You have a wide range of options when it comes to choosing a VPN service, as well as various VPN protocols available. This complexity can make selecting a VPN provider challenging, especially considering the differing VPN protocols they offer. Some protocols prioritize speed for streaming, while others prioritize security against threats.
In this guide, we will explore popular VPN protocols like PPTP, OpenVPN, and WireGuard. We will address important questions regarding their purpose and ease of setup. Additionally, we will uncover the fastest and most secure VPN protocols. Our goal is to assist you in narrowing down your options and finding the VPN protocol that suits your needs best.
Basic VPN Protocols and Their Features
What is a PPTP VPN? The Windows platform supports the PPTP protocol as its initial option, but it suffers from weak encryption, making it vulnerable to hacking by specialized entities and skilled wrongdoers. By the way, if you want to learn more about what PPTP is, you can refer to the more complete review here. Despite its drawbacks, PPTP is still utilized due to its notable benefits, including no need for additional software installation and efficient performance, especially on mobile devices where it consumes minimal resources.
While weak key transfer protection remains a primary concern, it doesn’t imply that encryption can be broken easily. PPTP offers ease of setup and usage, good protection, and the ability to change IP addresses. Although not the most secure, it provides better-than-nothing protection. But with speed comparison, it will give some of the best results.
OpenVPN, a cryptographic protocol that prioritizes security, proves its transparency and versatility. Being open source, users can independently verify the absence of security-compromising elements in its protocols, and even make necessary modifications if they possess the technical expertise. With strong encryption and robust security protocols, OpenVPN ensures utmost data safety. It also offers various configuration options, making it compatible and customizable to cater to specific requirements. Moreover, OpenVPN effectively bypasses firewalls, preventing any interference with VPN network access. However, it’s worth mentioning that setting up OpenVPN from scratch can be challenging without the use of a VPN app.
Often used in combination with Internet Protocol Security (IPSec), Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2) establishes a secure tunnel that connects the user to the VPN server, while IPSec provides encryption and authentication. Microsoft and Cisco developed IKEv2 primarily for mobile users to maintain a VPN connection, even when switching networks or transitioning between secured Wi-Fi and mobile data.
- Speed: Among the fastest VPN protocols available, IKEv2 is appealing to users who prioritize speed and streaming.
- Stability: One of the most reliable protocols, IKEv2 ensures a strong VPN connection, even during momentary internet drops, eliminating the need for constant checks.
- Mobile-friendly: With swift reconnection during unstable connections, IKEv2 is ideal for mobile usage where network switches are frequent.
- Limited compatibility: Although some open-source versions exist for other platforms, IKEv2 was primarily designed for Windows users.
- NSA controversy: Concerns about IPSec’s security were raised due to allegations that the NSA exploited flaws in the protocol for spying on encrypted communications.
It is important to know the following about it: it operates at a slower pace compared to others due to double encapsulation (creating an IPsec tunnel and data transmission via L2TP). It utilizes standard ports, which makes it susceptible to easy blocking by Internet providers or system administrators. Operating systems have built-in support for this technology, eliminating the need for additional software installation. When properly configured, there is no indication of data decryption capabilities. We advise against its usage due to its slow speed; therefore, it will not be extensively discussed in this course.
Advice! Try to choose a VPN provider that supports multiple protocols and as many devices as possible. In this case, you can use a free VPN for the browser, freely move to your smartphone and activate the VPN in the application, or configure it on the router and protect your IoT devices. Multiplatform and the ability to select VPN protocols provide flexibility.
WireGuard serves as an open-source VPN protocol similar to OpenVPN, although it distinguishes itself by exhibiting promising performance. However, it remains a work in progress as ongoing development is conducted.
- Speed: WireGuard stands out as one of the fastest VPN protocol options, courtesy of its efficient encryption and high performance.
- Simplified: Users can review WireGuard’s code, similar to OpenVPN, but it offers a more streamlined approach and easier identification of potential weaknesses.
- Security: WireGuard ensures a high level of security.
- Compatibility: WireGuard is compatible with various computing platforms.
- Mobile-friendly: WireGuard’s utilization of lower bandwidth makes it an ideal solution for mobile devices.
- Novelty: Due to its recent emergence, WireGuard would benefit from further testing before users can confidently rely on its security.
- Default Protocol Concerns: The default protocol retains the user’s IP address as static, which poses a potential privacy concern.
You can’t have a “best VPN protocol” as it depends on your specific needs. It all depends on your requests. For example, you give preference to security features or speed. OpenVPN is the most versatile solution, but for streaming services, WireGuard is a better option. Works stably on mobile devices and offers good IKEV2 security. Much depends on the use cases, but you can already compare protocols and choose the ideal VPN protocol for yourself.