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Get to Know VPN Encryption Protocols – Pros and Cons

Your VPN uses a certain encryption protocol – or gives you several to select from – to encrypt your data. But what does it all mean, what are they, and what is each one good at? We’ll explore that in this article so that you know more about your VPN client. You can then use the strengths of each of the different VPN encryption protocols to your advantage.

Get to Know VPN Encryption Protocols – Pros and Cons

I’m going to do this in point form bullet notes of pros and cons at first. If you want to learn more, simply scroll down to the conclusion for my summary.

PPTP VPN encryption protocols

vpn encryption protocols differencesPros:

  • Easy to setup, commonly handled by the software itself
  • Can be used on nearly every operating system
  • You can enjoy fast connections


  • Has the lowest level of encryption amongst all available VPN encryption protocols
  • The MS-CHAP v.2 has a known exploit
  • Firewalls are able to block it

OpenVPN encryption protocols


  • Will bypass firewalls
  • Uses a very complex algorithm for encryption
  • You can configure it through an open source VPN client
  • Used by custom app providers


  • Beginners will find it confusing and difficult to set up on their own
  • You must have a client or app to run it

L2TP/IPsec VPN encryption protocols


  • Has a level of encryption above PPTP with an additional passkey authentication step
  • Can be used on nearly every operating system
  • Offers fast connections with very secure encryption


  • Can lag slightly behind VPN protocols such as OpenVPN
  • Overall efficiency of connection may decrease due to considerable overhead of encapsulated PPP packets

SSTP VPN encryption protocols


  • Uses AES encryption algorithms for highest level of security
  • Used frequently by businesses and universities with sensitive data


  • Not currently available on Mac, iOS, or Android systems
  • Connection speed is slower due to extra level of encryption
  • Not all VPN providers offer SSTP encryption protocols

Conclusion on VPN encryption protocols

To look at PPTP in an easy to understand fashion, it offers the weakest level of VPN encryption protocol security, but is also the fastest. It is perfect for the casual user who wants a bit of security added on, but doesn’t want their connection to slow down considerably.

Those who want to truly enhance their security will have to look at OpenVPN, SSTP, and L2TP VPN encryption protocols. These have stronger levels of encryption. The trade off is that they may cause some slow down with your connection. OpenVPN and SSTP offer the highest levels of VPN protocol encryption.

This all becomes important as the best VPN providers offer you the chance to choose what VPN encryption protocol you choose from an easy to understand drop-down menu. If you didn’t know what all this meant before, now you can use it to enjoy the VPN you choose the way you need it.

Feature image via La1n / Shutterstock