VPN (Virtual Private Network) is known to be the best way to protect your privacy while browsing the web. With a VPN, users can enjoy a secure Internet connection due to very strong encryption being used while sending and receiving data. This secured tunnel hides the real IP address and geo-location of the users, allowing them to access sites anonymously. There are many different types of VPN based on protocol, and it is important that you understand them. Here are some of the most common ones.
OpenVPN is an open source implementation that supports different kinds of encryption from the OpenSSL library and SSL v3/TLS v1 protocol. However, you need third party software no matter which platform you use. Nevertheless, it can bypass HTTP proxy and offers high level of security, even against the NSA (National Security Agency). It is fast and reliable, but it quite harder to set up than the others.
PPTP (point-to-point tunneling protocol), which was developed by a consortium founded by Microsoft, relies on various authentication methods to provide security. But despite being widely supported protocol before, it is now considered as not being totally secured because of its low, 128-bit encryption. However, it is relatively fast and very easy to set up because no additional software is required.
L2TP (Layer 2 Tunnel Protocol) is considered as an extension of PPTP, but does not provide encryption. Instead, it relies on the security protocol as it passes through the tunnel while protecting the privacy of users. Therefore, it is ideal for not so critical use. This is also why it is usually being implemented with IPsec, which uses cryptographic security services as protection to its users.
SSTP (Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol) is basically an L2TP protocol over SSL connection. But because it a proprietary standard owned by Microsoft, it is applicable to Windows platform only. However, it is highly secured and can bypass most firewalls. In short, it offers almost all the advantages of OpenVPN, except that it cannot be independently audited for back doors or similar cases.
The above explanations might look so technical and therefore can be confusing. But if you want to know the best VPN for you, check the offers of various VPN protocols. Then, compare them to what you really need and how you will use VPN. Know where the VPN service provider is based, the number of simultaneous connections it can serve, their log policy, and of course, the bandwidth. But more importantly, you should know which countries the service can cover or the location of the servers.
The different VPN protocols mainly differ on the level of security they can provide. In that case, OpenVPN could be the best option so far. The availability of mobile apps is an added advantage since many people are now using mobile devices. And although L2TP/IPsec also works well in public Wi-Fi hotspots, OpenVPN is highly configurable and very scalable, making it efficient for businesses.