Which VPN Protocol Should You Use

Which VPN Protocol Should You Use

AES-128 has a stronger key schedule than AES-256, which leads some very eminent experts to argue that AES-128 is actually stronger than AES-256. Even though it old it is compatible with old windows users and for domestic use where sensitive information isn’t shared over the web. Flexible, fast, and secure. This protocol prevents data from being altered between sender and receiver, meaning it can prevent man-in-the-middle attacks. That usually comes in the form of letting you decide which protocol you want to use (T3's #1 favoyrite ExpressVPN gives you the option that include OpenVPN, L2TP and IKEv2) while others have developed their own in-house security protocols. Moreover, it is not available on many VPNs. OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2, and SSTP.

There are also reports suggesting when IPSec was in its design phase, it was deliberately weakened. If it is not necessary to secure your connection, then you can minimize encryption by opting for IKEv2/IPsec or even PPTP. But you can also try SSTP, SSL/TLS, and SoftEther, depending on your possibilities.

This is largely thanks to the fact that the VPN protocol was developed by Windows. One of the oldest VPN protocols, PPTP is fast and supported by all versions of Windows as well as most other desktop and mobile operating systems. It is also less susceptible to blocking by firewalls. Choosing the best VPN protocol is a difficult task, as not everyone uses a VPN for the same reason. Besides finding out how each protocol works, you can also check out a bit of background history and how easy the VPN tool is to configure. Fortunately, it doesn’t take a tech-savvy cyber wizard to understand the differences. The product of lengthy academic research, WireGuard uses Curve25519 for a single round-trip key exchange, Poly1305 to authenticate data, ChaCha20 for encryption, SipHash for hashtable keys, as well as BLAKE2s for hashing.

  • Is VPN a Protocol?
  • Offers high-level stability and consistent connectivity.
  • With this, it is of utmost importance to spend time and spare effort in differentiating one from the other.
  • Many experts recommend that PPTP should be avoided because of having obvious security issues.
  • It automatically resumes working as normal after a temporary interruption of your connection, such as a power outage if you’re on your laptop or entering a real-world tunnel if you’re on your mobile device.
  • Control channel encryption consists of a cipher, handshake encryption, and hash authentication.
  • – known to be easily cracked by the NSA for a long time; Despite Microsoft patching PPTP, they still recommend using other protocols such as SSTP or L2TP/IPSec.

The particularities of each VPN protocol

Nonetheless, OpenVPN remains stable and reliable. It is quick and steady, even on great latency internet connections and terrific distances. Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Apple iOS, Android, and various routers (check the firmware for compatibility). However, it also comes with the Windows 7 operating system. PPTP stands for point-to-point-tunneling. We explain what a VPN protocol is and what it does. 509 certificates, making it easy to configure.

L2TP/IPSec and IKEv2 are fairly simple to set up as well because of the same reason. Currently, OpenVPN still reigns supreme as the best VPN protocol. No matter your operating system or platform, you’re covered. It is similar to SSTP and uses SSL v3/TLS v1 for key exchange and transferring data thereafter.

It’s a popular choice since it’s already installed on most devices and platforms, is easy to setup, it’s efficient, and no additional software is needed. It can be configured to use very secure AES encryption, which is good. Its popularity is fed by its flexibility and the security it offers.

But it tries to overcome this issue by adopting SSL instead of IPsec since, besides site-to-site VPN, SSL adds support for roaming.

OpenVPN in Detail

This will anonymize all queries, eliminates the need for cache, and protects you from intrusive ads while providing advanced website threat detection. Yes, IKEv2 is the fastest protocol on this list. It supports 128-bit AES, 256-bit AES, and 3DES. Network restrictions are usually set at school or college, on campus, and at public institutions. Nowadays, some VPN providers offer the option to enable Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2) as an alternative form of authentication.

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Because it can cause confusion, I’ll also note that the RSA cryptosystem has nothing to do with the disgraced US tech firm RSA Security LLC. And since it has support for MOBIKE, it handles network changes very well. Nord VPN has a custom implementation of IKEv2 over IPSec and uses PFS (Perfect Forward Secrecy) with 3072-bit Diffie-Hellman keys, which is as secure and stable as Open VPN.

For example, office buildings with older infrastructure, who need to internally secure data could use this connection. PPTP also is known as a point-to-point tunneling protocol is the oldest VPN protocol which is intact till today. When we explained what is a VPN, we specified that, depending on which VPN protocol is being used, the program might slow down your Internet connection or lead to connection drops, to name a couple of examples. This way, it is extremely difficult to detect and block your VPN connection. VPNs with SSL provide remote-access connections using a web browser only, without any other programs.

Proprietary tech, so your opinion depends on your overall sentiments towards Microsoft; however, identical open-source versions exist. Alternatively, if you cannot use SoftEther because it has not been implemented into your VPN native client, then you can go with OpenVPN UDP. Yes, L2TP/IPSec has no known major vulnerabilities. This is basically because there is a need to first undergo conversion to L2TP before being encrypted, which makes it slower compared to OpenVPN. A VPN transmits your online traffic through encrypted tunnels to VPN servers that assign your device a new IP address. PPTP works fine for keeping out a rookie, but it does nothing to prevent a government organization or a more experienced entity from gaining access to the information they want. We distinguish 3 different use-cases, which will affect the choice of protocol:

What Is the Least Resource-Intensive VPN Protocol?

The industry standard VPN protocol – transparent, regularly updated, and your best bet for guaranteed security. Can be blocked by firewalls. It functions in the understandable old fashion way with a username, password, and a server address. Some open-source versions are also available for those who prefer to avoid Microsoft’s proprietary version. On a positive note, IKEv2 is widely-considered to be among the fastest and most secure protocols available, making it a popular choice with VPN users. It’s also suitable for devices like the iPad and top rated Smartphones available in the market today. PPTP’s use of GRE means it cannot navigate a network address translation firewall and is one of the easiest VPN protocols to block.


With TCP, packets are sent only after the last packet is confirmed to have arrived, therefore slowing things down. While overlooking this fact, this protocol is all in all considered to be reasonably good. As such, PPTP has long been the standard protocol for corporate VPN networks. The same goes for IPVanish and the result is impressive. (2) is still widely used. TCP is often used for obfuscating VPN traffic to look like regular HTTPS traffic.

With this said, we’ll talk about the five most common VPN protocols, their strengths, and their benefits. It makes sense why people are interested in finding a fast VPN protocol to connect to. L2TP/IPSec is basically an improved version of PPTP, so you can use it when you want to download torrents, access geo-blocked content, and browse the Internet safely, and don’t mind a potential drop in connection speeds. 3DES, AES, RC5, Blowfish. A VPN protocol is a set of instructions to establish a secure and encrypted connection between your device and a VPN server for the transmission of data.

The inquisitive bunch among the millions of VPN users is most likely interested not only in obtaining a VPN but learning more about its ins and outs.

How to switch between Le VPN protocols?

Huge corporations and governments can require additional protection, which is maintained through the usage of long bit-keys. Can be configured and customized to suit any preference. OpenVPN is one of the most popular VPN protocols out there and takes the coveted position of private courier on our list of metaphorical postal options. SSTP is essentially a Microsoft-developed proprietary protocol. Will using L2TP/IPSec slow down the performance on your system? That means it’s platform-agnostic, working well across multiple platforms. It’s also ideal if you’re looking to secure your online traffic and enjoy decent speeds. As part of the IPSec internet security toolbox, IKEv2 uses other IPSec tools to provide comprehensive VPN coverage.

Version 1 of the protocol was introduced in 1998, and version 2 in 2020. Here are some of those common VPN tunneling protocols. Mullvad was an early adopter (it has some interesting WireGuard thoughts here), with VPC. Besides that, OpenVPN requires third-party software since it isn’t natively integrated into operating systems or various platforms, and setting it up can be difficult. Without a doubt, PPTP is one of the least resource-intensive options simply because it offers such inferior encryption which doesn’t eat up a lot of CPU power. As VPN technology has evolved over time, new protocols have emerged while older ones have lost favor.


The best choice due to high level of security and speed performance. It is classified as a proprietary protocol. IKEv2 is a tunneling protocol that is standardized in RFC 7296 and it stands for Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2). Sometimes they are supplied as a part of different tariff plans and more often than not as a constituent of a unique package. This means the traffic sent and received through them is encrypted and authenticated. It uses AES-256 bit encryption, and has no known vulnerabilities (though IPSec has allegedly been compromised by the NSA). 0 encryption standard, which is now an older standard that has several known security issues.

The security you get to enjoy is pretty much on par with the protection you get with OpenVPN. It consists of only 4,000 lines of codes, making it “the leanest” protocol of them all. This protocol has a few convenient features, but certain issues prevent it from being a leading VPN protocol. Currently, OpenVPN is the best VPN protocol available. It supports fast communication and is especially strong at maintaining a session, even if the Internet connection is interrupted. Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) is built in to almost all modern operating systems and VPN-capable devices.

Protocol also depends on users environment.

What Is the Most Secure VPN Protocol?

WireGuard began as a project intended to run on Linux, but it has now expanded to provide support for other operating systems and mobile devices. Easy to configure Good speeds Small codebase (easier to audit and less attack surface) According to developers and some critics it’s an easy to use, fast protocol. A new, currently experimental open-source protocol. After the first security flaws were found in PPTP, Cisco went back to their design process and helped create a strong protocol.

It’s relatively faster than L2TP, SSTP, and PPTP. If you are looking for a reliable VPN to be used in China, please make sure to take a look at our list of the best VPNs for China. First, there are the steps a protocol implements to protect your traffic – encryption strength, ciphers, hash authentication, and more. Blocked by firewalls. Web technologies that depend on real-time interaction, such as online gaming, work better without the interruptions caused by data retransmission. So, additional configuration is needed if this is going to be used behind a firewall. While this isn't encrypted as standard it usually comes bundled with an encryption of 128-bit.

A Quick Overview of the VPN Protocols on Offer

Remember, however, that OpenVPNs requires a third-party. Much of the disadvantage of the L2TP/IPSec is with regards to its speed. Netflix is cracking down on VPNs, but there are a few that still work. Because of this it is often paired with an encryption protocol called IPsec (Internet Protocol Security).

UDP 500 for the initial key exchange and UDP 4500 for NAT traversal. While L2TP can send PPP, to avoid PPP’s inherent weaknesses, L2TP is usually paired with the Internet protocol security (IPSec) suite to handle its encryption and authentication. The IPVanish software uses port 443. Besides, the protocol is compatible with the major OSes and can be used without any additional software installation. PPTP should only be used when you need fast connection speeds and are sure your privacy won’t be in danger (since it has poor encryption). This is done by changing your IP address, encrypting your data, and making sure your data is undetectable. SSTP is fully integrated into Windows, which makes it incredibly easy to set up.

If you want complete protection, consider using a private search engine when browsing the web. We’ve got VPNs for that. The VPN protocol is how your VPN will secure the transferring of data. If you opt for a commercial VPN solution, then you will not have to worry about this, since you just have to pick a protocol from a menu.

Simplest VPN Protocol – Which Is Easiest To Use?

AES-256 is used by the US government for protecting “secure” data. IKEv2 is fast, offers high performance, and highly secure if AES encryption is used. This is the standard protocol that you would see with just about any VPN that you utilize.

Unlike some of the major VPN protocols such as PPTP and SSTP, OpenVPN is not fed by any specific parent operating system. As an old, outdated and bare-bones system, PPTP connections are easier to block via firewall. Still, this is better to use than PPTP. What is L2TP Protocol? Some offer better internet protocol security. With the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) version, data is sent over a stateless channel that does not need to conduct a digital handshake between the message sender and the receiver. Privacy is one of the most important aspects of a person’s life.

This further limits the amount of data that can be intercepted by an adversary, even if a private key is compromised. If you will recall, that lets you piggyback on HTTPS website traffic and evade port-based VPN blocking. However, you might need to install third-party software in order to run those.

Any defense is only as strong as its weakest point, so it is unfortunate that some VPN providers use a much stronger encryption on one channel than the other (usually stronger on the control channel).

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However, PPTP was never proposed as a standard by IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) and its document remained purely informational. Speed wise, L2TP on its own performs very well, because of its lack of encryption. The protocol that your VPN uses determines how it handles your data. It also lacks reliability, and it does not recover quickly in case of a problem. When you sign up with a VPN, you may be presented with numerous VPN protocols from which to choose. It has the same characteristics as OpenVPN, but due to the built-in nature it’s more stable and sturdier against changes. A restriction of Chameleon VPN Protocol is that it does not work with any iOS devices. Now we will take a closer look at various VPN protocols.