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VPNs and VPN Protocols: How do they work?



Yes! You could be using a VPN, but do you have an idea of how the different protocols work? VPN technology involves a complex set of protocols that determine their size of encryption and the security features they come with.

You want to have extensive knowledge of these protocols to enable you to make an informed decision about the type of VPN protocol to use.

Simply put, a VPN has the sole purpose of protecting your online privacy. The internet is a web of servers that receive and send information. If you gain access to a given website or link, your request goes through the correct server allowing the website to send you the right information.

Do you get the drift?

Essentially, there is an open exchange of information between your computer and the web you are trying to access. What this means is that your website sees your location and can also get more info from your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

So, what makes the difference between and you and the person using a Virtual Private Network? A VPN connection first routes your connection to a private server. This server is provided by the VPN provider you are using.

The Website sending you the information you requested sees the IP address provided by the private server and not your IP address. A person using a VPN still has access to all the information you have on the same website but anonymously. A few examples of VPNs can be found on

Searches Are Made Anonymously 

Also, having a VPN conceals your identity when you go online. Your IP address is overshadowed by that of the IP addresses generated by the VPN for you – mostly to access websites in restricted locations. So assuming that your VPN provider is completely leak-proof, it is safe to say that websites cannot get hold of your real IP address. Leaks are mainly associated with a VPN’s failure to keep your IP address hidden from a restricted location’s website. Thus, it’s very important that you would use the most secure VPN that would not leak your IP address.

VPN Protocols Explained

VPN protocols

A VPN protocol determines how your data gets routed on the internet. The routed connection occurs between your computer and the VPN server. VPN protocols come with the different specifications that serve various user needs. Some protocols focus on speed while others are more concerned about securing your security and privacy. The list of VPN protocols you want to have at the back of your head includes the following.



OpenVPN is one of the most trusted VPN protocols. It is an open VPN. This means a user can find out whether its source codes have any vulnerabilities.

Released in 2001, OpenVPN has undergone several changes that have made it become one of the best VPNs in the market. It works with popular operating systems including Android, iOS, Linux, Windows and macOS. Its ability to work with mobile platforms has made it popular among users.

Users with an OpenVPN protect their data using an AES-256-bit encryption. Its authentication is 2048-bit RSA with an own SSL and TSL security protocol.



SSTP is the abbreviation given for another security protocol. Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol comes integrated with most Microsoft operating systems. It utilizes an SSL channel to L2TP traffic. With an SSTP VPN protocol, you are sure of data transmission and encryption as well.

An SSTP protocol also checks the integrity of traffic. This feature, together with its use of an SSL over a TCP port 443, enables it to bypass several firewalls and proxy servers. An SSTP protocol also enables you to modify it to increase its security feature. You could use a smart chip for this purpose.

For authentication purposes, SSTP uses a 2048-bit SSL certificate that is also incorporated with a 256-bit SSL keys for encryption. Other services that employ the services of an SSTP protocol are the smart card authentication, windows and the windows VPN client. SSTP works fine in a network link that is not tunneled and has sufficient bandwidth. A limited bandwidth causes a decrease in its performance.


This is a widely used VPN across the globe. It’s a tunneling protocol referred to as Layer 2 Tunnel Protocol. L2TP is an improvement of Cisco’s L2F and PPTP developed by Microsoft. Worth noting is that L2TP doesn’t have an encryption of its own but uses a tunnel encryption protocol.

IPsec is used together with L2TP for a secure connection given L2TP’s vulnerability brought about by a lack of encryption. A combination of L2TP/IPsec protocol is one of the secure connections you will come across. It uses an AES 256bit key to encrypt traffic. However, word has it that IPsec was compromised by the National Security Agency.

L2TP improves the functioning of a point to point protocol. PPP makes vulnerable the data transmitted between clientsand servers. On the contrary, L2TP secures your data transmission by de-multiplexing data packets. The downside to using an L2TP encryption is that its performance is greatly reduced, however, it gives you a very secure connection.



Point to Point TunnelingProtocolis an old VPN protocol. This protocol was designed and incorporated into Windows 95. Its primary function was to work with dial-up connections. Since its creation in 1995, it has suffered major security leaks that have exposed its data to hackers and the government.

Its authentication protocols like the common MS-CHAP-v1/v2 have been found to be completely insecure. It’s not worth putting your money into this protocol as your data won’t be secure.

In all these setbacks of a PPTP VPN control, users still find it useful because of its fast computational and connection speeds. This stems from the fact that it does not have strong security features that would slow down its transmission speed.  Accessing online streaming services that are censored is easier with this protocol.



Internet Key Exchange version 2 was developed by both Microsoft and Cisco. IKEv2 is not an encryption in itself but a tunneling protocol that serves to provide a key exchange that is secure. To make it authentic, IKEv2 is paired up with IPsec that adds security to its vulnerabilities.

Most VPN solutions used in mobile phones prefer this protocol because of its fast ability to reconnect mobile phones to the internet in the event of a network switch or temporal loss of an internet connection.

IKEv2 works in a wide range of operating systems including Blackberry, Windows and iOS. All said, there is still a danger in using IKEV2 protocol as its security vulnerabilities are said to be exploited by NSA.

Bottom line

Whether using a VPN or considering to use one, you want to invest in a VPN that has the right protocol for your security online. Different VPN protocols have been in the market for a long period of time. Be sure to check its security features and connection speed before settling for one. 

Nisha Pandey, the visionary force behind SEOTechyworld, is a luminary in the realms of SEO, technology, and cloud infrastructure. With an unwavering passion for staying at the forefront of digital advancements, Nisha has been an influential figure in the blogging sphere since 2014. Her journey as a blogger reflects not just a timeline, but a narrative of expertise and dedication. Nisha's in-depth knowledge of SEO intricacies and her ability to decode the complexities of evolving technology have made her a trusted source in the digital marketing community. Through SEOTechyworld, she endeavors to bridge the gap between technological innovation and its practical applications, providing her audience with insights that are both cutting-edge and actionable. As a seasoned professional, Nisha continues to inspire and guide, leaving an indelible mark on the ever-evolving community of SEO and technology.

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