VPN Tunnels Explained – What Are They and How do They Work?

VPN Tunnels

What Are VPN Protocols and How do They Work?

Malicious hackers, online pirates, your ISP, and even your government are interested in learning as much as they can about your online activities and interests. If you’re a privacy-conscious user that employs a VPN, you probably know what VPN tunnels are. They are some of the most crucial security features that stand between you and everyone else on the other side.

If you’re not exactly familiar with what they are and how they work, you’ve come to the right place! In this Zlog post, we’ll explain what VPN tunnels are, talk you through the most common types, and help you decide which one is the best choice for your online privacy and security needs.

What are VPN Tunnels? 

VPN tunnels work just like their name suggests. When you connect to a VPN server, the VPN’s tunnel envelops your network and encrypts any data coming from your device. It masks all identifiable information you would otherwise be sharing with the open Internet. 

This includes your IP address, your online preferences and activities, and all other detectable data. It means that no one can track you down through that tunnel, snoop around your sensitive data or find out your actual location on the other end.

Common Types of VPN Tunnels

There are many different VPN protocols, but a handful stands out as the most common and widely-used ones. These include:

OpenVPN (UDP vs. TCP)

We’ll start with the best-known and most common VPN tunneling protocol in the industry – OpenVPN. It’s an open-source protocol that works across all devices and platforms and provides the user with incredible customizability. The UDP vs. TCP stamp means that it can run over both TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) or UDP (User Datagram Protocol) tunneling protocols.

OpenVPN is the best-balanced protocol for online users looking for a combination of privacy and security. It provides a great set of encryption and security features to protect your valuable information and can still offer excellent unblocking performance and connection speed. 


Point to Point Protocol is a veteran protocol by all standards, as it’s been used for over two decades, and many VPN services still use it nowadays. It’s simple to use and very user-friendly. PPTP’s strongest suits are that it’s one of the fastest VPN protocols, even though it’s also one of the oldest ones.

The main downside of PPTP is that it has very low encryption levels and is one of the least safe VPN tunneling protocols. For these reasons, it’s a perfect choice for users looking for basic security and fast network speeds but far from ideal for those who are primarily looking for online privacy and security.


L2TP and IPSec are actually two separate protocols combined in one to offer the best of both worlds. The two protocols work perfectly as one. L2TP uses encryption for its own messages while IPSec encrypts the data and content that passes through the tunnel. Such a security system does make this tunneling protocol significantly safer than PPTP. That said, it also makes it slower compared to the previous tunneling protocol.


Internet Key Exchange (version 2) is a VPN tunneling protocol in the IPSec protocol suite. IKEv2 is another security-oriented VPN tunneling protocol, as it has a mechanism that randomly generates encryption keys for the tunnel. This allows it to ensure a very well-encrypted and very secure tunnel between your device and the VPN server you’re connected to.

Which VPN Protocol is Best for Me?

With all of the information we’ve shared with you on this page, you know everything you need to to make an educated decision on which VPN tunneling protocol is best for you. If you’re still unsure which tunneling protocol is the best choice for your online needs, it’s always best to stick with the OpenVPN protocol, as it’s the go-to option for most users.

At ZoogVPN, we offer you all of the industry-best protocols, so you won’t lack options when choosing a suitable choice for your device. OpenVPN UDP vs. TCP, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, and IKEv2 are all at your disposal, coupled with 256-bit encryption and an RSA-2048 handshake. Sign up with ZoogVPN today or try our free subscription plan for an unlimited time!

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