How to Select the Appropriate VPN Protocol

As more users turn to Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to solve their Internet security needs, they need to become more tech savvy. It is not uncommon for users to have a plethora of questions regarding service offerings. This is because the variety of VPN providers on the market and the varying services that they offer can be bewildering. Some of the most commonly asked questions about VPN services concern VPN protocols. Protocols are the specific languages VPNs use to communicate between devices and servers. Let's look at the various VPN protocols and how they affect users.

Type of Device Being Used

The first aspect that must be examined when determining the type of protocol that is best suited for the user's needs is the device in question. Protocols vary depending on the device because not all devices are able to support the same protocols. Mobile devices, for example, are picky about certain protocols, especially since they do not have the same amount of processor power that a desktop device does.

Desktop devices can support virtually any type of protocol while mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, require more specific features. The best type of protocol for a device is the one that is best supported by the device itself. A VPN provider can help the user determine which VPN should be used when they are shopping around.

Types of Protocols

Reputable VPN providers will offer more than one VPN protocol. Reputable providers will take the time and effort to help users choose the correct for protocols for particular devices. Nevertheless, users should take it upon themselves to read up on the protocols and determine which method is best.

Providers typically offer three main types of protocol choices. These choices are OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP/IPsec. These offer varying levels of Internet security and communications speed. While all three options are able to provide an adequate browsing speed, security levels between them vary. L2TP/IPsec, for example, requires more computer processing speed to encapsulate, or secure, the data that it sends and receives. Because of this, it is the slowest of the three, but it also offers a higher level of security than the standard PPTP. OpenVPN is a favorite of desktops. Factors like this should weigh heavily in the user's decision.

Purposes for Using VPN

The final factor that will determine which protocol best suits the user's needs is the purposes for which the user plans to use the VPN. If the VPN is being installed on a smartphone, for example, it may be used simply for personal viewing purposes. For this, the PPTP protocol would be more than adequate given the level of speed it provides. PPTP is also the least secure method, so it should not be relied upon for activities such as online shopping or accessing personal bank or credit card information.