When you take a look at many available VPN providers, you will notice that they are providing various types of VPN protocols in their service. Some service providers might only offer one VPN protocol while others might offer multiple protocols that the users can choose freely. Each of these protocols have their own advantages and disadvantages. The more reputable and trustworthy a VPN service is, the better choices that they will give to their users regarding the VPN protocols that they can use. As a user of the virtual private network, you have to understand about the difference between various VPN protocols. In this way, you know what you are getting from your investment.
The different VPN protocols have the different ways to protect your online privacy. Some might have a big vulnerability in their network while some others might have excellent security features. So, when you are using a virtual private network service that offers multiple protocols, be aware about what protocol that you are using for your browsing session because it can affect the way you protect your online privacy. Here is the list of the most common VPN protocols and what they can do:
1. PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol)
PPTP is the most common VPN protocol used by various virtual private network providers, and it has the weakest security encryption when compared to other protocols. This is because this protocol has been used for decades to create a private connection for PC, which makes it more and more vulnerable to attacks due to its outdated encryption technology. However, this protocol is very easy to set up, and it has been used by various free and cheap VPN providers to minimize the cost of running their virtual network business. When you use this protocol, you can get a fast connection speed to access various blocked websites, and it can be used for all platforms.
This is an open source private network technology that makes it possible for you to establish a highly secure private connection for your device. It has the advanced 256-bit encryption system, and it is highly configurable for many platforms. It is very stable in protecting your device against various types of attacks. However, it is best used for the desktop platforms since it is still quite difficult to configure OpenVPN for mobile devices. If you want more security in your private connection, this is definitely the protocol that you should use.
3. L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol)
The L2TP is quite similar to the PPTP, in which it provides the private connection with just enough security features. In terms of security strength, it is more secure than the PPTP, but it is less secure than the OpenVPN. It is also way slower than the OpenVPN protocol, which makes it less preferable to use. It has also been rumored that the NSA is having their eyes on this protocol and they are working to weaken this protocol just as they do with the PPTP. Also, if you are installing any type of firewall security on your device, using L2TP might conflict with the use of your firewall. However, this protocol is considered easy to set up, and it is compatible with all modern devices and operating systems.
4. IPsec (Internet Protocol Security)
IPsec is mostly considered similar to L2TP. It has similar security features and vulnerabilities that the L2TP has. That’s why some VPN providers are listing the IPsec and L2TP as L2TP/IPsec because they are quite similar. This protocol is usually used to encrypt the IP network that you use so that all data packets are encrypted during transmission. When combined with other security protocols, it can be used to provide security enhancements for those protocols, making it more difficult for hackers to breach your system and monitor your network activity.
5. Proprietary VPN Protocol
Some VPN providers might provide their own protocol to enhance the overall security of your private network. For instance, if by using regular protocols, the service provider cannot bypass certain security restrictions for their users, the proprietary VPN protocol will provide the way to make it possible for them to bypass the restrictions. Let’s take a look at the use of VPN in China. The government makes it very difficult for regular VPN connection to be used in that country. However, some VPN providers manage to create the protocol that makes it possible to bypass the China’s internet restrictions by avoiding the Deep Packet Inspection in their network traffic. Only some service providers have their own proprietary protocol, but when they do, the proprietary protocol can give lots more advantages for the users in terms of internet privacy and security.
Those are the most common VPN protocols that you can find in various VPN services. Each protocol has their own advantages and disadvantages. So, as a user, you have to understand how you are using your VPN connection. By understanding the different protocols, you can switch between them in order to get certain benefits according to your circumstances.