It is a sad sight to behold, but every year we continue to encounter cyber threats, illegal surveillance (as exposed by WikiLeaks in March 2017), anti-privacy advocacy, etc.
It is not just the online threats that have become the bane of every user, but also the government-imposed restrictions on different websites.
Regardless, with our privacy being susceptible to illegal exposure and exploits more than ever before, it is high time we take matters into our own hands and protect what is nearest and dearest to us, our privacy.
Fortunately, we have virtual private networks (VPNs) to do our bidding and fight against the burgeoning cyber threats. However, to pick the best VPN service out there, we first need to understand the different VPN types.
VPN – A Quick Overview
To best understand the types of VPN, it would be wise to first get our heads around the VPN itself.
In simple terms, a VPN’s job is to make the users anonymous on the Internet and their connection completely secure. How does it do so?
Basically, a VPN allows users to make their public network appears to be a private network, which is connected to a remote server, usually in a different country other than the user’s.
With access to a private network, users can become anonymous online and hence keep their activity completely hidden from their ISP’s constant and consistent surveillance.
Plus, it creates a tunnel, aka VPN tunnel, between the user and the network which is encrypted (secured) with different types of Protocols – explained later.
VPN types are distinguished by the various tunneling protocols, such as PPTP, L2TP with IPSec, and more. Let’s have a look at them
Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) is the most commonly used protocol by VPN users. Plus, it is amongst a few protocols that support a wide range of operating systems.
The protocol uses a 128-bit encryption that you would find to be the lowest on the list, but it offers the most optimal speed. That is why it is best for users who are less concerned about the security but more about the VPN speed.
The protocol uses the TCP port 1723 and GRE Protocol 45.
L2TP with IPSec
Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) uses 256-bit encryption, and it mostly comes coupled with another protocol, Internet Protocol Security (IPSec). Due to the combination of two protocols, it offers the best level of encryption.
However, due to the high level of encryption, the protocol is slower than any other protocols listed here.
The protocol uses ESP protocol 50 and UDP port 1701.
Amongst all the VPN protocols listed here, Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP) is the most secure and reliable.
There would be no harm is saying that it is an advanced version of PPTP and L2TP as it has improved the shortcomings of the other two protocols.
With this protocol, users can easily get around any proxy or firewall, allowing the users to have a safe and secure Internet experience. The protocol is a safer bet for carrying out sensitive activities on the Internet, such as online transactions.
The protocol uses the port 443 which cannot be decrypted by any unauthorized source. However, the protocol is usually supported by a handful of OSs.
To get the highest level of security and faster speed, Internet Key Exchange (IKEv2) is the ideal protocol.
The protocol doesn’t usually support a wide range of operating systems, but it does offer the balance of security and speed that users would love to avail.
IKEv2 uses 4500 port, which is blockable by ISPs.
OpenVPN, using either TCP or UDP port, offers a user the best of both worlds: speed and security. The protocol is available on almost all major platforms.
The protocol uses the best level of encryption, and it validates the data with digital certificates.
OpenVPN uses the port 80 on a TCP connection and port 53 for a UDP connection.
StealthVPN (PureVPN Exclusive)
Yes, the exclusive protocol you can enjoy with PureVPN!
StealthVPN is the cutting-edge protocol by PureVPN that offers users military-grade encryption plus faster speed.
The protocol uses the port 443 (the same as SSTP) and 5500. It is the perfect protocol for bypassing firewalls and accessing any website with regional restrictions.
Remember that the more encryption and security level a protocol offers, the lower the Internet speed. However, with PureVPN’s OpenVPN and StealthVPN protocol, users can enjoy both speed and security.