Learn everything you need to know about these two popular VPN protocols in our PPTP vs L2TP guide.
Nowadays, most of us know about virtual private networks (VPNs). Many businesses use VPNs to stay secure and private while transferring corporate data, or to enable employees to connect to the office servers remotely. Many individuals also utilize VPNs to overcome their country’s restrictive firewalls or to bypass geographical limitations to access their favorite online streaming channels or social media websites.
In this article, we will explore the differences between PPTP VPN & L2TP VPN protocols so that you can decide which one is the better choice for your needs. Note that each protocol has significant advantages and disadvantages – generally related to the level of encryption, device compatibility and their ease of use configuration.
What is PPTP Protocol?
PPTP or Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol is an outdated method for implementing VPNs. It is developed by Microsoft and the easiest protocol to configure. PPTP VPN has low overhead and that makes it faster than other VPN protocols.
With its use, users can remotely access corporate networks from any Internet Service Provider (ISP) that supports the protocol. PPTP VPN encrypts data using 128-bit encryption which makes it the fastest but the weakest in terms of security.
Advantages of PPTP Protocol
There are a few advantages of using PPTP as your VPN protocol of choice. These include:
Default Windows Compatibility
If you’re using a computer running on any version of Microsoft Windows, you’ll be glad to know that PPTP is supported on it by default. This means that configuring a PPTP VPN up won’t take too much of your time or effort.
Cost-Effective to Deploy
PPTP is not only cheaper but also quite easy to deploy than L2TP/IPSec and other VPN protocols. That’s because it doesn’t require Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to run, which uses digital certificates for authentication.
Fast Connection Speeds
When you use establish a VPN connection, it usually affects your Internet speeds due to the encryption process. However, you don’t have to worry about that when using a PPTP VPN because of its low-level encryption.
Disadvantages of PPTP Protocol
While using a PTPP VPN has its advantages, it also comes with certain limitations. These include:
The PPTP protocol is considered to be the least secure as it only uses 128-bit encryption to protect your data. So, if you’re dealing with sensitive information, you’re better off opting for other VPN protocols that offer a considerable level of security.
Poor Performance on Unstable Networks
PPTP isn’t the most reliable VPN protocol when used on unstable connections – you’ll often face performance issues! While it can be an acceptable means of connecting employees and sharing documents, PPTP will let you down if you have a lot of private information that you need to share.
What is L2TP Protocol?
L2TP or Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) is the result of a partnership between Cisco and Microsoft. It was created to provide a more secure VPN protocol than PPTP. L2TP is a tunneling protocol like PPTP that allows users to access the common network remotely.
L2TP VPN is a combined protocol that has all the features of PPTP, but runs over a faster transport protocol (UDP) thus making it more firewall friendly. It encrypts data using 256-bit encryption and therefore uses more CPU resources than PPTP. However, the increased overhead required to manage this security protocol makes it perform slower than PPTP.
Advantages of L2TP Protocol
There are a few advantages of using L2TP as your VPN protocol of choice. These include:
The L2TP protocol is more secure than PPTP as it doesn’t have any major security vulnerabilities. It uses the IPSec suite to provide end-to-end encryption, data origin authentication, replay protection, as well as data integrity.
Since L2TP doesn’t have any encryption or authentication capabilities (both are key features of VPNs) on its own, IPSec VPN is often paired with it. The framework is also used to provide security for other protocols such as IKEv2.
If you want to setup L2TP on your device, you’ll be able to do so seamlessly as many platforms come with native support for it. However, since L2TP uses digital certificates, you’ll find PPTP much easier to configure than the latter.
Unlike a PPTP VPN, the L2TP protocol is very reliable and doesn’t face any performance issues when used on unstable connections! This makes it a better protocol than PPTP for establishing secure connections to a remote network.
Disadvantages of L2TP Protocol
While using a L2TP VPN has its advantages, it also comes with certain limitations. These include:
Slow Connection Speeds
Since L2TP encapsulates data twice and requires a higher CPU processing, you’ll often experience slow connection speeds. Hence, if speed is more important to you than security, using a PPTP VPN is a better solution.
Easier to Block
Both PPTP and L2TP use fixed ports which makes them easier to block using Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) techniques. For this reason, these VPN protocols can easily be detected and blocked by some firewalls.
PPTP vs. L2TP Comparison
Since we’re talking about PPTP And L2TP Protocols, let’s take a look at a comparison between the two. So, here’s the differences between PPTP vs. L2TP:
|Basic Info||Basic & first VPN protocol supported by Windows.||Tunneling protocol that uses IPSec for security/encryption and works via UDP.|
|Compatibility||Built-in support for a wide array of desktops, mobile devices, and tablets.||Built-in support for a wide array of desktops, mobile devices, and tablets.|
|Encryption||128 bit keys||256 bit keys|
|Usage||via device/OS built-in client, using username + password + server address||via device/OS built-in client, using username + password + server address and pre-shared-key|
|Stability||Comparatively unstable, but very stable and accepted by most Wi-Fi hotspots.||Proven stable on various kinds of devices, networks and operating systems|
|Supported Devices/OS||Windows, Mac OSX, Linux, Android, DD-WRT, etc.||Windows, Mac OSX, Linux, iOS, Android, DD-WRT, etc.|
|Security||Basic encryption||Very secure. Data integrity checking, encapsulates data twice.|
|Advantages||Easy setup/configuration, good speeds, supported by a large number of devices.||Easy setup/configuration, easily bypasses restrictions by networks or ISPs.|
|Disadvantages||Stability may vary depending on network. Does not offer government level security. Easy to be blocked.||Slower Speeds|
|Conclusion||PPTP is easy to setup and use with decent speeds. Less secure than other VPN protocols.||L2TP usually achieves lower speeds than other protocols, but its ability to bypass network restrictions and strong security make it a good choice.|
|Best For||High-speed browsing, streaming or downloading||Security-specific tasks like online shopping, using public Wi-Fi, etc.,|
PPTP VPN is easy to setup and use with faster speeds, but can result in a less secure connection. L2TP VPN, on the other hand, has slower speeds, but offers stronger security which makes it a good choice.
PPTP is not supported by iOS anymore.
PPTP can no longer be used on iOS (or Mac for that matter) as its support has been discontinued from all Apple platforms.