If you want to enjoy private, secure Internet browsing, you definitely need to subscribe to a credible VPN service. A good majority of Internet users, unfortunately, don’t understand how a VPN service works, let alone what VPN protocol to use. In this guide, we’re going to have a look at a few of the most popular ones, and also try and help you out in choosing what the best protocol to use would be according to your various needs.
What Is VPN?
Before we delve into the nitty gritty’s of VPN protocols and all that, lets first get a good understanding of how a VPN service works. The initials VPN stand for Virtual Private Network, and this refers to a network of servers that are able to encrypt your traffic. Subscribing to a VPN network means you’ll have your connection encrypted, meaning nobody will be able to spy on your online activities. Your IP address gets changed, and you get a virtual one that points to either of the many servers that your VPN service has. One big advantage you get out of being able to constantly change your IP address is that you can appear to be from wherever you wish to. This, in turn, allows you to access a library of geo-restrictive sites and channels, regardless of wherever you may be. A VPN subscription also ensures you stay untraceable and anonymous.
Choosing your preferred VPN service may prove to be difficult especially because of the many services available on the Internet. The various providers you can get hold of through the Internet offer a wide array of features and services, but not all of them are able to deliver what they promise. This means you ought to be very careful and observative when choosing what service to subscribe to. You’ll need to understand the benefits that each provider offers.
VPN Tunneling explained
The basic level security provided by your ISP really isn’t enough to protect you from being hacked or spied on. Rectifying this situation would mean getting your connection to the Internet protected by applying an encryption-based tunnel. This is best done by subscribing to a VPN service.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, we can now look at the more intricate details of how a VPN service works. There are basically two categories of tunneling protocols; these are voluntary and compulsory. Voluntary tunneling is handled by the user, while compulsory tunneling is handled by the ISP.
Under the two categories, we then have four different types of tunneling blocks that are all unique in their own different ways. They are:
To start with, L2TP stands for Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol and its one of the most popular protocols among all the four. It is also often combined with IPSec, which means Internet Protocol Security, and they work together to encrypt your traffic.
A secure connection is created between two L2TP points for communication so that whenever you’re using it, hackers and any other online criminals find it really difficult to gain access to your device. The downside, however, is the fact that two layers of protection translate to having data pass through two rounds of encryption, thus slowing down the speed of your connection. Another disadvantage is the protocols inability to get through firewalls. This makes it difficult to get through sites or channels that have concrete firewalls, like people who want to watch American Netflix from outside the US. If you’re looking for a solution that’ll keep you protected for light browsing, then this is the right protocol to use.
Point to Point Protocol (PPTP) beats all the other four as the oldest and most frequently used tunneling protocol on the Internet. This is probably because it’s the most basic form of encryption, and thanks to its lightweight form, it allows for the fastest Internet connection. Its fast speed, however, comes at a cost; in terms of security, its the easiest for a hacker or scammer to break through and gain access to all your personal information.
Windows users are really lucky to have a whole protocol specially designed for them. The Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP) allows for the transfer of data through Secure Socket Layers or SSLs. In terms of effectiveness, this really is the best alternative to turn to if you’re on a Windows device. Switching to SSL through a web browser literally doesn’t require any action, and as a protocol that’s been put to use by large organizations and corporations, you really have no reason not to adopt it. A good number of organizations that have adopted SSTP use it along with Transport Layer Security (TLS) to make it easier to hold a connection and secure data.
Closing up our list we have OpenVPN, the best VPN protocol among all the four. It supports both Site-to-Site and Point-to-Point connections and also has the most difficult encryption to push through. The effort it takes to get an OpenVPN connection set up also depends on whether or not you’re using one of the many VPN apps that providers include with their package. If not, then you’ll have to be a real pro to get it set up manually.
Unlike SSTP, this protocol can run on devices running various computing platforms like Mac, Android, iOS, and Windows. The service also enjoys constant upgrades from the international security community, meaning users will get to enjoy the latest innovations in security. This will help keep all the spammers and hackers at bay, and your private information well protected. OpenVPN has also been certified as the most secure protocol through tests conducted by leading security analysts, so you have no reason not to be confident with this protocol.
The Best VPN Protocol To Use – Summary
At this point, you should really possess a good understanding of how a VPN service works, and the main differences between the four main protocols. We hope we’ve made it clear for anyone looking to get reliability, stability, speed, and security from their preferred protocol. If you’re looking for pointers on what service to subscribe to, then we’d recommend ExpressVPN, as it offers all four options for you to choose from.