VPN protocol Explained – PPTP vs L2TP vs SSTP vs IKEYv2 vs OpenVPN.
When you install the VPN app on your computer or smartphone, you just need to open it, select your country and enable. Viola, you are now connected to a VPN server. You don’t need to change any complicated settings.
Read: Free VPN to Unblock Netflix Geo Restrictions
By default, most VPN providers automatically use the protocol that best suits your network. But what about if you need more VPN control?
Well, the good news is that most VPN providers allow you to configure your application to use one of the other protocols, be it PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, IKEv2, or OpenVPN. So let’s find out what the pros and cons of each VPN protocol are and when to use which.
PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, IKEYv2, and OpenVPN
PPTP, short for Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol, was developed by Microsoft to create VPN over switched networks. For a long time, PPTP was the standard protocol for corporate VPNs.
Platform – PPTP is easy to configure with the OS’s built-in VPN functionality. Their clients are built into many platforms including Windows, macOS, Android, iOS and even some routers. Thus, you do not need to install additional software to configure PPTP.
Encryption – However it’s not worth it. The protocol is old and vulnerable. It is an insecure VPN protocol and can be easily decrypted by malicious third parties in man-in-the-middle attacks.
Firewall – PPTP requires TCP port 1723 to easily block PPTP connections.
Bottom line : Avoid. Use only if absolutely necessary for compatibility.
L2TP or Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol is the best version of PPTP.
Platform – It is just as easy and quick to set up as PPTP, since it is built into almost all modern operating systems.
Encryption – L2TP itself does not provide any encryption, so it basically encapsulates L2TP traffic in an IPsec tunnel to protect L2TP traffic. Which, unlike PPTP, is generally considered secure.
Firewall – The L2TP issue is related to the firewall. It uses UDP port 500 – which means it is much easier to block and harder to bypass firewalls.
Bottom line – L2TP / IPsec is theoretically secure and easy to configure. There are some concerns that the NSA may have weakened the IPsec standard, but nothing has been confirmed. It also has problems with bypassing firewalls. Overall, I wouldn’t say this is the best protocol, but if you have to choose between PPTP and L2TP, definitely use it instead of PPTP.
SSTP, also known as the Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol, is a proprietary standard owned by Microsoft.
Platform – Although it is now available for Linux and even Mac OS X, it is mostly a Windows-only platform.
Encryption – Unlike PPTP and L2TP, SSTP uses SSL 3.0, which means a high level of security. However, since it is a proprietary protocol, this means that the code is not open to the public and cannot be fully verified.
Firewall – This includes the ability to use TCP port 443, which is used for normal HTTPS traffic. This makes blocking more difficult. As there is no way to tell the difference between VPN connections other than the type of secure connections used by the web browser, email services and online shopping. firewalls
Bottom line – SSTP is Microsoft’s proprietary protocol and is best supported on Windows. All in all, if you need to choose between PPTP, L2TP and SSTP for Windows computer. better to use than SSTP. The encryption is better and can bypass the firewall.
Internet Key Exchange version 2 (or IKEv2) is a relatively new VPN protocol developed by Microsoft and Cisco.
Platform – You may not have heard much about this protocol as it is natively supported on Windows 7 and above, Blackberry and iOS devices.
Encryption – Like L2TP, IKEv2 is also coupled with an authentication package such as IPSec to provide encryption functionality. So, if your ISP says IKEv2, it most likely means IKEv2 / IPsec.
Bottom line – IKEv2 is not as prevalent as the other protocol on this list as it is supported on fewer platforms, mostly Windows and iOS. However, mobile users may still find it useful to automatically restore VPN connection when users temporarily lose their internet connections. For example, switching between home Wi-Fi and mobile connection, or regularly switching between hotspots.
OpenVPN is an open source technology using the OpenSSL library
Platform – Unlike PPTP and L2TP, which are natively supported by most platforms; to get OpenVPN you will need to use third party software. But most VPN providers have their own OpenVPN setup guide, so setting it up shouldn’t be a problem. We also made a video on how to set up OpenVPN.
Encryption – OpenVPN is currently considered the strongest encryption because it supports AES, it is very secure. Also, since it’s open source, you can always check the source code and see what’s going on inside. Thus, OpenVPN is best suited for security.
Firewall – OpenVPN can also run on TCP port 443, which means it can bypass most firewalls.
Bottom Line – Compared to all other VPN protocols, OpenVPN is arguably the most secure and versatile VPN available. It works on any platform, bypassing the firewall. and very reliable. The only problem is that you need to know how to set it up, for which you can watch our other video.
Conclusion: which VPN protocol should I use?
In short, don’t use PPTP, it’s deprecated and insecure unless you are a millennial.
L2TP is fairly easy to implement, and has pretty good encryption with IPsec (in theory), but cannot bypass firewalls. So I wouldn’t recommend this either. But it’s definitely better than PPTP
SSTP is much more secure than L2TP, but the other side of the coin is that it mostly works for Windows.
So OpenVPN is the best choice. It’s safe, reliable, and works on any platform.