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Do you wish to know the major differences between TCP and UDP protocol? You have arrived at the right place. After reading this exclusive TCP vs UDP review, you will be able to overcome your confusion regarding these internet protocols significantly.

Before moving further, it is necessary for you to know the importance of these protocols appropriately.

You opt a VPN to secure your online tasks from the vicious eyes of ISPs and online hackers.


But, at times you are unable to choose the right kind of protocol if you are connected through OpenVPN connection. This is where understanding the differences between TCP and UDP protocol comes in handy.

Explore my detailed review about these above-mentioned internet protocols to remove your misconceptions from your minds.


What is TCP?

TCP commonly known as Transmission Control Protocol offers next level reliability to its users. You should not get confused if someone says TCP as Stateful Protocol. When you wish to send data packets, you have to use TCP protocol.

Subscribers prefer to avail TCP over UDP because of its excellent reliability feature. You can consider these packets in the form of data bits that travel online. You send data all the time directly or indirectly.

You would be thinking how.

When you talk to your friend online, send an email or surf the page through your browser, you tend to send data over the internet. Surprisingly, you send the data in small packets.

What is TCP in detail

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Is TCP a One-Way Communication?

When you conduct online activities, your browser sends your data in the form of packet. Furthermore, the browser sends these packets to the server and the server sends back these packets to the browser. It means TCP does not belong to the category of one-way communication.

Does TCP Number the Data Packets?

TCP gives specific number to data packets. As a result, receivers are able to attain them in a systematic order. The receivers send acknowledgement to senders once they have received the packet. In case, receiver does not send the acknowledgement, TCP perceives that it did not deliver the packet.

Consequently, it will send the packet to the recipient.

How Does it Offer Next Level Reliability?

The best thing about TCP protocol is the availability of an advanced reliability benefit. It evaluates data packets for errors and reaffirms that the user request is accomplished successfully. In addition, it ensures that there is no data lost in between packets.

Similarly, TCP examines data packet if they are corrupt or not. When you have to download files, you should opt TCP protocol as it performs the downloading procedure without any fuss.


What is UDP?

Like TCP, UDP also perform the same function that is sending data packets over the internet. UDP stands for User Datagram Protocol. Likewise, you may call it stateless protocol too.

This protocol sends data packet at much faster pace as compared to TCP. This is why it does not follow error-checking process at all. It overlooks reliability factor that makes UDP a lightweight protocol.

What is UDP

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UDP is Suitable for Gaming and Streaming Purpose

Gaming geeks from all around the world prefer to use UDP as it offer appreciable speeds. If you want to fulfill your media streaming needs, you will have to rely on UDP as well.

When you play games over the internet, you only go for real time happenings. There is no harm in overlooking some glitches if you want to enjoy gaming experience next level.


On the other hand, TCP does not support gaming activities as you may face buffering issues.  Your game would become extremely slow in case you choose TCP over UDP.

Differences between TCP and UDP

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TCP and UDP: What are the Major Differences?

As already discussed, both TCP and UDP are used to make online communications efficient between the server and client. Here is the list of some of the other key differences you should consider before selecting your preferred internet protocol:

  • Connection
  • Speed
  • Reliability
  • Acknowledgement
  • Congestion control
  • Applications

Understanding Differences between TCP and UDP

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TCP is connection focused and UDP is connectionless. TCP creates connection between the server and client before sending data packets.

You may term the above described process as TCP handshaking process. In case of UDP, you will not find such kind of connection. data packets are usually sent on individual basis without taking reliability into account.


Speed does make a world of difference between TCP and UDP protocol. UDP does not follow different requirements thus able to send data packets at faster pace.


You have to depend on TCP due to its impressive reliability feature. Sadly, UDP protocol users do not have such sort of luxury. Despite being slow, TCP still does the job perfectly as it delivers required level of protection to users.


TCP protocol follows the concept of acknowledgment. As soon as receivers attain data packets, senders also obtain acknowledgment.  UDP surprisingly do not have the compulsion of acknowledgement as the sender does not if the receiver has received the packets or not.

Congestion control

As TCP is connection oriented, it removes the element of congestion to certain degree. Conversely, UDP is connectionless and due to this provision, data packets may be lost. Users are unable to do anything about this loss of data packets.


Users adapt TCP when they are concerned about reliability and not on speed. Similarly, you will prefer to connect to UDP protocol when you want to attain better speeds to play online games. In addition, UDP allows you to stream video content without any problem.

TCP Ports vs UDP Ports

When data packets are sent to your devices over the internet, they are validated via TCP or UDP port. Your IP addresses have number of ports that you can assume as TCP or UDP ports.

If you send your data through TCP port, it will take help from one of the TCP ports. The same goes for UDP as users’ data, which is sent through UDP, it will use one of users’ UDP ports.

TCP vs UDP Comparison

Basis for AnalysisTCPUDP
Connection TypeConnection orientedConnection less
MeaningTransmission Control ProtocolUser Datagram protocol
Size of header20 bytes8 bytes
Acknowledgement gives acknowledgementDoes not give acknowledgment
Reliability YesNo
Congestion controlYesNo
ApplicationsEmail, web browsing, file transferGaming, video conferencing, streaming


Situations Where You Should Avoid Using TCP Protocol

Interestingly, you will not find much of a difference between TCP and UDP protocols. Still, both follow diverse mechanism when it comes to sending your data to its final destination.

Yes, you read it correctly.

You might be wondering how it is possible.

You can assume TCP as one of the most trusted protocols that send your data to the desired location securely. This is because TCP transforms your data into numerous packets.

Once it has changed your data, it will send it on another machine that resides on the other terminal. This is the reason you may face plenty of issues while playing real time games.

For instance, you want to play your favorite real time game hassle-free but you are unable to do so.

What does it mean?

It means you have to input the data as quickly as possible however; it is not possible with TCP protocol. Therefore, online real time gamers should not use TCP protocol at any cost. Otherwise, it may spoil their gaming fun a great deal.

The above situation depicts you should rely on protocols other than TCP when you need a fast speed. It could be either gaming or video streaming since both activities require a fast internet protocol like UDP.

Click here to check out the best VPNs you can use for gaming.

What Did You Get After Checking Out This Evaluation?

After performing the above analysis, I rate TCP IP protocol quite highly. The said protocol has beaten UDP by some huge distance. Overall, it is still difficult to predict who the final winner is.

What would be the case if you do not want all these features and only go for speed?

Again, it is tough to answer nevertheless I have got you covered.


Can I Use Both of Them?

In case you are assuming you may use both these internet protocols in conjunction, you may not achieve your objective.

If you think you are free to use them as VPN protocol for improved performance, this is next to impossible.

It would take lot of efforts to mix both these protocols because these protocols may intrude each other.

There is still a ray of hope.

You can experience the benefits of UDP as well as TCP protocols appropriately. This is because numerous VPNs offer switching function in their apps.

This way, you can use TCP or UDP protocol accordingly.



OpenVPN connections allow you to consider using either TCP or UDP internet protocols. It depends how you use them eventually. Both these internet protocols have their own pros and cons that you should not overlook at any cost.

See also: Guide to Compare VPN Services for 2019


Wrapping Up

I hope you would have liked my TCP vs UDP review. Selecting the right kind of protocol depends on your penchants. If you belong to a corporate world, TCP turns out to the right option for you.

In situations like sharing and handling crucial data, you are bound to rely on reliability. Thus, you should use TCP protocol. Likewise, you can select TCP to perform banking or financial transactions anonymously.

On the other hand, if speed is your ultimate choice, opt UDP protocol without a shadow of doubt. In case you want to play online games with better speeds, use UDP protocol again.

Tell me your experiences after choosing UDP or TCP protocol by commenting below.