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VPN Protocols

A VPN protocol is a program and process that determines how a particular VPN tunnel is formed, and how data is exchanged between the VPN server and your device. Each VPN protocol operates in a unique way and offers different solutions to security and anonymity.  Simply put,vpn tunneling protocols provide a way for your device to connect to a VPN server. 

What is the Most Secure VPN Protocol?

OpenVPN is the most secure VPN protocol, offering the highest level and compatibility with a range of encryption ciphers, uses digital certificates and authentication, and has no known vulnerabilities.  

Our Secure VPN Tunneling Protocols

PrivateVPN supports the most common VPN protocols. If you use a VPN app, set it to automatically select the VPN protocol that best suits your network. If you are not using an app or you don’t like the connection, learn the difference between VPN protocols and try the following protocols in the listed order below.

OpenVPN Protocol 

OpenVPN is your first choice. OpenVPN permits various kinds of authentication methods and utilizes a secure SSL/TLS protocol for key exchange. OpenVPN provides the fastest vpn protocol access speed compared to L2TP, but it is not supported on all devices.


OpenVPN over TCP, or Transmission Control Protocol, is the most reliable VPN connection type. Using error correction, this connection prevents website failure and incomplete downloads by automatically retransmitting information packets during data transfer.

OpenVPN over UDP, or User Datagram Protocol, is usually faster than TCP because it lacks the error correction feature. Web technologies that depend on real-time interaction, such as online gaming, work better without the interruptions caused by data retransmission.

L2tp VPN and IPsec VPN

You can layer 2 VPN protocols with L2TP and IPsec. When used in combination L2TP and IPsec offer greater security than PPTP, but these protocols are slower than OpenVPN and can be blocked by firewalls on occasion.

L2TP, or Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol, was developed as an upgrade to L2F (Layer 2 Forwarding Protocol) and PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol). By itself, L2TP does not offer very strong authentication or encryption, which is why it is used together with the IPsec protocol. L2TP is ideal for use with mobile devices that are not compatible with OpenVPN.

IPsec, or Internet Protocol security, authenticates and encrypts each IP information packet in a communication, offering a high level of end-to-end security. IPsec offers protection for all application traffic over an IP network and is available for most mobile devices.


WireGuard provides the latest cryptography alongside extreme speed. With very little overhead WireGuard —  above existing technologies —  offers the opportunity for a more simple, secure, and efficient protocol for VPN use. 

Choosing the Best VPN Security Protocols For You

Consider this VPN protocol chart to determine the best VPN protocol for you.

Protocol Security Speed Pros Cons
OpenVPN Excellent Moderate
  • Open-source
  • Highly configurable
  • Includes UDP and TCP
  • Ultra-secure
  • Slower speed
  • Requires third-party software
L2TP/IPSec Good Fast/Moderate
  • Generally high speed
  • AES protection
  • Multiple platform support

  • Closed source
  • Firewall restrictions

WireGuard Good Fast
  • High speed
  • Easy to implement and stable
  • No known vulnerabilities

  • New and lack of thorough vetting
  • Traffic shaping due to lack of support for TCP
PPTP Poor Fast
  • Fast speed
  • Easy to implement
  • High compatibility
  • Less secure
  • Easy to block
  • Known vulnerabilities
IKEv2 Good Fast
  • Secure
  • No known vulnerabilities
  • Fast
  • Mobile friendly
  • Closed source
  • Firewall restrictions

Need Help?

Are you unsure which is the best VPN protocol for your needs and devices, or how to change your VPN  protocol? Have you tried all our protocols and are still finding it difficult to connect PrivateVPN to your device? PrivateVPN is happy to help! Please contact us via live support or send us a message.