Each VPN protocol has its own set of features and specifics in terms of speed, used ports, encryption, and OS/device support as well as advantages and disadvantages. Depending on the situation, your personal needs and the devices you own, one protocol may be more ideal than the other.
Dive into our side-by-side VPN protocol comparison chart in which the three most popular protocols compete with each other; OpenVPN vs PPTP vs L2TP/IPsec.
|General||Open Source VPN protocol licensed under GNU-GPL that uses high security SSL/TLS encryption||Basic VPN protocol that all Windows operating systems natively support, very easy to set up.||The more advanced version of PPTP that has better data encryption support.|
|Speed||Depending on the mode used (UDP works best), OpenVPN provides good speed for the quality of security provided. Functions well on any type of connection.||Slightly faster than other protocols due to the 128 bit encryption.||Slower than other protocols because L2TP encapsulates data two times.|
|Device/OS Support||Requires installing a VPN client software, something which most quality VPN providers have.||Supports most devices including all versions of Windows, Mac OSX, Android iOS and DD-WRT.||Supports the most important desktop and mobile devices and operating systems, but doesn't support DD-WRT. Android and iOS have clients for L2TP setup by default.|
|Security/Encryption||Encryption using OpenSSL with support for RC5, 3DES, AES, Blowfish and other algorithms for encryption. Uses 128 bit encryption with 1024 bit keys.||Encryption using Microsoft's Ponit-to-Point Encryption protocol known as MPE. 128 bit encryption is the maximum supported using RSA RC4 algorithm.||AES or 3DES algorithms used for the most secure 256 bit key encryption. Relies on fixed protocols and ports, making it more vulnerable to be blocked.|
|Ports||Capable to run on both UDP (port 53) and TCP, with the option to configure TCP on port 443.||Uses GRE (protocol 4) and TCP port 1723.||UDP 500 used for the initialy key exchange, UDP 1701 for the initial L2TP configuration and UDP 4500 for NAT transversal.|