VPNs are becoming popular with each passing day. They are available to everyone for free and premium if you want fast servers and better security. You might have heard about VPN Tunnel. But, have you ever wondered about what it is and how does it work? This is the guide for you to know all about VPN Tunnel and Common types of VPN Tunneling protocols.
What is VPN Tunnel
Normally, when we connect our devices to the internet via WiFi or ethernet, or mobile data, our devices directly connect to the Internet Service providers without anything in the middle. Our entire traffic is routed through the internet service provider.
But, when you connect to the internet through a VPN, you are not directly connected to the internet service provider. VPN acts as the middleman between your device and the internet service provider. Your entire traffic and data are now routed through VPN and your internet service provider has no access to it. The connection that establishes between your device and the VPN is called a VPN tunnel. In most of the free VPN services, the tunnels are not properly encrypted which leaves your data exposed.
Read: What is a VPN, and Why should we use a VPN?
Common Types of VPN Tunneling Protocols
VPN tunnels are encrypted using various protocols that depend and differ from every VPN service provider. Each type of VPN tunnel provides you with some level of security and makes your data secure. When we use a VPN program on our device, we don’t have to do anything. Those tunneling protocols are undertaken by the VPN program. There is a need that we have to know how secure are our VPN connections and what tunneling protocols are they using. Let’s see the types of VPN Tunneling Protocols.
The different types of VPN tunneling protocols are
- PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol)
Let’s see what they are in detail.
1] PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol)
PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol) is considered the least secure tunneling protocol. It is also the oldest among the protocols. It was created by Microsoft and released with Windows 95. You don’t need to have any technical expertise to use PPTP. All you need is a username and password with a server address to make the connection. PPTP is also the fastest VPN Tunneling protocol since its encryption level is too low. If you don’t bother about security, this might work for you in terms of speed.
Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol is better than PPTP in terms of security and not considered a competition in terms of speed. PPTP is speeder than L2TP. It does not have its own encryption. The data and traffic that happens through this tunnel are encrypted using Internet Protocol Security (IPSec). L2TP/IPSec provides the user with the most advanced encryption technology, AES-256. L2TP is a popular protocol for its high level of security but it cannot bypass some restrictive firewalls as it uses fixed ports to connect.
Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP) is also developed by Microsoft and used with Windows Vista SP1 and later versions. It has the ability to transport data through Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). Hence, the name Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol. SSL secures the data that passes through it with different ports which can bypass most of the firewalls. SSTP is natively supported on Windows and not available on any other platforms. Even the protocol is not audited publicly for the possibility of any backdoor entries.
OpenVPN is the open-source VPN tunneling protocol that encrypts the data that passes through it with AES-256 like L2TP. The difference between the two is the code that is available openly for audits and anyone can find the vulnerabilities and fix them. That is the reason it is considered the most secure VPN tunneling protocol. Also, it is supported on different platforms and most of the VPN service providers use this for the same reason. OpenVPN provides faster connections and can bypass almost every firewall.
This is the new and latest VPN tunneling protocol which aims to be fast, secure, lightweight, and easy to use. It is a security-focused protocol that uses proven cryptography protocols and algorithms to secure the data. WireGuard is not available on some of the VPN service providers though it is better in speed and security than OpenVPN as it is the latest technology and the VPN service providers are in the process of incorporating it into their programs.
These are the various types of VPN tunneling protocols that we use in a VPN.