What are VPN protocols?

A VPN protocol is a set of rules or instructions that determine how data routes between your device and the VPN server. VPN providers rely on protocols to ensure a stable and secure connection. Every VPN protocol has its own pros and cons when it comes to speed, security, and stability.

WireGuard - the future of VPN protocols

WireGuard is hailed by many as the future of VPN and it's not without reason. Utilizing state-of-the-art cryptography, WireGuard is extremely easy to set up and easy to operate. This protocol is agile and reconnects fast and supports UDP protocol. One of the biggest upsides of WireGuard is the simplistic yet effective code, unlike many of its predecessors.

The fastest VPN protocol on the market
Multiple test results show WireGuard's superior speeds in comparison with OpenVPN and even IKEv2. The UDP protocol WireGuard utilizes is the best choice if you're in need of improved speeds. WireGuard achieves instant connection, unlike OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec.

WireGuard is a great choice for an average user, providing outstanding performance and bandwidth, powerful encryption, and constant updates and it is easy to use and set up. However, it is still in development and may not be the best option for users who require out-of-the-box support of obfuscation features to get a stable connection for China. Besides, WireGuard stores connected IP addresses on the server until it is rebooted.

IKEv2 - The fastest VPN protocol

IKEv2 is one of the best VPN encryption protocols and a relatively new one. IKEv2 ensures the safe data flow between the user’s device and the VPN server. IKEv2 works in tandem with IPSec, a secure network protocol responsible for setting up a secure tunnel to send your traffic to the server. IKEv2 performs authentication and maintains security associations, while IPSec sends the data once the security association gets established. IKEv2 is one of the most widespread VPN protocols at the moment, thanks to its superior speed and security.

From IKEv1 to IKEv2
Just like PPTP, both the IKEv1 and IKEv2 protocols were co-developed by Cisco and Microsoft, although they saw the light of day in 1998 and 2005, respectively. The second version of the protocol packs plenty of considerable improvements over the IKEv1. It provides more security because it supports more algorithms, requires less bandwidth, and can be used on mobile devices. In other words, It’s more straightforward and more reliable. IKEv2 boasts some considerable advantages even in comparison to an industry-standard OpenVPN: faster speeds, stability, security, and auto-reconnection, easily restoring dropped connections.

Mobility and Multi-homing Protocol is yet another useful feature in the IKEv2 arsenal, which can adapt to a change in any network, allowing it to switch between different sources without losing the connection. It is a huge advantage for mobile users, allowing them to switch effortlessly between WiFi and mobile data on demand. It is an excellent asset for travelers. Besides that, IKEv2 boasts native Windows, Mac OS, and iOS support.

IKEv2 tends to be faster than the OpenVPN protocol due to lower CPU usage. However, some firewalls can block the IKEv2 protocol due to the UDP 500 port it utilizes.
Excellent for both performance and security. We highly recommend using this protocol wherever possible.

OpenVPN - a time-tested VPN protocol

OpenVPN is an open-source VPN encryption protocol. It is by far the most popular VPN protocol and a default one to many VPN services. Besides being fast and secure, it is also extremely customizable. OpenVPN is supported across all popular operating systems and mobile devices. Moreover, it can be configured to disguise VPN traffic for a regular one and bypass VPN blocking.

TCP/UDP Compatibility
Users can toggle between more reliable TCP and faster streaming-oriented UDP protocols. TCP works best when you need additional protection, while UDP is a better fit for downloading and streaming content.

OpenVPN is a great choice in all respects, even though it may be pretty tricky to set up manually despite its versatility. Luckily for you, with the ZoogVPN client, these manipulations are unnecessary. OpenVPN is available across our desktop and Android apps out-of-the-box.

Want to use IKEv2 or OpenVPN? Download an app for your device.

L2TP/IPSec VPN protocol

L2TP was developed in 1999 to replace flawed PPTP and L2F protocols. For the most part, it is utilized in conjunction with IPSec tunneling protocol since L2TP does not provide encryption or authentication features itself. However, together these two provide a robust and secure solution, preventing data from being altered when moving between sender and receiver. The combination of L2TP and IPSec makes web browsing a secure experience, thanks to 256-bit key encryption. Besides that, it encrypts the authentication process. L2TP has built-in support for various operating systems and even mobile devices.

While the L2TP/IPSec duo is a decent solution for your privacy, it lacks in terms of dealing with unblocking different services and can suffer from VPN blocking. L2TP/IPSec is slower than the newer OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols, and it requires a lot of computing power as it is very CPU intensive. Overall, L2TP is a good choice if OpenVPN and IKEv2 are unavailable.

PPTP VPN protocol

PPTP is one of the most widespread and easy-to-operate protocols out there. Cisco initially engineered it for Microsoft employees to have a stable internet connection when working from home. It is also very old. Having been developed in ancient by technology’s standards 1999, this protocol is pretty outdated with more secure and fast alternatives like OpenVPN or IKEv2 available to everyone.

PPTP is a solid choice if speed and connection stability are the key features you’re looking for. The protocol is supported across nearly all devices and operating systems. However, it is the least secure protocol, as it does not include any strong encryption methods and can be easily brute-forced. It is still a pretty good solution if you’re out in public connected to a public Wi-FI network for a short amount of time, as it would take hours, if not days, to crack your session. PPTP could also be used for combatting censorship.

You should probably consider IKEv2 or OpenVPN as your primary choices if you prioritize your personal data security or intend to utilize VPN for business matters or work.

Do you want to set up a VPN manually? Check a detailed setup wizard.

It depends on your needs. If you are serious about security, we recommend going with OpenVPN (TCP). If you want to achieve the best speeds possible, IKEv2 and OpenVPN (UDP) are the best solutions. Anyway, IKEv2 and OpenVPN have never been compromised yet.

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You should probably consider IKEv2 or OpenVPN, as these are reliable, secure, and fast protocols. They will handle easily your streaming, gaming, and social media needs. You can’t go wrong with any of them.

All things considered, IKEv2 and OpenVPN are the fastest secure protocols available on ZoogVPN. While the latter two are great overall options, you should take into account the speed of your internet connection, compatibility of your device and router, VPN overload. These factors may have a significant impact on your browsing experience.

The most secure protocols are OpenVPN and IKEv2. They are both compatible with a range of ciphers, including a virtually impenetrable AES-256. Cracking the AES-256 would take more years than our universe has existed. Moreover, the US government utilizes AES to protect classified information to this day. However, you should always use strong passwords and a 2-step authentication so that the hacker doesn’t get access to your cryptographic key.

The PPTP is, without a doubt, the least secure VPN protocol. With modern computers, it can be brute-forced in a matter of hours. The protocol’s many vulnerabilities had surfaced by 2012, leaving users open to certain types of attacks. However, PPTP was never considered a secure solution in the first place and was designed for other purposes. 

IPSec is a set of protocols used to organize encrypted and secure connections between devices. It is often used to set up a virtual private network. IPSec supports a variety of ciphers including 3DES, AES, and AES-256, providing strong security to its users. Unlike SSL, IPSec may be tricky to set up on your own.

SSL (Secure socket layer) is a cryptographic protocol used to secure the data when it’s being sent between two systems, whereas TLS (Transport layer security) is just an updated and more secure version of SSL. SSL/TLS is usually easier to set up than IPSec. Unlike IPSec, SSL virtual private networks access specific applications, therefore IPSec is less penetrable.  


TCP (Transmission control protocol) and UDP (User datagram protocol) are different ways of sending data on the internet. TCP is the most popular network protocol, it is a connection-oriented protocol, and it prioritizes security over speed, while the UDP does not guarantee error-checking and data recovery, is less reliable but much faster, which makes it a better option for streaming or gaming.

IKEv2 provides constant connectivity since it utilizes the MOBIKE protocol, allowing IKEv2 to switch between different sources without losing the connection.

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