What is a VPN protocol?
OpenVPN, L2TP / IPSec, SSTP, IKEv2, and PPTP – you can hear it all the time. But what do these terms mean anyway?
A VPN uses protocols to encrypt and redirect users’ data. No hacker or government has access to your data. With a VPN protocol, you can transfer and encrypt data.
Mostly you have the option to choose between different VPN protocols. However, it is often unclear where the pros and cons are.
Which VPN protocols are there?
In the following article, we show you the five most popular VPN protocols and explained to them for you.
OpenVPN is by far the most popular protocol. Most of the VPN providers have it. It works on all major operating systems and it is extremely secure as it does not allow leaks. It supports the use of the smartphone but works best on the computer. OpenVPN is safe when using PFS (Perfect Forward Secrecy). In contrast to PPTP, it is a rather newer and more modern VPN protocol. OpenVPN uses a mix of SSLv3 and OpenSSL.
With OpenVPN, you can access globally blocked websites and bypass firewalls. It is great for streaming purposes because it makes all IP addresses invisible to online users. OpenVPN is open-source, which means that it is constantly improving based on community criticism.
There are two versions of OpenVPN:
- OpenVPN UDP: “User Datagram Protocol” is a connectionless transport protocol
- OpenBPN TCP: “Transmission Control Protocol” establishes a connection between two points.
Peer-to-peer tunneling is faster than OpenVPN, but we do not recommend using it. It is the oldest protocol. It used to be the most advanced encryption technology, but today you can hack it and easily block it. Nevertheless, it is often offered for essential purposes. Only 128-bit-encryption is used and it can be easily intercepted by the NSA. In principle, it can be said that PPTP is no longer suitable for today’s use. And we would not recommend it.
L2TP / IPSec
The two systems as a whole provide an extremely secure encryption method. L2TP is a combination of PPTP and L2F (Layer 2 Forwarding Protocol) and does not have its encryption, but it is complemented by IPSec 256-bit encryption. It’s not so easy to hack this protocol! Like OpenVPN, it’s not that easy to install, but almost safe and possibly faster. L2PT / IPSec hides the IP address via “Deep packet inspection”, which prevents the VPN from being identified. It is not recommended to use this protocol with NAT firewalls, because it can be blocked more easily. Overall, it is a very popular protocol, which is offered by many VPN providers.
IKEv2 stands for Internet Key Exchange Version 2. It exists for a secure key exchange session and it is a tunneling protocol. It can be connected quickly and easily after connection breaks and is therefore very popular for smartphones. But you should always be careful because the NSA likes to exploit security gaps in the system. The protocol only uses 128-bit encryption, which is not that extremely secure. IKEv2 is fast, stable and easy to set up. BlackBerry users may have no other option than to set up IKEv2 since only this protocol supports the operating system.
The Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol uses 256-bit encryption. It provides secure end-to-end encryption and also uses the same SSLv3 protocol as OpenVPN. OpenVPN is open source and SSTP belongs to Microsoft and therefore can not be commented or influenced by the public. Unfortunately, the protocol is currently very vulnerable to “POODLE attacks”. With SSTP you can bypass some geo-blockades and it works incredibly well on public Wi-Fi hotspots. It can even bypass robust firewalls, but in fact, it’s only good to use on Windows devices. Overall, it is a very secure and stable VPN protocol.
A VPN protocol enables the encryption of IP addresses and it is an integral part of VPN providers. They exist for different purposes and they are all different from each other. Some have advantages and others have disadvantages. Always select the right VPN protocol for your desired benefit to be on the safe side.
There are many VPN providers who offer different VPN protocols to choose
The best ones are for example: