We at Snap Search, honestly believe in openness, communication, and self-education. Since our motto is – We make the Internet a Safer Place, we decided to publish a series of educational posts.
In this post, we will explain widely used terms and answer What is HTTPS and VPN, as well as try to explain in simpler words how they are different from one another. It is essential to understand them in this internet age and know where to use what.
What is HTTPS?
This is a paragraph from Wikipedia:
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is an extension of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). It is used for secure communication over a computer network, and is widely used on the Internet. In HTTPS, the communication protocol is encrypted using Transport Layer Security (TLS) or, formerly, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). The protocol is therefore also referred to as HTTP over TLS, or HTTP over SSL.
But hey, we promised to explain in layman’s terms, right? To do that, we have to go back in time. From the research labs in the US Department of Defence to current days, the Internet shaped how we communicate and even how we entertain and do shopping. But things were not always as smooth and shiny as we have today.
In the early years of the Internet, there were a handful of web browsers like Netscape, Mosaic. These browsers as well as website served website through HTTP protocol, which is insecure way of transmitting data between user and the website. There were many security issues, hacking, theft of credit cards, etc. Since hackers could easily “listen” to the traffic between user and the web server. As Internet evolved, there were many e-commerce web sites where you could buy and sell products, basically a new way of trading through Internet.
This meant that, Internet needed to be secure. So those engineers came up with a new protocol on top of existing HTTP protocol. The way it works that web sites exchange some private keys (some secret words) and using those details they encrypt any data between user and website. That way, even if some evil hacker “listened” to your traffic – all they will get is a garbage combination of characters.
What is VPN?
Again, here’s some explanation from Wikipedia:
A virtual private network (VPN) extends a private network across a public network and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network. The benefits of a VPN include increases in functionality, security, and management of the private network. It provides access to resources inaccessible on the public network and is typically used for telecommuting workers. Encryption is common, although not an inherent part of a VPN connection.
Again, let me translate it for you. When you go online, every device will have its IP address, which is similar to your home address, just that usually, every time you re-connect to the Internet – you will get a new IP address.
Some websites, even governments, restrict usage of the Internet, based on these IP addresses. A perfect example is China, and Google, Facebook, Twitter, and websites like that are restricted and cannot be accessed within China.
Some internet services, for example, Netflix, Amazon services, etc. also restricted based on your IP addresses. Even Google searches differ from where you access them. Even more, if you happen to buy airplane tickets, they also do fluctuate depending on your IP.
Apart from those restrictions, all the data transmissions are encrypted between the user and the VPN server you are connected to. Even those old insecure HTTP protocols are now encrypted. This means that you are pretty much safe to do your online shopping with confidence.
If you are reading, by now, you should have a clear picture of what is what.
Snap Search is a privacy and security app, and we strongly suggest not to use websites where you don’t see that lock sign at the address bar of the browser. That is NO HTTPS.
If you happen to have a VPN service, use that wherever possible. It will not only secure your data but also hide your presence from others. Or, instead, if you use us, you’ll get that service inbuilt – no need to hunt for an additional app.
Snap Search app will help you securely surf the web and access restricted services and websites. Hurry, go and download the app from Google Playstore and start a free 7-day trial!