Beginner’s Guide To VPN Protocols – All You Need To Know!

What is a VPN protocol and why is it important for your data security? We give an easy-to-follow explainer on the basics of VPN protocols.

Beginner’s Guide To VPN Protocols – All You Need To Know!

As the world advances, the need for security of the web and its various channels is increasing as well. This also results in individuals exploiting it in whichever way they like. To solve this issue, VPN was created.

VPN provides privacy to all networks be they public or private. A VPN was initially used by large corporations to safeguard their data which was not to be shown to the general public. As VPNs gained popularity, a large number of people turned to them for the security of personal data and searched for the best VPN to use.

People gained more knowledge about the advantages of a VPN and how the user’s own IP address is replaced by the IP address of the server providing the VPN. A secure passageway is made by the VPN through which all internet traffic makes its way.

The best VPN to use is one that offers a number of features that involve higher security and protection of confidential data.

A Complete Guide to VPN Protocols

When a secure passage is created, the information is enclosed from one protocol within the data to a different type of protocol. Often VPN uses PPTP, a protocol to encase IP packets over the internet.

Different types of VPN protocols have different properties and they offer different levels of security. The VPN protocol list contains all the protocols that are widely used and user-friendly. Some of these protocols include PPTP, L2TP, IPsec, SSL, SSH, TLS and OpenVPN.

Every protocol serves a slightly different purpose according to the user’s need. The VPN protocol comparison can be made between PPTP & L2TP, PPTP & openvpn and between other protocols to highlight the features that set them apart.

A Quick Guide For Different VPN Protocols Available

Given below are the different VPN protocols available:

  • OpenVPN (most popular VPN protocol)
  • L2TP/IPSec (most widely used alternative)
  • SSTP (a solid option for Windows users)
  • PPTP (the oldest and most widely-used VPN protocol)
  • IKEv2 ( a fast and secure alternative, especially for mobile devices)


Two types of VPN protocols that are widely used are PPTP and L2TP. PPTP lets corporations stretch out their own network through tunnels that are secure and private.

PPTP was originally developed by Microsoft for dial-up networks. Due to the lower encryption standard, PPTP is one of the fastest and simplest VPN protocols. A wide area network is used by large corporations as a single large area network.

As VPNs are now commonly used, corporations don’t need to lease their own lines and are able to consume public networks securely for communicating over a wide area.

Apart from PPTP, another widely known protocol is L2TP which stands for “layer 2 tunneling protocol” which is an extension of the PPTP and is often combined with another protocol to offer a highly secured VPN connection for its users.

It does not provide a secure tunnel to its users when it is on its own. Only by merging features of two tunneling protocols, L2TP can reach its potential.


SSTP stands for Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol. It is also a popular VPN protocol.

SSTP’s notable benefit is that it has been fully integrated with all Microsoft operating systems since Windows Vista Service pack 1. That means you can use it with Winlogon and a smart chip.

It is as fast as OpenVPN. Its manual setup is fairly easy as well. SSTP is overall quite secure.

Internet Protocol Security

IPsec is a protocol that serves by securing internet communication across an IP network. The communication is secured by verification of the session and the data packet is ciphered during the connection.

For IPsec there are two modes in which it operates, one is the transport mode and the other is the tunneling mode. These modes secure the transfer of data between different networks. The transport mode plays its part by encrypting the message contained in the data packet, and the tunneling mode encrypts the complete data packet.

Like L2TP, IPsec can also be combined with other protocol features to provide a secure connection.


Open VPN? What is it actually? Well, it is an open source software that applies VPN methods for creating a secure connection. An open VPN gives access to its peers by using a pre-shared key.

With an OpenVPN, any IP network can be tunneled over a single UDP port. The advantages of having an OpenVPN include:

  • Being compatible with all operating systems
  • Having a higher speed
  • High-security provision
  • Good firewall compatibility
  • Support Perfect forward secrecy (this encryption method makes decoding very difficult for hackers)
  • A number of tunneling options etc.


IKEv2 stands for Internet Key Exchange version 2. It is also a VPN protocol developed by Microsoft and Cisco.

On its own, it is just a tunneling protocol that provides a secure key exchange. That is why it is frequently paired with IPSec for encryption and authentication.

It is not as popular as other protocols but it is great for mobile connections.


IPSec is the short form of Internet Protocol Security. It is used for multiple purposes and one of them is VPNs.

IPSec is often paired with other VPN protocols to provide encryption and can be used by itself as well. It is generally considered faster than SSL.


When SSL & TSL are combined, they create such a strong VPN connection where the web browser becomes the client and the users are not allowed to access the entire network. Their access is limited to specific applications.

Online shopping sites and sites where such services are provided to their users mainly use SSL and TSL protocols. These protocols are more hassle-free and very user-friendly. The browsers turn to SSL and minimum action is required from the user.

Secure Shell Protocol

SSH also known as secure socket shell is a protocol that has a way of accessing a remote computer by providing administrators with a secure pathway.

Strong authentication is provided by a secure shell along with a protected encrypted data communication that takes place between two computers connecting over the internet which is a highly insecure network.

SSH helps administrators in managing applications, helps them in logging in from a different computer over a network, and move files from one place to another.

2 Types of VPNs and Their Security Levels

If you are looking for ways to access channels and applications without getting blocked, you should look out for the best VPNs to use. The best VPN can provide a secure passage with great speed to its user without tracing its original IP address.

There are various places that can be looked into when searching for the best VPNs to use, however, there are two types of VPNs that serve the purpose of its users, finding a fast and secure tunnel.

  • Remote Access VPN

In this case, the user accesses the services remotely by connecting themself to a private network. Through the net, the connection is made between the network and its users, and this connection is highly secured.

This type of VPN is user-friendly for both users sitting at home and the ones accessing from their offices. An employee outside their office premises can easily access the private network by using the VPN.

Both users at home and outside have access to the blocked websites through this VPN. Users who are more sensitive towards internet security can use this VPN service as a way to protect themselves and their data over the internet.

  • Router to Router VPN

This VPN is mainly used by companies that have offices in various locations. This VPN helps in making connections between the networks of all offices situated in different locations. It becomes an ‘intranet-based VPN’ when all the offices of the same company are connected using a site-to-site VPN.

Furthermore, when companies connect to the network of other companies using this VPN, it is called an extranet VPN. The connection that is formed between these companies is highly secure and protected.

In this form of connection, two routers are in play; one of these acts as a client while the other one serves as a server.

That was all about VPN Protocols. Now you know the difference betwprotocols are used and which ones to look for in a VPN for your needs. If there’s any other protocol we’ve missed, please let us know in the comments below.

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