SSH vs VPN – What’s The Difference?

Going online has several risks, ranging from identity theft to theft of cash and other items. Some privacy is important as you surf the Internet. You have a choice of two technologies- VPN and SSH to help enhance some protection and privacy. These two technologies are not competing, but work in different ways to ensure safety. Here is a look at each of the technologies.


SSH is an acronym for Secure Shell. A shell is a form of software that enables you to communicate with the operating system. The communications are done via the use of a command line. You do not need to install the shell on your device. You can access the shell from another computer by logging into your shell account. After logging in, you can then access your emails, stored personal files, news and much more.

While a typical web browser uses HTTP to communicate with web pages on the internet, the shell account makes use public key encryption to bring about a higher layer of security when browsing. SSH provides better security than protocols such as Telnet and FTP. It comes in two different versions, SSH-2 and SSH-1.

Benefits of Using SSH

Technical Nature of Command Lines

SSH focuses more on command lines. This makes it hard for non-technical users to grasp or tap into the information. It also allows you to pull up the graphical interface of the target computer.

The technology also offers you chance to interact with the remote computer without incurring extra overheads. You can access the file contents in the target computer right way. You can also set up a file syncing solution if you know the scripts. Files are also accessible via your computer’s browser.


IT managers may make use of SSH to manage their servers remotely. Mobile application developers may test software on mobile devices by using the same protocol. You can also manage a digital library such as a music library remotely using SSH.


You could imitate the VPN by creating an SSH tunnel. For example, you could tunnel all your passwords through a secure home network when you are not at home. Tunnelling also allows you to access blocked servers by the network or region.


A VPN is a short name for a virtual private network. The most common VPN are the physical VPNs such as the local area network (LAN). Large organisations implement a Wide Area Network, covering multiple areas at the same time.

However, there comes a time when laying a physical cable to set up a private physical network is no longer feasible. Where the offices are hundreds or thousands of miles apart, the costs and difficulties involved make a physical network impossible.

In such a case, it is better to use resources on the Internet to create a private network. Thus, companies establish a VPN (virtual private network), which replicates the features of a private physical network.

By the use of a VPN, it is possible for company employees to access the wide or local area network even when they are working remotely. The VPN encrypts traffic from the remote computer to the company’s network thereby, keeping the information away from possible hackers.

A VPN’s security features are also used by common Internet users who seek to cover their identity while browsing online. They buy or use free VPNs to mask the IP address of the computer along with other information that can be used to determine their identity and location.


Local Network Experience

You get the experience of a local network. This means you can be communicating with fellow employees and exchanging files as if you are sitting in the next cubicle. This does not work with SSH.


You do not require command terminals to communicate with other websites. This makes it easy for people to set up and use a VPN without lots of technical knowledge. This simplicity helps reduce the usage barrier.

Enhanced Privacy

A VPN’s tunnel can also be used successfully to connect with other websites on the Internet especially where you are using an open, public Wi-Fi. It adds a layer of privacy and security to your connection, which prevents personal information from leaking out to other parties.

Which of these Technologies is better than the other?

The main difference between both technologies is that the SSH connects to a particular computer while a VPN connects to a network. Each of them provides an additional layer of security when browsing online.

If you are looking for a solution for your business, a VPN provides better security and privacy solution of the two. For increased privacy when browsing on public Wi-Fi, you can use both the SSH and VPN to access the Internet.

Each of the technologies offers adequate security and privacy to users in different ways. The applications that require added security dictate the technology that you will pick between the two. As for the VPN, the choice of the provider determines how secure the connection is.

Jack Foster

Author Bio: Jack Foster has over ten years of experience in the IT and cybersecurity sector. He is currently the chief content writer for VPNGeeks.

Jack Foster is a guest author, all opinions are his own.

The post SSH vs VPN – What’s The Difference? appeared first on CCSI.

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from CCSI authored by Jess Olivieri. Read the original post at: