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VPN protocol: Which VPN Protocol is Best?

VPN protocol determines how data transmits to a private server. Below are 9 common VPN protocols and their pros and cons.

VPN, virtual private network, masks your internet traffic with an encrypted tunnel and transmits the traffic to VPN servers that grant your device a different IP address. Online activities with VPN-on can benefit profoundly from security and privacy. For example, VPN enables users to circumvent geo-restrictions and censorship with the aim to hide personal identity and location, thus making it harder for hackers and trackers to snoop about your online movements. There are plenty of VPN providers which adopt different protocols.

VPN Protocol

What is VPN protocol? The VPN protocol determines exactly how data is packaged in an encrypted tunnel and then sent over to the private server, each with distinguished pros and cons. Read on for more details.

The VPN protocol is a set of rules that regulates how internet traffic is routed between the VPN app and the server with promised security when exchanging data. To put it in a plain way, the whole process is similar to sending a valuable package to the designated recipient without letting anyone else know. You may cloak the piece with extra packaging, store it in an encrypted safe VPN box, or choose a private delivery path, all for better security and privacy. Different protocol of VPN is the approach VPN apps take when sending data. No VPN tunneling protocol is perfect and every protocol has its highlights as well as downsides under specific circumstances. Let’s say, for some protocols of VPN, data delivery takes priority over any other matter while some would focus on security first.

There are major VPN protocols you can commonly see from VPN apps; besides, other options can be taken into consideration to meet your special requirements. Read on to find out which protocol to use.

1. OpenVPN (TCP&UDP)

OpenVPN is one of the mainstream tunneling protocols that uses TCP and UDP modes to ensure users benefit from security and fast data speed. Due to the many advantages it owns, this protocol is available from most leading VPN providers, for example, iTop VPN adopts TCP and UDP connections to offer the most suitable service for users under multiple scenarios.


  • Open-source coded. The underlying code is transparent and accessible to users. Feel free to check the vulnerabilities that might do harm to your online security.

  • Highly configurable. Whether you crave for high-speed or enhanced safety, OpenVPN can take care of you very well due to its high versatility.

  • Strong encryption. Thanks to the use of AES-256 bit key encryption, OpenVPN manages to make the encrypted tunnel safer than ever.


  • Slower speed when choosing TCP. Since TCP emphasizes top-notch security, the speed would be relatively slower than other protocols.

  • Changeling setup for beginners. Versatility can be bad if you don’t know where to start. The complex setup may trigger some users to quit.

Also Read: How to Setup OpenVPN Windows Client & Best Free VPN APP

2. L2TP/IPSec

Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) is a VPN tunneling protocol that takes advantage of tools in the IPSec suite to encrypt your traffic and keep your online tracks private and secure.


  • Fair security. Paired with other security protocols such as IPSec, L2TP/IPSec can be safe enough.

  • Wide popularity. This protocol is supported on a wide range of devices and it’s easy to find support.


  • Slow data speed. L2TP/IPSec encloses your data twice and makes it slow-going.

  • Have trouble bypassing firewalls. Unfortunately, there’s no possible way for L2TP/IPSec to get through firewalls yet.


Point to Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) is the first widely used protocol and also the first tunnel designed to encrypt dial-up traffic.


  • Fast and light-weighted. This protocol has no difficulty running smoothly on modern devices.

  • Widely supported. As one of the very first encryption protocols, it’s broadly supported by most systems and devices.


  • Poor security. PPTP is a rather outdated protocol and has numerous vulnerabilities in terms of security.

  • Blocked by firewalls. VPN services can get disrupted since firewalls can target and block PPTP connections with ease.

Also Read: PPTP VPN Mac Setup


Developed by Microsoft, Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP) is a moderately secure and fast protocol option.


  • Solid support. Designed by Microsoft, SSTP is implemented by default in Windows OS, along with strong technical support from Microsoft.

  • Able to bypass firewalls. It’s not a problem for SSTP to get through the annoying firewalls.


  • Hidden code. SSTP is a Microsoft-owned proprietary protocol, which means it’s impossible for users to access the underlying codes.

5. IKEv2

IKEv2 usually pairs with IPSec for better VPN coverage. Created by Microsoft and Cisco, IKEv2 is well known for its stability and reliability.


  • Trusted stability. IKEv2 ensures a super stable VPN connection as you switch between different internet connections.

  • Safety. Adopting leading encryption algorithms in the IPSec suite, IKEv2 provides users with undoubtful security.


  • Compatibility. For non-Windows users, IKEv2 doesn’t work well in the running system.

  • Slower speed. Compared with OpenVPN, the performance of IKEv2 is relatively slower.

6. TLS

Transport Layer Security (TLS) is one widely adopted security protocol that guards online communications.


  • Functional in multiple scenarios. Besides working between web apps and VPN servers, it can also be used in email, message, and other approaches.

  • Powerful encryption. TLS is a great choice for circumventing data breaches and malware attacks for businesses.


  • Latency. TLS protocol shows higher latency than other protocols whenever it’s used.

  • Limited platforms supported. For example, Windows is having an issue implementing TLS protocol.

You May Like: 10 Best Free VPNs for Windows/PC Fast & Secure | 2022 Update

7. WireGuard

WireGuard is considered the most recent and fastest VPN protocol that facilitates your online safety.


  • Super-high connection speed. WireGuard offers the top-notch data speed in the VPN industry.

  • Clean and transparent coding. It’s open-source with the least lines of code.


  • Immature. WireGuard protocol is still new to the industry and awaits improvements and modifications.

8. SoftEther

SoftEther protocol is originally liked by small business owners due to the need for digital services.


  • Firewall-proof. SoftEther is fully capable to dodge firewall blocks.

  • Integrity with the toolchain. SoftEther is one of the few VPN tunneling protocols that establish a direct connection with your toolchain.


  • Occasionally unstable. Users report that server failure issues and network disconnection happen frequently.

9. SSL

As the predecessor of the TLS, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is one of the old protocols that offer security, authentication, and integrity to online communications.


  • Authentication. SSL guarantees that your data will be delivered to the right server by using Server certificate protection.

  • Avoid phishing. Users are not likely to enter a website without an authentic SSL certificate and thus prevent phishing.


  • Outdated. SSL stopped updating in 1996 and is no longer used by most modern web browsers.

Overall, each protocol shares its pros and cons. OpenVPN might be a comprehensively fair choice while WireGuard definitely speaks for blazing-fast speed.

It’s not an easy task to answer the question that VPN which protocol is best, but you can get an answer in terms of certain specifications, say, speed, security, and compatibility.

1. What is the Best VPN Protocol?

The popularity that OpenVPN gains doesn’t lie. It enables users with premier security, high versatility, and fast speed. As the top dog in the tunneling lineup, OpenVPN is an all-in-one solution adopted by major VPN providers, including iTop VPN, the ultimate free VPN that offers private access to the web with military-grade protection to your online security. Apart from TCP and UDP protocols in OpenVPN, iTop VPN also offers an HTTPS connection that takes well care of users with all needs.

2. Which VPN Protocol is the Fastest?

Undoubtedly, WireGuard delivers the fastest data speed in all VPN tunneling protocols. It’s fully adept to exceed 500 Mbps under certain circumstances and the extraordinary speed makes it a perfect choice for streaming and gaming.

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3. What is the Most Secure VPN Protocol?

IKEv2 comes with a secure key exchange session. Moreover, it employs advanced encryption programming from the IPSec suite and therefore, achieves security at the highest standard in the protocol lineup.

4. Which VPN Protocol is Compatible with Most Platforms?

PPTP has to win the prize when it comes to the most cross-platform compatible protocol. During its 30 years of VPN coverage, it shows up almost anywhere, Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and many other operating systems and devices you can ever think of.

Depending on the OS and device you use, the certain spec of performance you care about, the best, fastest, safest, and most compatible protocol of VPN vary in different scenarios.

OpenVPN shares wide popularity among most VPN providers, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, and SSL all come with time-honored history, and WireGuard delivers so far the highest data speed, IKEv2 maintains supreme stability and reliability, TLS applies to compound communication scenarios, and SoftEther is very business-friendly. You can easily find the VPN protocol that serves you well based on various specifications, security, encryption, efficiency, and data speed. If you are still puzzled with which VPN protocol to use and annoyed by the protocol setup, just go for iTop VPN, one of the best VPN providers that offer you an inclusive solution to VPN service with bulletproof security to your online tracks. Download iTop VPN to protect your privacy immediately.

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