

This is instead of, for example, accessing the original server located at the hosting provider’s company.

SSH helps ensure that when you perform tasks such as adding new files for plugins and themes on your WordPress site, hackers will not be able to intercept the data.

However, you may not necessarily need SSH access. For example, one of the reasons many users choose managed WordPress hosting is that they don’t have to handle the technical tasks themselves.

However, if you’re more hands-on, you might want to have that level of control.

If that’s the case, it’s important to choose a host that offers SSH access, as not everyone does :

The process of establishing an encrypted connection takes place through what is known as an SSH tunnel.

To create the tunnel, authentication is required using a combination of public and private encryption keys, or a username and password.

SSH vs SSL : Understanding the Key Differences

Now that we understand a bit more about each of these encryption protocols, let’s take a look at how they differ. Here are three major differences between SSH vs. SSL:

  • They use different ports : SSH runs on port 22. SSL runs on mail 443. Various forms of authentication are used. SSH has a username and password authentication system, while SSL does not.
  • SSL uses digital certificates and public key infrastructure, and authentication only happens on the server side. Meanwhile, SSH uses a three-step process: server verification, session key generation, and client authentication.
  • They are used for different types of encryption : SSH is used to encrypt communications that occur between two computers or a system over the Internet. Enables users to run commands remotely. On the other hand, the SSL protocol is used to encrypt the communication between browsers and servers – or in other words, between websites and visitors.

Of course, there are additional differences that distinguish the two.

However, the above three items are the most important that you need to be aware of. How to get SSH and SSL for your WordPress site

How to get SSH and SSL for your WordPress site

By now, you probably understand the main points regarding SSH vs SSL.

However, you may not be sure how to actually get both for your WordPress site.

Let’s start with SSH. As mentioned earlier, the easiest way to get SSH access is to choose a hosting provider that provides this level of control with their package.

The process for using SSH varies by host.

For example, sometimes you have to request to enable it. Other times, it may be offered as a one-click feature.

If you are a more experienced user or developer, you may also be able to use it with a system like puTTY .

We recommend checking with your web host for further instructions.

They will most likely have specific instructions or documentation that you can refer to.

In the meantime, if you are looking for an SSL certificate for your website, you have two options.

The first is to get the certificate for free using a website like Let’s Encrypt :

Here, you will be able to sign up for an SSL certificate and then install it on your website.

You can also configure your WordPress site with SSL using a plugin like Really Simple SSL .

However, the faster and simpler approach is to ask your hosting provider if they offer it. Most hosts will include a free SSL certificate with their hosting packages.

They may also provide a one-click feature to enable it through your WordPress installation.


When you run a WordPress site, it is essential to ensure that you use secure methods to protect your data.

This includes the use of encryption and authentication protocols so that your communications are protected from malicious elements.

SSH and SSL help you do this, but distinguishing between the two can be difficult.

As we discussed in this article, there are three main differences between SSH vs SSL :

  1. SSL runs on port 443, while SSH runs on port 22.
  2. SSH uses a username/password authentication system, while SSL uses a digital certificate.
  3. SSH encrypts the remote connection between computers, while SSL establishes a secure connection between servers and browsers.

Do you have any questions about the differences between SSL and SSH ?


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