Although VPNs are used for many different reasons but usually they are used to access geo-restricted websites and to maintain online privacy and anonymity. There are many different VPN protocols that are used globally. Some of the most popular ones are PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN, SSTP and SoftEther. As you can anticipate, each one of them has different architecture, characteristics and pros and cons. Let’s compare these VPN protocols based on their key characteristics.
There is direct connection between the encryption, performance and required processing power. PPTP is generally not considered safe because it used 128 bit encryption. L2TP/IPSec uses 256 bit encryption which provides necessary security without compromising the overall performance drastically. SoftEther also uses 256 bit encryption and it is faster than L2TP/IPSec. OpenVPN uses 160 and 256 bit encryption powered by OpenSSL while SSTP uses 2048 bit encryption powered by TLS.
When it comes to performance, PPTP has no match as it is the least secured VPN protocol with very light encryption. Usually this is used for unblocking geo-restricted contents and streaming. L2TP/IPSec and SoftEther are fast too and they also have powerful encryption. SSTP is slower than PPTP but it is still better than OpenVPN which is the slowest VPN protocol used mainly because of its security.
SSTP and SoftEther can penetrate through firewalls and this is mainly because of SoftEther site to site connection. OpenVPN is considered a preferable choice on unreliable networks while L2TP/IPSec works fine on NAT devices. However, PPTP is not considered reliable on advance devices and unreliable networks.
Ease of Configuration
SSTP comes with Microsoft operating system and it is configurable by personnel with experience of Windows based platforms. PPTP is one of the easiest VPN protocols to configure on all supported devices and almost anyone with little or no technical knowledge at all can configure it. SoftEther is hard to configure because it is relatively newer technology and not much information is available on the subject at this moment. L2TP/IPSec is also easy to setup but OpenVPN is very hard to configure because it is highly configurable and needs 3rd party software.
Processing Power Required
SSTP is the most efficient VPN protocol because it is integrated with Windows based operating systems on core level. PPTP also needs very little processing power because of its encryption but we cannot say it is efficient. OpenVPN delivers slow performance but it work efficiently when it comes to performance and it can also deal with network latency. L2TP/IPSec uses more processing power than PPTP because of its high level of encryption and it also encrypts the data twice. SoftEther is the least efficient VPN protocol because it heavily relies on software.
Which VPN protocol is the best?
It depends on what is your purpose of using VPN connection; if you are using it to unblock geo-restricted contents only and you don’t need online privacy then PPTP is the best option. If you want to use VPN to be anonymous on the internet then stronger VPN protocols like OpenVPN and SoftEther are recommended.