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5 Common Types of Virtual Private Network Protocols

Posted August 12, 2019

For sure, you have possibly heard that using a virtual private network is important to safeguard your privacy. So, now you are asking yourself how do VPNs actually work? Well, that’s unsurprising and understandable.

Although most people recommend using a VPN, not a lot of people take the time to understand and learn the most important part of VPN technologies. A virtual private network arrives with security protocols. These protocols impose a set of guidelines for sending and receiving information on a public network with the appropriate assurance.

Image credit: Petter Lagson via Unsplash (Free Unsplash licence)

Image credit: Petter Lagson via Unsplash (Free Unsplash licence)

For the most part, a virtual private network works with various protocols that rely on various network layers. These protocols encrypt the connection by making the connection private through the idea or notion of tunneling. For a little help, we will walk you through the common VPN protocols, their differences, and the things you need to watch out for. Read on!

What is a Virtual Private Network?

Before we dive into the protocols, let us refresh our minds about a virtual private network. Basically, a virtual private network lets you access the public WI-FI via a private connection. So, when you visit a website, your request goes through the right server, typically sending back the right content.

Technically speaking, your message virtually flows, without hindrance, from A to B, and service or a website can view your IP address, as well as other identifying information. When using a virtual private network, all of your requests are, for the most part, directly forwarded via a private server, held by the VPN provider.

All of your requests go through heads A, C, and B. Still, you can access the information formerly available to you. However, the service or website only has the info of the virtual private network provider, such as their IP address and many more.

There are plenty of uses for a virtual private network, which includes encrypting your communications, avoiding restrictive censorship, and protecting your data and identity.

VPN Protocols

VPN protocols determine precisely how your information or message routes between the VPN server and your computer. A VPN protocol has different specs, providing benefits to users in many ways. For example, some protocols focus on speed, while others prioritize on security and privacy.

Here are the most common VPN protocols.

1. SSL

SSL or known as the Secure Socket Layer is a virtual private network protocol which secures an HTTP request. Various applications such as chat messenger and websites are steered to have a secure connection between the application server and the browser. And HTTPS securely build the relationship of an application server to a web browser.

SSL works with data authentication through a critical mutual generation, which are public keys used for both decrypting and encrypting the request details. Encryption is carried out when the request is roughly sent by the browser. Likewise, decryption is performed when the application is about to be received by the server.

2. OpenVPN TCP

OpenVPN is a well-known security protocol devised by James Yonan. It is open-source and published under the General Public License, giving the community access to edit or see the source code so that any flaws are determined and dealt with.

So, OpenVPN comes in two types: OpenVPN TCP and OpenVPN UDP. First, we’ll discuss the OpenVPN TCP. This variant is based on the transmission control protocol (TCP), which integrated with the IP, creating a set of guidelines for how devices exchange information back and forth.

In other words, TCP is a protocol that’s connection-oriented. Plus, it establishes and maintains this connection functioning while applications exchange data. The transmission control protocol is leveraged mostly on the internet.

One of its perks or good points is that it has an integrated error connection. Meaning, each chunk of data conveyed, a confirmation of the arrival of the packet is required before the next packet is sent. If no verification is obtained, the current data gets re-sent.

3. OpenVPN UDP

UDP or User Datagram Protocol is yet another communications protocol for sending or conveying data between the user and the internet. Not like OpenVPN TCP, OpenVPN UDP is designed to target low-latency sending of data, but reliability is sacrificed.

In that case, UDP only sends the data without confirmation and verification. Thus, it has less upkeeps and is lower latency. These traits or attributes make OpenVPN UDP ideal for video and audio streaming activities, as well as gaming.

4. Internet Protocol Security (IPSec)

This VPN protocol is, for the most part, used to protect Internet communication against threats throughout an IP network. Internet Protocol Security secures IP communication by checking, validating the session and conceal each data packet while connecting.

This VPN protocol runs in two modes, namely, Tunneling mode and Transport mode. The transport mode works by encrypting messages in the data packet. On the other hand, the tunneling mode convert the entire data packet into a cipher or code. Internet Protocol Security can, without a doubt, be leveraged with other protocols to enhance and boost the security system.


SSTP or secure socket tunneling protocol is yet another famous and renowned virtual private network protocol. It arrives with one remarkable benefit, which is being completely unified with every Microsoft OS.

Meaning, you can use this VPN protocol with Winlogon, a smart chip. Moreover, a lot of VPN providers have particular integrated SSTP guidelines available, which you can discover on the website of your VPN provider.


So, SST, OpenVPN TCP, OpenVPN UDP, IPSec, and SSTP are some of the common types of virtual private network protocols. SST secures an HTTP request. OpenVPN TCP is targeted to maximize data transmission reliability. OpenVPN UDP transmits information without the checks and redundancy. IPSec is used to protect Internet communication against threats throughout an IP network. And lastly, SSTP is known for its incredible security and is hard to detect and block. Above anything else, be sure to get to know the different best vpn providers in the market today so that you can choose the best for your needs.

Author’s Bio: Tyler Pack is a real estate consultant and journalist, with a passion for smart homes technology. He is keen on writing about home and property security, and cybersecurity.

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