VPN protocols are services and technologies that VPN providers use to provide a fast and secure connection to their servers and your computer. VPN Protocols are the combination of transmission and encryption standards, with the most common being OpenVPN, PPTP, SoftEther and L2TP/IPSec.
Here is a breakdown of the protocols and what they offer. Before selecting a VPN, take time to verify which protocols the VPN provider offers and ensure compatibility with your operating system.
OpenVPN is a free service that is SSL based and requires a program to be installed to use as there are no operating systems that include it. Which OpenVPN you select will depend on your operating system and the degree of security you need.
PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunnelling Protocol)
PPTP is the easier of the VPN protocols as the majority of operating systems automatically include it. This includes OS X, Windows and most operating systems for mobile devices as well. While it may be the easiest, it is the least safe and is also the weakest.
L2TP/IPsec stands for “Internet Protocol Security” and “Layer 2 Tunnelling Protocol”. These are the most commonly used as they are far better and secure than that of PPTP. While more secure, they are harder to set up. However, they provide a higher level of security and are well worth the effort.
SoftEther is one most people are unfamiliar with as it only came onto the scene in 2013 and was designed to be a substitution to OpenVPN. It is faster than most other protocols and provides a greater level of security, but as it is still relatively new, most VPN’s do not offer it, so locating resources is more difficult than the others. However, it is one to consider as it provides a greater number of functions such as Dynamic DNS Function, GUI Management, Packet Filtering, Jitter and Packet Loss Generator RPC over HTTPS Management, NAT Function and Delay and Virtual DHCP.
L2TP is the abbreviation for Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol. It was designed to replace PPTP as it provides a higher level of security and offers a higher level of performance. As L2TP uses IPSec, it does not offer its own encryption but instead relies on IPSec for that. It is found in most operating systems so configuring it is uncomplicated.