Ground Report | New Delhi: What is HTTPS and what is VPN; HTTPS is a fantastic way to keep people’s data secure, even if they have no idea that it’s working away in the background. However, despite its usefulness, there are still some cases where using a VPN alongside HTTPS is the best choice.
As such, let’s explore why you need both a VPN and HTTPS combined.
What is HTTPS and what is VPN
HTTPS is great, but not every website uses it. To get an HTTPS connection, a webmaster needs to apply for a certificate and implement it onto their website. Some websites don’t need HTTPS, as they don’t handle sensitive information; as such, the webmaster will sometimes just stick with the unencrypted HTTP.
Using a VPN gives you more protection than just using HTTP. This is because when your computer sends data to a VPN, it does so through a secure tunnel that is safe from prying eyes. This gives your usually-unencrypted HTTP traffic safe passage as it travels through the tunnel.
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For example, if you’re on public Wi-Fi and you turn on your VPN, anyone snooping on the network’s router can’t see what you’re sending. And your ISP will be left in the dark as to what you’re doing.
However, this protection doesn’t last the whole trip to the website. This is because the tunnel only sits between you and your VPN server. When your data leaves your VPN’s servers, it’ll lose the added protection, allowing people to peek at the traffic once again.
However, if you don’t send any identifiable information over the HTTP connection, people spying on the connection can’t tie the data to you. If they try to trace it back, their trail will go cold at the VPN’s servers.
A VPN Covers All of Your Connections
While HTTPS is great, it only works if you’re connecting to an HTTPS-enabled website through a browser. When you connect to the internet using any other app, such as a game or a messaging service, these may not use encryption.
That’s not to say that other apps use no encryption at all. For example, WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption to keep your messages safe. However, if you’re unsure if an app uses encryption for its communications, you can use a VPN to protect the data until it arrives at the VPN’s servers, much like HTTP traffic.
4. A VPN Hides Your IP Address
When you connect to a website, your browser gives it your IP address. This is because the website needs to know where to send its data to. It’s like sending a letter to someone; you need to give them your address so they know where to send their reply.
Even if you’re using HTTPS, your computer still has to give the website your current IP address. This is so the website you’re visiting knows where to send its data to. This isn’t ideal if you want to keep your location a secret, but a VPN can fix this.
When you use a VPN, you pass all the traffic you want to send through its servers. The VPN service then passes the traffic onto the website you want to connect to. This is like sending a letter to a middleman, who sends it on to your recipient. They handle all incoming and outgoing mail without revealing where you live.
As such, when you use a VPN, websites can’t tell who you are or where you’re from. If they try, they’ll see the VPN’s IP address and location, but not yours. As such, if you’re careful about the data you send, a snooper can’t tie the data you’re sending to you. And if you’re using a VPN that doesn’t keep logs, people can’t trace the VPN connection back to you.