What Is the Best VPN Protocol? OpenVPN vs. WireGuard vs. SSTP and More

Photon photo/Shutterstock.com There are multiple VPN protocols, and which protocol a VPN uses has a big influence on how it functions. Some protocols are a lot better than others. Thankfully, finding the best VPN protocol is easy as there are only a few candidates. What Is a VPN Protocol? In short, a protocol is a…

A digital illustration featuring the term
Photon photo/Shutterstock.com

There are extra than one VPN protocols, and which protocol a VPN makes exhaust of has a immense influence on the absolute most life like device it capabilities. Some protocols are significantly better than others. Fortuitously, finding the superb VPN protocol is easy as there are most tasty about a candidates.

What Is a VPN Protocol?

Briefly, a protocol is a home of suggestions that govern how units within a community keep up a correspondence with each and every heaps of. If you happen to connect with the net, as an instance, you’re the exhaust of the hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) to let your laptop confirm with the positioning you’re gaining access to. A VPN protocol is a particular affect of protocol intended for—you guessed it—VPNs.

A protocol can embody all kinds of files. In the case of HTTP, it’s a home of suggestions surrounding how two units can swap files (in the affect of HTML paperwork) moreover to some frequent security suggestions.

If you happen to exhaust a VPN, you’re rerouting your connection thru a server operated by your VPN carrier. To manufacture so securely, the VPN desires to exhaust a separate protocol, one that’s designed for VPNs and contains knowledge about the encryption frail in the connection moreover to some heaps of technical little print.

How a VPN Protocol Impacts You

This could per chance maybe sound a itsy-bitsy abstract, nonetheless it if truth be told impacts you straight: A proper protocol will be lots faster and heaps extra stable than a sinful one. Some protocols are gradual on tale of they want extra steps when sending knowledge, whereas others are less stable on tale of they possess a flaw or exhaust an encryption key that has a identified weak point.

To abet you maintain the superb VPN protocol for you—and by extension the superb VPN, length—we’re going to head over the protocols we’ve bump into potentially the most, moreover to some proprietary ones. We’ll beginning with the superb ones available, OpenVPN and WireGuard, and work our device down from there.


OpenVPN is probably going to be the most popular VPN protocol available. Nearly all VPN services provide it to their customers in some affect or one other. It affords each and every velocity and security, with none essential exchange-off in either. When the exhaust of OpenVPN, most VPN services will allow you to decide from TCP and UDP. You’re on the total at an advantage going with UDP, because it’s faster.

To present you a theory of how proper OpenVPN is, with regards to all VPNs exhaust it as their default. In the broad majority of cases, there’s no proper reason to exhaust the relaxation else. The correct exceptions are WireGuard or specifically solid proprietary protocols treasure NordLynx and Lightway, all of which we level to beneath.

In fact, we would bolt to this level as to indicate no longer the exhaust of any VPN that doesn’t provide OpenVPN, and to be a itsy-bitsy leery of any provider that doesn’t win it as their default—moreover the exceptions we mentioned earlier. We discuss one instance in our Surfshark vs. ExpressVPN share, where we docked Surfshark some excessive points for defaulting to a mediocre protocol.


For a spread of of us, as a rule, OpenVPN appears the ticket. Nonetheless, in 2021 a extremely engaging unusual protocol came out, which has the likely to dethrone OpenVPN. Named WireGuard, it’s hasty as greased lightning, normally beating OpenVPN on the same server load—even when shield in thoughts that there’s lots better than horny the protocol to search out out a VPN connection’s velocity.

Mute, WireGuard seems solid. It has had on the least one pleasing proprietary protocol based totally totally off of it: NordVPN’s NordLynx. That mentioned, there were some rumblings about how interior most WireGuard if truth be told is, because it seems to retailer customers’ IP addresses indefinitely in some cases.

That mentioned, if velocity is your overriding field, WireGuard could maybe well also very well be an pleasing more than just a few to OpenVPN. While total we snatch OpenVPN, WireGuard comes in a stop second.


Our third entry is the Fetch Socket Tunneling Protocol, or SSTP, which dates from the early 2000s and is continuously regarded as to be hasty and stable, even when on the total performs pretty less well than OpenVPN. If for no subject reason it’s likely you’ll maybe per chance also’t exhaust OpenVPN, SSTP is a solid fallback more than just a few, even when.

The major effort of us seem to win with it’s miles that its code is owned by Microsoft, a firm with a less-than-stellar repute in phrases of privateness. Though it’s unclear whether Microsoft gathers files from SSTP connections or no longer, if it’s one thing you’re insecure about, you can need to shield away from this protocol.

L2TP/IPsec and IKEv2/IPsec

This entry is 2 for the price of one: each and every L2TP and IKEv2 are two connection protocols that are on the total paired with the IPsec security protocol to abet encryption. In each and every cases, you’re making a exchange-off: L2TP is reliable, nonetheless gradual, whereas IKEv2 is hasty—very hasty, even—nonetheless has security points.

In either case, they’re an enticing more than just a few for developers as they’re out of the ordinary extra flexible than OpenVPN. Most urge-of-the-mill customers, even when, could maybe per chance no longer conception out of the ordinary of a distinction. In total, we most tasty suggest the exhaust of these two while you manufacture no longer win any heaps of assorted.


From about a of the upper VPN protocols available, we bolt to potentially one in all the worst on hand. Point-to-level tunneling protocol (PPTP) is a VPN protocol relationship from the nineties—veteran in tech phrases—which is no longer specifically stable and extremely gradual.

It’s on the total no longer frail anymore because it’s frail, nonetheless for some reason some VPNs tranquil provide it. In spite of you manufacture, don’t exhaust PPTP—specifically while you’re doing the relaxation tranquil treasure the exhaust of BitTorrent to safe recordsdata or tunneling out of China.

Proprietary VPN Protocols

We’ll manufacture up by going over three engaging proprietary protocols which win reach out. Developed by a VPN carrier for its bear exhaust, these protocols in total boast better speeds, even when about a of them are a chunk a gloomy field.


The Hydra protocol used to be developed for and frail by Hotspot Defend and is a proper instance of sacrificing some security for velocity. It’s very hasty nonetheless makes exhaust of weaker encryption—128-AES pretty than the 256-bit variant. It’s no longer the superb deal, and the insane speeds Hydra checks at could maybe well also very well be price it.


NordVPN also fundamental its bear protocol, nonetheless it if truth be told tweaked WireGuard to its liking pretty than increasing one from scratch. The consequence is a blazing hasty VPN protocol that seems moderately stable. It could per chance truly maybe per chance be even better if NordVPN mounted its servers, one thing we bolt over in our article evaluating NordVPN vs ExpressVPN.


Closing nonetheless no longer least is Lightway, developed from scratch by our total approved VPN, ExpressVPN. Esteem NordLynx, it seems perfectly stable nonetheless is one device or the opposite even faster than the relaxation else build aside available, including WireGuard. Though we hesitate to call it the superb VPN protocol—OpenVPN horny has a more in-depth pedigree and observe story—it’s miles actually price sorting out.

The Easiest VPN Services of 2022







Non-public Recordsdata superhighway Accept entry to




Mullvad VPN