VPN Protocols

VPN Protocols are the set of instructions and processes between a VPN server and the VPN client to make a stable and secure connection. In essence, a VPN protocol is a combination of encryption standards and transmission protocols.

vpn protocols

What is a VPN Protocol?

VPN protocols are important. They provide safety and speed to your online communications. Whether your VPN is optimized for speed or security depends on the VPN protocol that you are currently using. These operate as tunnels through which your online traffic can pass through. Some tunnels are secure. Others offer amazing streaming speeds.

There are many types of protocols available, each having different strengths and capabilities. Some protocols are mobile device friendly. Others can be installed on your Wi-Fi router as well. Some offer better internet protocol security. Choosing a VPN protocol is important if you want to enjoy the best browsing experience.

Which VPN Protocol Should You Use?

Selecting the best VPN protocols for your needs can indeed be a headache, but also necessary. There are two different kinds of VPN protocols. One is good for security. The other offers better streaming speeds. None can provide the best of both worlds, though.

Any VPN protocol that offers good security will be weaker when it comes to browsing speeds. To understand how this happens, imagine the VPN protocol as a tunnel. When we add more security features, like encryption, it gets narrower. Every packet of data is encrypted first, before it is sent on to the World Wide Web.

Speed-friendly VPN protocols, do not offer security features. These tunnels are wider and your data packets route in an easy manner. Hence, you receive great streaming speeds.

Protocols Comparison

The following chart provides a thorough comparison of different VPN protocols:

VPN Protocol Speed Encryption Streaming Stability P2P Available in
PureVPN app
OpenVPN Fast Fast Fast Fast Fast n/a
IPSec/IKEv2 Fast Fast Fast Fast Fast n/a
WireGuard* Very Fast Very Fast Very Fast Very Fast Very Fast n/a
SSTP Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium n/a
L2TP/IPSec Medium Medium Medium Medium Medium n/a
PPTP Fast Fast Fast Fast Fast n/a

Which VPN Protocol is the Fastest?

WireGuard is considered the fastest among all the VPN protocols. If you wish to stream and download P2P files faster on the network, make sure to use WireGuard after signing in to PureVPN. Besides WireGuard, L2TP and IKEv2 are also considered fast, while OpenVPN and SSTP are slower than other VPN protocols.
Winner: WireGuard

fastest vpn protocol
Most Secure Vpn Protocol

Which VPN Protocol is the Most Secure?

When it comes to security and encryption, both WireGuard and OpenVPN can keep internet users safe from prying eyes. Moreover, IKEv2 and L2TP are also secure VPN protocols because they encrypt your data twice. All in all, WireGuard is considered the most secure VPN protocol while offering the highest level of encryption and using numerous digital certificates for authentication.
Winner: WireGuard

Which VPN Protocol is the Best for P2P File Sharing?

If you want to download files on the internet without lagging, use a protocol that offers both high-end security and speed. While PPTP is best-suited for downloading, it lacks security as it uses 128-bit encryption. L2TP and IKEv2 use 256-bit encryption through IPSec. But, L2TP doesn’t offer high internet speeds. WireGuard provides both high speed and top security, so consider switching to WireGuard protocol when you are using VPNs solely for downloading files.
Winner: WireGuard

wireguard vpn protocol for torrenting & filesharing

VPN Protocols Explained

PureVPN selects the best VPN protocol on your behalf for a secure and speedy connection. We also give our users the convenience of choosing the VPN protocol if you want to.


WireGuard is the newest VPN protocol on the block. Meant to be a replacement of IPSec, it is allegedly lighter and faster. Furthermore, it is open source, which means a reduced likelihood of security vulnerabilities. However, the protocol is still under development and lags behind in terms of cross-platform compatibility.

L2TP – Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol

Since it does not provide strong authentication, L2TP is used with IPSec for security. Though it may conflict with some firewalls, it is a great alternative to the OpenVPN protocol because it supports all modern platforms, and can get around ISP/network limitations.

SSTP – Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol

Owned by Microsoft, SSTP is only available for Windows, FreeBSD, and Linux and cannot be audited. Regardless, it is one of the most secure VPN protocols and has the ability to bypass most firewalls.

OpenVPN – Open-Source Protocol

With fast performance and top-grade encryption, OpenVPN is the protocol of choice. This open-source solution is configurable and runs on any port. As a result, you can get past most ISP/network restrictions and firewalls.

IKEv2 – Internet Key Exchange

Based on the IPSec framework, IKEv2 is the most recent and advanced VPN protocol. Jointly developed by Cisco and Microsoft, it is fast, stable, secure, and very easy to setup. However, since it is new, there is a lack of support for older platforms.

IPSec – Internet Protocol Security

IPSec is a set of protocols used for various purposes, including securing VPNs. It is usually paired with VPN protocols like IKEv2 and L2TP to provide data confidentiality (encryption) and authentication, but can be utilized as a standalone VPN protocol as well.

Other VPN Protocols

These VPN protocols are discussed for information purposes only.

SSL/TLS – Secure Socket Layer

SSL and its successor TLS are the most commonly used cryptographic protocols today. Every time you visit an HTTPS website, SSL or TLS secures your connection with the server. It is used in VPN protocols like OpenVPN for encryption, but is not a VPN protocol by itself.

PPTP – Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol

Due to its basic encryption and low security, PPTP offers a much faster connection. It supports most platforms and is easy to setup. That said, it is not recommended unless security is completely unessential.


SoftEther is fairly new in comparison to other VPN protocols (excluding Wireguard). It’s quickly gained popularity because it’s very secure, stable, and fast. The protocol works with most operating systems (including Solaris and FreeBSD) and even has functionalities that OpenVPN doesn’t offer, like GUI Management and RPC over HTTPS, to name a few.

  • What are the types of VPN?

    There are three basic types of VPNs, and these include:
    Site-to-Site VPN
    A site-to-site VPN, also referred to as router-to-router VPN, enables offices in multiple locations to safely connect with each other.
    Remote Access VPN
    A remote access VPN allows a user to securely connect to a business or home network and access its resources from a remote location.
    Client-Based VPN
    A client-based VPN establishes a private connection between a user and remote server usually through the use of an application.

  • Which Ports Does PureVPN Support?

    If you are facing issues, you will have to create the following exceptions from your firewall settings:
    PPTP VPN: Open port 1723 for both UDP/TCP.
    SSTP VPN: Open port 1701 for both UDP/TCP.
    OpenVPN: Open port 53 for UDP and port 80 for TCP.
    L2TP VPN: Open port 1701 for both UDP/TCP