Virtual Private Networks work by sending data through a secure tunnel from your devices to your VPN’s servers and to the servers you’re trying to reach. This data transfer is made possible by VPN protocols or the rules that dictate the route your data takes. Best VPN’s will let you choose which protocol to use while some don’t.
In this article, you’ll discover the different VPN encryption types and best VPN protocol for you in terms of security, stability and efficiency when transferring your data from point A to point B.
Learn which VPN protocol is best
Your VPN recognizes protocols as instructions as to how it will deliver your data through a secure connection or what type of tunnel will be used. Different types of VPN are architected for certain specific purposes and use protocols that are most suitable for the specific task.
Despite having the same function, protocols differ when it comes to encryption strength, efficiency, security and stability. Each of them have their own pros and cons. Check out the comparison table below to know the different types of VPN protocol and which suits your needs best.
Read on and get to know each protocol better to help you decide which one’s best for you.
IKEv2/IPSec hybrid protocol
The IKEv2/IPsec is popular among mobile VPN users. What sets it apart from other protocols is its lack of encryption. It only performs authentication and the secure transfer of data through different types of VPN tunnel.
Being a single port protocol, IKEv2/IPsec isn’t as effective as other protocols in bypassing firewalls or admin blocks. This protocol can’t penetrate through strict censorship in some countries like China.
The good thing about the IKEv2/IPSec protocol is its stability. Changing from Wi-Fi to LAN won’t disrupt your connection to your VPN. This makes it perfect for working while traveling.
It is also known for its speed besides stable connection. However, it can easily be blocked because it only uses a single port.
L2TP/IPSec hybrid protocol
If security is your concern, the Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol can be a great choice paired with IPSec.
It’s an extremely secure protocol that offers a double encapsulation feature which basically means that your data is protected with two security features. It uses control messages for the maintenance, establishment, and the termination of tunnels and calls along with information messages to encapsulate point-to-point protocol frames directed in the tunnel.
The downside of using an L2TP/IPsec hybrid protocol is its slow speeds. It is also prone to eavesdropping since it uses a pre-shared key that can be exploited by hackers to perform man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks.
During an MITM attack, hackers can grab authentication credentials, go into your network, and gain access to your data without being detected.
The best use for L2TP is for personal and everyday online activities such as shopping online or browsing your favorite site.
It is also worth noting that L2TP is often easily blocked by firewalls and its security measures can potentially be cracked and infiltrated by the NSA.
Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP)
PPTP today is an obsolete protocol for your virtual private network because of its many security risks. Because of the rising popularity of powerful brute-force attack methods, using this protocol today can expose you to a deep and dangerous data breach.
This is the reason why it is rarely used today by individuals and large corporations because it can be insecure.
In addition, it is also blocked by most firewalls and can easily be cracked by the NSA. You can use PPTP for streaming or don’t use it at all.
Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP)
This protocol was created by Microsoft and released together with Windows Vista. It has similarities with the PPTP tunnel, but it has better security with encryption and traffic integrity checking.
This protocol uses TCP Port 443, which is the standard for HTTPs data transfer. It is relatively difficult for firewalls to detect and block.
You can choose to use the SSTP if you want to access strict locations and bypass censorship with the help of its strong bypassing capability. It’s also very fast compared to the protocols mentioned above, even when it offers strong encryption with the AES-256.
SSTP is fast and good at bypassing censorship. It may not be as secure and private as other tunneling protocols.
You can use SSTP to enhance your privacy online.
OpenVPN is one of the best protocols for VPN out there. It is supported by most VPN clients and is also compatible with numerous ciphers, including ChaCha20, Blowfish, and AES, among many others.
It can be used for Windows, MAC, Android, Linux and IOS. On top of that, it is popular for being one of the most secure VPN protocols.
It can run using UDP and TCP transports, which gives it extra compatibility and flexibility. By default, connection profiles are set to UDP, and if the default transport fails, you can switch to TCP. With OpenVPN, you can utilize most public networks since they mostly run TCP-only protocols such as HTTP, SMTP, POP3, and IMAP, among others.
OpenVPN has the strongest type of VPN encryption among other protocols. You can use it to protect your data and activity from leaks and attacks when connecting to the public internet.
Transmission Control Protocol or TCP can connect your computer to another server. Through this connection, you will be able to send and receive data.
User Datagram Protocol or UDP is a type of protocol that does not use a connection. When data is sent, nothing on the other end confirms if it is the right data. The receiving device only receives.
OpenVPN protocol is an open source protocol that can give you the best encryption. You can use it for any type of activity, but it may not provide you with enough speed at times.
Overall, OpenVPN is one of the best choices when you’re looking for unbreachable security when connecting to public networks. It can protect your company’s data or your login credentials when accessing your banking app.
WireGuard is one of the newest protocols that was released for public use in 2019. It’s known to be an efficient protocol that users can pair with ChaCha20, which is a new cipher itself.
WireGuard is garnering a lot of support from VPN users from the day it was released. It is a fast, open-source solution that VPN service providers support despite it being new and still considered experimental.
It is a popular choice for streaming, gaming and for downloading large chunks of data.
SoftEther is a fast and secure protocol that is used by many for bypassing strict censorship in some locations. It supports ciphers such as AES-256 and RSA-4096 which are both known for their heavy duty encryption.
Its encryption and authentication protocols are based on OPENSSL, making it compatible with TCP Port 433. This means that it is also very hard for firewalls to block.
At the moment, SoftEther is only used by a handful of VPN providers and is not natively supported by operating systems. Using this protocol can also expose you to man-in-the-middle attacks.
This is why its users are advised to always enable the “Always Verify Server Certificate” option in their VPN Connection Settings.
SoftEther is a great protocol when it comes to speed and security.
It is an excellent choice when you need to bypass censorship, however, it may not be the right protocol for you if you’re looking for one with beefy security.