VPNs and SSH tunnels are similar in that they both use an encrypted connection to securely route communications. They do, however, have distinctions. To choose which one to employ, it is necessary to understand how they both operate.
How a VPN operates
A VPN, or virtual private network, allows the connection of private and public networks. Businesses often use VPNs to exchange files across networks and to allow workers access to corporate resources while on the road. VPNs provide a secure connection and therefore protect the privacy of your data. This implies that resources are not shared across public networks. When workers connect to their company’s VPN servers, they seem to be members of the private network of the firm, giving them access to files and data.
How the SSH tunnel works
SSH tunnels, or secure shell tunnels, are another kind of tunnel that uses strong encryption to transmit network data. SSH tunnels operate similarly to VPN-encrypted internet browsing, with traffic seeming to originate from the SSH server. SSH tunnels, on the other hand, have several restrictions, which is why they are often referred to as a “poor man’s VPN”. For instance, SSH tunnels are more complex and difficult to set up than VPNs. SSH tunnels provide anonymity by acting as SOCKS proxy servers, which may be used to set up apps to utilize them. SSH tunneling works by having traffic enter the SOCKS proxy on a local system and then being sent through the encrypted SSH connection.
For the majority of people, a VPN is the best choice.
SSH tunnels do not provide all of the advantages associated with VPNs. To utilize an SSH tunnel proxy, for example, you must set up each program to use the proxy, which is not only inconvenient but also dangerous. Additionally, there is no guarantee that all traffic will be routed via the SSH tunnel. Additionally, it is considerably more difficult to exchange network files through an SSH tunnel than it is via a VPN.