It would be fair to say that not that many users delve into the intricacies of VPN protocols prior to choosing their service. However, these VPN protocols are the backbone and the driving force behind the services that can unlock all your favorite streaming services and keep your personal information hidden from prying eyes. In addition, they provide a secure way to access your favorite services without getting into the hands of hackers and other potential internet threats.
In this article, we’ll be giving you a detailed and comprehensive guide to VPN protocols, including their pros & cons, use cases, and many more. This article will be quite useful not only for Windows users, but for Android and iOS users as well, just to get the gist of how things work when you press Connect in your VPN app.
What is a VPN Protocol?
If we’re being precise, a VPN protocol is a number of rules responsible for managing how data is transmitted and encrypted over a VPN connection. What these protocols do is set up a secure tunnel between your device (smartphone, laptop, etc.) and a server, ensuring that your Internet sessions are secured, and your data is not being captured by third parties.
Common VPN Protocols
There are many VPN protocols you should be aware of. VPN protocols are very important if you want to configure your VPN to provide the best security. The following are the most common VPN protocols:
- Advantages: OpenVPN is an industry-standard protocol, known for its open-source nature, making it a popular choice among VPN services. OpenVPN is known for its excellent security, thanks to its strong encryption, which makes it a good choice for anyone who’s worried about their personal information being hacked. It’s versatile and widely supported across platforms. OpenVPN supports both TCP and UDP ports, offering a switch between more secure browsing and faster speeds for downloads
- Disadvantages: While it’s secure, OpenVPN can be relatively slower than some other protocols due to its encryption level. Configuration can be more complex for beginners. More modern protocols like IKEv2 and WireGuard offer faster connection.
L2TP/IPsec (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol with IPsec):
- Advantages: L2TP/IPsec is a combination that offers solid security and is natively supported on many Windows devices. It’s stable and provides strong encryption, making it a good choice for privacy and security
- Disadvantages: Some argue that it may be vulnerable to certain types of attacks, and it can be slower compared to other options. Outdated protocol with lower speeds, if compared with other protocols.
IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange version 2):
- Advantages: Known for its speed and reliability, IKEv2 is excellent for mobile users and those who switch between networks frequently. It’s highly secure and maintains a stable connection even when transitioning between Wi-Fi and mobile data.
- Disadvantages: Limited cross-platform compatibility, as it’s not as widely supported on non-Windows systems. Rarely used in anything other than Windows-operated devices.
PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol):
- Advantages: PPTP is one of the earliest VPN protocols and is straightforward to set up on Windows. It offers fast connection speeds due to its minimal encryption.
- Disadvantages: Unfortunately, PPTP’s security is outdated and not recommended for users who prioritize data privacy, as it is relatively easy to breach. Use cases are extremely limited.
SSTP (Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol):
- Advantages: SSTP is designed specifically for Windows, making it highly compatible with the OS. It offers robust security through encryption and is known for its stability.
- Disadvantages: Its proprietary nature means it may not be as widely supported on other platforms, limiting flexibility.
- Advantages: WireGuard is the latest and greatest in terms of VPN protocols. It is extremely easy to set up and operate, and the encryption level is fantastic.
- Disadvantages: WireGuard is relatively new, compared with OpenVPN and IKEv2, so there’s room for possible flaws.
Mobile users are limited in the variety of VPN protocols, as Android and iOS support only a few. For example, the most popular protocol on Android is OpenVPN. However, VPN services like ZoogVPN offer a toggle between TCP and UDP ports, depending on your needs.
Here’s a simplified comparison table for various VPN protocols:
|Best on Mobile
When it comes to selecting the VPN service and VPN protocol for your Windows device, there are a few things to remember. First of all, your operating system is not limited by technical constraints, when compared to mobile or Linux devices, so the range of available services and protocols is considerably larger. If your priority is speed, for example for zippy content streaming and fast downloads, then your best bet is WireGuard and IKEv2. Both protocols are available in ZoogVPN’s Windows app.
Mobile users should opt in for an OpenVPN protocol with access to TCP and UDP ports, as it is the optimal available solution for both Android and iOS. ZoogVPN offers a fast and reliable app with access to OpenVPN.
Security and Encryption of VPN Protocols
Security is paramount when selecting a VPN protocol. The level of security provided is related to encryption methods. Think of it like this, a large puzzle with tons of pieces is harder to finish than a simple one.
Now imagine a puzzle with millions or even billions of pieces – that’s what encryption cipher is for. Encrypting the handshake between your device and the server ensures that none of the information that’s being sent or received can be intercepted by malefactors.
Different protocols use various encryption standards, impacting your data’s vulnerability to interception and breaches. Modern protocols like WireGuard, IKEv2, and even OpenVPN are all good choices for secure connection.
Here’s a comparison table focusing on the security and encryption aspects of different VPN protocols:
|Strong security; supports various encryption algorithms
|AES-256, Camellia-256, Blowfish (configurable)
|Supports secure key exchange and has built-in NAT traversal
|AES-128, AES-192, AES-256 (configurable)
|Uses IPsec for encryption, which provides decent security
|AES-128, 3DES, AES-256 (when combined with IPsec)
|Can bypass firewalls; uses strong SSL 3.0 channels
|AES-128, AES-256, DES, 3DES
|Simplified code base; aims for high security with less complexity
|ChaCha20 for symmetric encryption, Poly1305 for authentication
This table showcases that while all these protocols aim to provide secure connections, they differ in their approaches and encryption capabilities. Some of them offer more flexibility and configurability than others.
It is pretty uncommon for users to dig deep into a variety of VPN protocols and their key differences, but we always encourage our users to broaden their horizons. We sure hope this article was useful and it gave you some general knowledge on the importance of VPN protocols, so that you come prepared when the time comes to select a protocol for your web journeys.
When it comes to an abundance of protocols and servers, ZoogVPN is a great choice for enthusiasts and regular users, as it is easy-to-use if you’re completely new to the world of private browsing and at the same time it has a plethora of fine-tuning options, so that you can set up VPN for your own needs.
ZoogVPN offers a wide variety of apps for different operating systems, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and many more. If you’re looking for a safe way to browse the web, or you just want to gain access to a streaming service that’s currently unavailable in your region, get the app for your platform, press Connect, and you’re good to go, traveler!