Which VPN protocol is worth using?


Virtual private networks (hereinafter simply referred to as VPN, from the English Virtual Private Networks) is an invaluable solution to one of the most pressing problems of our time, namely maintaining anonymity when working on the network. Millions use VPN services, and among these millions, many users want not only to install another application on their device but also to squeeze the maximum out of it, learn all the strengths and weaknesses. This article is intended for anyone interested in the subject of VPN protocols.

We have already talked about VPN protocols with all their pros and cons. If you want to know more about them, be sure to read that article. Now we will give a simple, accurate and quick answer to the question of which VPN protocol is the best.

The basics:

If to explain on the fingers, then the VPN protocol is the very essence of any VPN service. The protocol, in this case, is the foundation on which the service is built because it contains data transfer protocols and encryption standards that allow you to quickly and securely exchange data with VPN servers. There are five main VPN protocols: OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP /IPSec, IKEv2, and SSTP. Over time, it became clear which of these protocols should not be trusted, and which ones are not only possible but even necessary. There are also cases when a particular protocol will be ahead of all others in all respects.

 So, in short:

  • OpenVPN is the main option that is worth using. This is the most complete protocol that provides the perfect balance of speed, protection and reliability. It is this protocol that is used as the main one by many VPN services.
  • IKEv2 is excellent at working with mobile devices due to the ability to automatically reconnect to the network when the connection is disconnected (for example, if you are driving through a tunnel in a mountain). High speed is one of the main advantages of this protocol, while its disadvantages include a limited number of supported platforms and installation difficulties.
  • L2TP / IPSec it is this protocol that is worth using if you can’t connect using the OpenVPN protocol for some reason. This protocol is good from all sides, but, alas, not good enough in any of them. However, it is quite possible to use it for simple, non-critical purposes.
  • SSTP can be your ideal VPN protocol, but only if you use a Windows device. In this case, everything is simple and convenient, the bonus is official support from Microsoft. Alas, setting up SSTP on other platforms is indescribably difficult, if at all real. Some users may be alarmed by the fact that this protocol is Microsoft's development.
  • PPTP – use this protocol only if you have nothing else and are not expected. This is the most outdated protocol, and, believe me, time did not spare it. This protocol has a decent connection speed, but it provides useless protection. If it is important for you to maintain your confidentiality, then you should not use this protocol.


Below you will find the most important features of all VPN protocols:


  • A relatively new open-source protocol, considered to be the industry's “gold standard” due to its reliability.
  • An extremely popular option with third-party services, it is not supported by default on any platform.
  • It supports a variety of algorithms, which allows you to reliably protect the user.
  • One of the fastest protocols. The speed depends on the encryption used, but ordinary users are unlikely to notice a decrease in speed in most cases.
  • Perhaps the installation will seem complicated, but this is only at first glance. All decent VPN services using this protocol supports automatic configuration, which practically does not require the user to participate in the process.

IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange v2)

  • It is an IPsec-based tunneling protocol developed by Microsoft and Cisco.
  • Stable and secure: many algorithms and the ability to reconnect to the network are supported.
  • Fairly high connection speed, this protocol is relatively faster than L2TP, SSTP and PPTP.
  • Supports devices from Blackberry, in general, the number of supported platforms is limited.
  • Proprietary technology owned by Microsoft. Accordingly, the question is how you feel about Microsoft! However, there are similar versions of the open-source protocol.

L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol)

  • Based on Cisco's L2F and Microsoft PPTP.
  • By itself, it does not protect users, so its parts are used in conjunction with IPSec.
  • Built-in support on all modern devices and operating systems that support VPN technology.
  • A decent and complete protocol, but recent leaks suggest that the US National Security Agency (NSA) has the keys to this protocol.
  • In comparison, this protocol is no better than OpenVPN.

SSTP (Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol)

  • First appeared in Microsoft Windows Vista SP1.
  • Fully integrated with Windows – so much so that you may not be able to use it on other platforms.
  • Easily bypasses most firewalls.
  • Microsoft’s proprietary technology, so do not build illusions about where your data goes.
  • A fast and relatively well-protected protocol, however vulnerable to back-doors – as a result, one of the least attractive options.

PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol)

  • The first VPN protocol that was supported on Windows.
  • It is supported by any device that can use VPN technology.
  • A very fast protocol using very weak encryption.
  • Practically does not protect users – the NSA hacked it without problems a long time ago.
  • Microsoft has released several patches and updates for PPTP, but even the developers themselves advise using other protocols – for example, SSTP or L2TP / IPSec.


So to summarize. OpenVPN, L2TP / IPsec and IKEv2 are quite suitable for ordinary daily work on the network. If Windows is installed on your device, then SSTP will do, but do not forget that this protocol may be more vulnerable than others. The same is true for L2TP with IKEv2 – in truth, these protocols are as strong in terms of security as your belief in Microsoft's infallibility is strong. Nevertheless, even if you are the most sincere fan of everything connected with Microsoft, do not use the PPTP protocol except in the very, very last resort! Nowadays, he will not be able to protect anyone, and even more so, he will not be able to protect your privacy when working on the network.

Only the protocol that is devoid of vulnerabilities and weaknesses will provide you protection. At the moment, the only such option is OpenVPN. Also, this is one of the few protocols supported on several platforms at once.

It is important to note that even the best VPN protocol will not help you if your chosen service does not support it. Therefore, we have compiled a list of the best VPN services, each of which supports both OpenVPN and other fast and secure protocols. All these services are easy to install and provide impeccably high-quality services. See for yourself

Best VPNs

Surfshark VPN
Private Internet Access
TunnelBear VPN


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