Ultimate Guide to VPN Protocols
Even though VPN protocols may appear complex and sound intimidating, they are easy to understand and are important to secure your online activities.
VPN is the abbreviation for Virtual Private Network and is essentially a secure tunnel connecting multiple devices. So when you make use of a VPN, you are connected to the internet but through an intermediary server provided by the VPN service.
Table of Content
The security provided by your VPN connection is based on the VPN protocol you are on. VPN protocols are the set of instructions that define the encryption between two devices. The encryption and methods of authentication differ from one protocol to another and it leads to a difference in speed and security provided.
PPTP: Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol
PPTP is one of the oldest VPN protocols and makes use of the MS-CHAP v2 authentication suite. It’s a fast and easy setup but doesn’t provide good security. The NSA and other security agencies can decipher its encryptions, so here is a limit to the protection it can give.
L2TP: Layer 2 Tunnel Protocol
L2TP is an improved PPTP version and offers you better security which comes at the price of speed. It’s mostly used together with the Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) protocol and together they are referred to as L2TP/IPsec.
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Just like with PPTP, L2TP is available on all modern platforms and can be set up easily. Even though it’s not the most secure protocol, it can function properly to keep you anonymous and to change your location.
OpenVPN is the benchmark among all VPN protocols. It gives the best performance and offers the highest security. Compared to others, it’s easily configurable. Being an open-source protocol, it gets support from the open-source community as they constantly improve the code to ensure that surveillance agencies don’t tamper with it.
SSTP: Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol
SSTP gives you almost everything you can get from OpenVPN with the difference that it’s only compatible with windows. It’s very secure and can bypass almost every firewall easily. Its downside is that it can’t be used on other operating systems, and it’s not open source. So if you are seeking an alternative to OpenVPN, SSTP would do but note that since it belongs to Microsoft, they could be a surveillance backdoor no one knows about.
IKEv2: Internet Key Exchange version 2
IKEv2 is a great improvement to other protocols as it offers great speed and tight security with stability in connection. It isn’t restricted to just one operating system and can be used on windows, android, mac, and iOS, and is the only option blackberry users can benefit from.
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It is however not available to Linux and has a limited configuration just like with OpenVPN. Not all implementations of IKEv2 are trustworthy, so choose only the open-source versions of the protocol.
Which VPN Protocol Is Best for You?
With good knowledge of all VPN protocols, here is a summary of the best scenarios to use them:
When available, use OpenVPN
1 . OpenVPN
1 . Offers top security
2. Can bypass firewalls
3. Is highly configurable
4. Benefits from open source communities since its open-source
1. Has a complicated setup process and requires a third party software
When OpenVPN isn’t available, use:
1 . Offers more security when compared to PPTP
2. It’s easy to set up
3. Is widely available
1 . Doesn’t go through restrictive firewalls easily
1 . It’s very secure
2. Can bypass most firewalls
3. Supported on windows
1 . Only supported on windows
2. It’s not open source
1 . Provides great security
2. Has fast speed
3. Gives a stable connection
1 . It isn’t available on all platforms
2. Has limited configurations
3. The non-open source implementations are not trustworthy
When security and privacy are not your priority, use:
1 . It’s very fast
2. Easy to set up
3. It’s widely available
1 .Doesn’t offer security
Since the different VPN protocols come with different levels of security and are not all equally compatible with various devices, its best to choose a VPN service that offers all protocols just so won’t be stranded. LimeVPN offers you all protocols and servers at a cheap price, so you can ensure you are safe online, have great speeds, and enjoy stable connections irrespective of the device you use.