What are VPN protocols

Encryption protocols (also known as cryptographic protocols) are protocols which determine the level of encryption.

VPN protocols help secure data between your device and a selected remote server so that no one can eavesdrop on your browsing activities.

What is the difference between protocols

VPN, or a Virtual private network, is a security tool engineered to protect you from various online security threats.

To put it simply, when it comes to VPNs, all of the protocols have different advantages. Some protocols guarantee a better speed, others – a higher level of privacy, etc.

Moreover, some of the protocols are considered as outdated, and security technologists recommend not to entrust your online security to unreliable technology, especially since a number of trusted VPN providers, like Surfshark, offer the latest security solutions.

What tunneling protocols are used in VPNs

There is a list of the most popular VPN protocols. Just bear with us, although these names might seem complicated, we will try to explain all of the primary features of each of them.

Best known VPN tunneling protocols:

  • PPTP
  • L2TP/IPSec
  • OpenVPN
  • IKEv2
  • SSTP

Which VPN protocols are considered outdated and unreliable?

These VPN protocols are regarded as old and vulnerable:

  • PPTP
  • SSTP
  • L2TP/IPSec

We recommend, while choosing your VPN provider, make sure it does not use these protocols. Surfshark’s technologists implemented acknowledged IKEv2 and OpenVPN to keep your online activities safe.

IKEv2 protocol

IKEv2 (also known as Internet Key Exchange Protocol Version 2) is the most recent and advanced protocol which is distinctly faster than most protocols and is praised for its ability to maintain a stable VPN connection.

Developed by Microsoft and Cisco, this tunneling protocol is currently the most reliable concerning performance and security.

IKEv2 is adopted for some of Surfshark’s products: Android and iOS apps, as well as macOS. To learn more about IKEv2, click here.

OpenVPN protocol

OpenVPN is one of the most reliable open source software choices, trusted and recommended by the leading internet security providers, such as Surfshark. OpenVPN guarantees fast performance and top-notch encryption.

Paired with robust encryption algorithms, OpenVPN supports data transmission protocols UDP and TCP.

OpenVPN is used for Surfshark’s Windows app and manual router configurations. Click here to find all of the easy step-by-step guides to set up your router manually.

‘Open source’ also means it is continuously improved and developed by the security community worldwide. To learn more about OpenVPN, click here.

What is PPTP protocol

PPTP (or Point-to-Point Tunneling) is an obsolete VPN security protocol, which has been considered insecure for over a decade, new people in IT probably have never even heard of it. In fact, too many security vulnerabilities of PPTP have also been found to consider this protocol for a reliable VPN service.

PPTP is like an ancestor of other security protocols. PPTP was engineered by Microsoft almost two decades ago and was one of the first VPN protocols.

Now, succeeded by stronger and therefore more secure protocols, PPTP can go to a well-deserved retirement. To learn more about PPTP, click here.

L2TP/IPSec protocol

L2TP/IPSec is a composition of tunneling protocols L2TP (also known as Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol), and IPSec (or Internet Protocol Security) used to support VPNs. Since L2TP doesn’t have encryption, it is combined with IPSec.

L2TP/IPSec encapsulates your data twice, and that might notably slow down the speed of VPN connection.

Leading VPN service providers avoid using L2TP/IPSec. Whistleblower Edward Snowden criticised the protocol because security agencies, like U. S. National Security Agency, NSA, can compromise the protocol.

So if a VPN uses L2TP/IPSec most likely NSA can crack it and spy on your online activities. To learn more about L2TP/IPSec, click here.

What is SSTP protocol

SSTP (or Secure Socket Tunneling) is a VPN protocol for various Windows platforms. Also designed by Microsoft, security experts do not recommend this protocol.

The main reason why SSTP is not a trusted tunneling protocol is that it is defenseless against so-called man-in-the-middle (or MITM) attacks. This is primarily due to different levels of authentication.

MITM happens when scammers create a fake public network. Then, use it to snoop on your private information and target data on your devices. To learn more about SSTP, click here.

To summarise VPN tunneling protocols

Although there are many protocols used by VPN providers, some of them are outdated and vulnerable to breaches.

Tools to breach your privacy get more sophisticated every day, a robust VPN service must always be ahead of security risks. If some protocols are infamous for their weaknesses, using them is a terrible idea.

Since your online security and privacy is our top priority, we highly recommend only select VPN providers who rely on IKEv2 and OpenVPN.

We recommend:

  • IKEv2 – because by far it is the latest and most popular VPN tunneling protocol.
  • OpenVPN – because it is a reliable and fast tunneling protocol.

What do I do if I want my identity to be protected

Sign up for Surfshark, because we use topmost security protocols, IKEv2 and OpenVPN, to protect your online privacy and identity. We offer generous discounts and 30-day money back guarantee.