7 Common VPN Protocols Used Today

VPN Protocols

Virtual private networks (VPNs) provide an opportunity to establish protected internet connections even when using public networks. A VPN service can mask your IP address, privatize your digital whereabouts, provide access to restricted content, and secure your communications. VPNs also use tunneling protocols to set rules for data packaging, encryption, and transfer. As such, tunneling protocols can impact both speed and security when using a VPN. Here’s an overview of the most common VPN protocols used by modern businesses:

1. Internet Protocol Security

Also known as IPSec, Internet Protocol Security is a two-fold VPN tunneling protocol designed to secure data exchange. IPSec enforces session authentication by using two different encryption levels. The message is first encrypted inside a data packet, which is encrypted once more. IPSec also combines with other internet protocols to add layers of security. The protocol is commonly used with site-to-site VPN setups but can also work with remote access VPN.

2. Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol

L2TP, or layer 2 tunneling protocol, is a unique protocol that creates a secure link between two L2TP connection points. The protocol adds further encryption once the tunnel is established to encrypt the data sent over the connection. The new encryption can be an IPSec. Due to its complex architecture, L2TP tunnels provide high security and encryption of exchanged data. The protocol is the preferred choice for site-to-site VPN setups that require high security.

3. SSL and TLS Protocols

Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) are among the most common protocols used to encrypt HTTP web pages. For instance, they’re used by online casinos to limit user access to specific applications, preventing hackers from unauthorized access. SSL is the standard encryption, and most browsers come equipped with both SSL and TLS connections. As such, no additional software is required. These encryptions are commonly used with remote access VPN setups for on-demand encryption activated when a user makes a connection.

4. OpenVPN Protocol

The OpenVPN framework is an open-source enhancement of the SSL/TLS protocol. The framework accommodates additional cryptographic algorithms that can be used to make the connection more secure. Banks, casinos, and online stores use OpenVPN connections because of the increased security and efficiency. However, the framework has more elaborate configurations, which can impact compatibility and native installation. OpenVPN has two main protocols: user datagram protocol (UDP) and transmission control protocol (TCP). UDP is faster, with fewer checks, while TCP is slower but offers better all-around protection. OpenVPN can work on both remote access and site-to-site VPN setups.

5. Secure Shell Protocol

Secure Shell (SSH) is a unique protocol used to generate encrypted connections that can be used to enable port forwarding to remote machines. Such secure channels are useful in offices and remote working frameworks where workers may want to access office desktops from remote locations. Despite its flexibility, SSH channels require constant monitoring to provide a direct entry point for breach. Such protocols are great fits for remote access VPN setups and not so much recommended for site-to-site setups.

6. Wireguard Tunneling Protocol

As the most recent tunneling protocol, Wireguard is designed to reduce the complexities of former frameworks while increasing safety and efficiency. Wireguard is safer than OpenVPN and IPSec, making it an excellent choice for remote access and site-to-site VPN setups. The protocol involves highly streamlined codes that result in optimal performance with the least margin of error. However, Wireguard is still in its early days and not as widely adopted as other protocols. The protocol will likely become the sought-after standard for future tunneling.

7. Point-to-Point Tunnelling Protocol

Also known as PPTP, Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol is used to create secure connections using a PPTP cipher. The first cipher was created back in the 1990s, which makes this protocol one of the oldest. However, computing power has increased exponentially since then, which means hackers can brute-force the cipher and crack the encryption. As such, PPTP encryptions are rarely used to secure exchanged data in today’s high-risk world. You need more advanced encryption levels to protect your information from being deciphered by interceptors.

Choosing the Best VPN Protocols for Your Business

Modern businesses rarely rely on one or two VPN protocols. However, the protocols are among the last things to consider when looking for a VPN service. First, consider your implementation setup. Remote access VPN and site-to-site VPN are the two common setups. Site-to-site VPNs offer permanent connections, while remote access VPNs offer temporary encrypted channels that can be turned on or off. Both options encrypt your data, making it useless to anyone who successfully manages to intercept it.

Next, review your network needs, risk model, traffic load, data sets, and permissions. Most online businesses, including casinos and ecommerce outlets, implement Wireguard, SSL/TLS, L2TP, and OpenVPN because of the remote access setups. For companies that use a site-to-site setup, the decision may depend on existing hardware. You may stick with OpenVPN if you already have routers that natively support the protocol instead of getting new ones to support Wireguard.

Key Takeaways

A good VPN service can encrypt your IP address and internet communications, making it impossible to learn your whereabouts. Leading VPNs also encrypt protocols to protect your data from hackers who try to decipher it. You’ll find a wide range of security features, including kill switches that guard you during connection downtimes and interruptions and two-factor authentications for user logins. When it comes to selecting a protocol, stick to what’s required for your needs and setup.