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Virtual Private Network (VPN) extends a private network across a public network, and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network. Applications running on a computing device, e.g. a laptop, desktop, smartphone, across a VPN may therefore benefit from the functionality, security, and management of the private network. Encryption is a common though not an inherent part of a VPN connection. Learn more about What is a VPN.

VPNs have different protocols. The most used at the moment are IKEv2 and OpenVPN.

Depending on the speed of the internet, location, and Wi-Fi it is recommended to use a suitable protocol.

For example, some WI-FI Routers block tries to block VPNs for different reasons, for example for governmental control and so on.

Which protocol should I use?

We can’t give you an exact answer, but we can help you find the right protocol for you.

IKEv2

Overview
Platform CompatibilityWindows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, and more.
VPN EncryptionUp to 256-BIT.
VPN SecurityHighly secure; Strong encryption.
VPN SpeedFast performance despite its high level of security.

IKEv2/IPsec is a combination of distinct tunneling protocols combined with the IPsec suite of security technologies. This is another protocol that isn’t open in nature. Once again, Microsoft has its fingers in the pie, but in this case, they worked with networking giant Cisco to get the technology ready.

IKE is one of the newest protocols, released in the mid-2000s and it hasn’t yet become widely supported or accepted. The latest version is IKEv2 and if you’re in a corporate environment that still relies on Blackberry technology for security, you’ll love this protocol. Blackberry systems have native support for IKEv2.

Luckily for everyone, it also supports other platforms that are less esoteric. iOS, for example, has support as well. In fact, IKEv2 was created with an eye on mobile security and is capable of letting handsets switch from Wi-Fi connections to the mobile Internet without dropping the VPN tunnel. This is because the protocol supports a technology known as ‘multihoming’ which lets it handle network changes with ease.

A defining feature of IKEv2 is how fast it is. Depending on the circumstances. it’s often seen as one of the fastest VPN protocols available today. Yet, VPN providers have been cagey about supporting the technology. For one thing, it has very narrow platform support. It’s also a closed system with corporate interests. It’s just not possible to trust that companies like Cisco or Microsoft haven’t built vulnerabilities into their protocols at the behest of government organizations.

PRO

  • Fast
  • Extremely secure
  • Work everywhere

CONS

  • Probably compromised by the NSA and other law enforcement and law enforcement agencies
  • Blocked by some Wi-Fi Routers
  • Blocked by some websites and services
  • Used by default by many VPN services

OpenVPN

Overview
Platform CompatibilityWindows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, routers, and more.
VPN EncryptionUp to 256-BIT.
VPN SecurityHighest possible security; Digital certification.
VPN Speed

Fast performance despite its high level of security.

OpenVPN is an Open Source project. OpenVPN has a very high-quality community.

OpenVPN uses OpenSSL and TLS in the main. There is, however, a whole host of other minor technologies built into it I don’t have the space to go into here. Unlike PPTP, SSTP and most other VPN protocols, OpenVPN has no native support for any operating system or hardware system. In that way, you can think of OpenVPN being a system-agnostic solution. This is both a pro and a con for OpenVPN since it means anyone who wants to use OpenVPN must make use of a third-party VPN client.

OpenVPN is widely used by premium VPN providers since these companies have the resources to develop their own VPN clients. This also means the VPN provider basically determines what devices it supports. If it does not create a client for, say, Android, then you can’t use it. Well, actually that’s not strictly true since there are many generic OpenVPN clients on virtually all platforms. The problem with this is that you now have to trust both your VPN provider and the ones that have created the generic client. Which means twice the risk for back-doors.

While OpenVPN performs best on a range of UDP ports, it can be operated over TCP port 443. If you will recall, that lets you piggyback on HTTPS website traffic and evade port-based VPN blocking. Since OpenVPN uses the OpenSSL library, it has access to all the encryption technologies included in that library. However, it’s rare for anything other than AES encryption to be used, which is just fine as long as the key-length is sufficient.

PRO

  • Fast
  • Extremely secure
  • Bypasses governmental, demographic and judicial blocks without any problems
  • Integrated on Android 9.0 Pie up

CONS

  • Requires a program (OpenVPN TAP)
  • Does not work on all platforms
  • Rarely blocked by WI-FI Routers

PPTP

Overview
Platform CompatibilityWindows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, and more.
VPN EncryptionUp to 128-BIT.
VPN SecurityStandard encryption; Known vulnerabilities.
VPN SpeedFast speed (due to the lower level of encryption)

PPTP is one of the oldest VPN protocols still knocking about. The first specification for PPTP was published back in the late 90s. This kind of VPN protocol is fairly easy to set up and has almost universal support, but has many caveats you should know about.

Plain vanilla PPTP does not actually have a specific authentication or encryption technology specified. However, when PPTP is mentioned these days, it almost certainly refers to the version that was developed and shipped by Microsoft with Windows. It forms a bundle of technology known as the Windows PPTP stack and gives various options in terms of encryption strength.

PPTP is very fast in comparison to modern, strongly-encrypted protocols. This is a good thing when it comes to bandwidth-intensive uses such as video streaming. The problem with PPTP is that its security measures have been torn to shreds over the years. Many newer protocols exist because the vulnerabilities in PPTP are so serious. While PPTP might keep the average script kiddie out, it’s certainly within the power of a government organization or some other well-resourced entity to break in and take what they want.

We do not recommend using PPTP for its low encryption.

PRO

  • Very fast
  • Perfect for bypass demographic censorships

CONS

  • Probably compromised by the NSA and other law enforcement and law enforcement agencies
  • Weak encryption

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