There was a time when gaming used to be simpler. You could play games with AIs without necessarily having an Internet connection. Nowadays, online gaming is all the rage. As with everything on the Internet, a good multi-player gaming experience is only possible if you have fast Internet.
If you use VPN services to access restricted gaming servers, you will undoubtedly be searching for the fastest VPN providers. However, these services depend on the protocols on which they operate. Therefore, in this blog I will compare the different protocols and how they impact speed of your connection.
There are multiple protocols that VPN services can use to form a private tunnel from user device to a website server. How do these compare against each other when it comes to speed? Read on below.
1. PPTP (The Fastest Protocol for Gaming So Far)
PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol) was the first tunneling protocol that saw the light of day. It is a bare protocol that is not accompanied by an encryption system. As such, it is able to perform quite fast without being burdened by encryption overhead.
Since a good online gaming experience requires good speed, PPTP is the best VPN protocol for gaming. Nonetheless, it is notorious for its weakness in terms of security and is riddled with a myriad of vulnerabilities waiting to be exploited by hackers. So, if you only need speed and can compromise on security, then PPTP is the protocol you are looking for.
For more information, read: VPN protocols guide.
2. L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol)
The L2TP protocol was an improvement over PPTP. Although it does not have any built-in encryption like its predecessor, it can be used alongside IPSec or Internet Protocol Security which provides encryption and authentication to the protocol. You may wonder which protocol is better between L2TP vs IPSec. The truth is they both support each other as one offers tunneling while the latter offers security.
L2TP has less security problems than PPTP, but it is slower than the latter. So, cross this one out of your list of potential protocols to use.
3. SSTP (Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol)
SSTP was a massive improvement over the preceding two protocols. However, this one was only limited for support on Windows, with latter nascent support becoming available for Linux and MacOS. It is more secure than L2TP and a tad faster, but still has many security flaws.
OpenVPN is an excellent protocol in every way. It is fast AND it is secure. This is a direct result of the fact that it is the first true open source protocol and thus is regularly updated for improvement. It is no surprise that all the best VPN for gaming use OpenVPN as the primary protocol.
But should you use OpenVPN protocol TCP or UDP? Since it works over both ports, you can choose either option. However, it works better on UDP ports. Although PPTP works the fastest and is the protocol I would recommend if low pings and latency is your priority, OpenVPN is the better overall solution.
I say this because hackers have made their way into gaming servers as well and you can be a victim of malware of hacks while gaming without having any added protection. So, if you value security and need speed at the same time, then OpenVPN should be your preferred protocol.
IKEv2 is another tunneling protocol that is usually used in combination with IPSec. IKEv2 is particularly good for mobile phones. It delivers robust security at fast speeds. Unfortunately, it is hampered by its limited availability on devices and operating systems.
Moreover, since it is more suitable for mobile phones, it is not so ideal for gaming as most online gaming is available on PCs.
VPN Protocols Summary
To sum up the discussion above:
PPTP: As far as speed is concerned, this protocol is your best bet for smooth and seamless gaming. Keep in mind that it is a very insecure protocol, though.
L2TP/IPSec: L2TP was a good improvement over PPTP in terms of security, it too has become obsolete now. Not a protocol you should get if you are a gaming fan.
SSTP: SSTP is a good protocol for Windows. But its range of compatibility is small and is itself known for security flaws, despite being an improvement over L2TP and PPTP.
OpenVPN: Easily the best protocol that covers both speed and security requirements for the modern hack-prone cyberspace. I would recommend OpenVPN to users who want a smooth and safe gameplay experience.
IKEv2: Could have been much more than what it actually turned out to be. It is a secure and fast protocol, but is primarily suited for mobile phones. So, it is not ideal for online gaming.
The best protocol for gaming is either PPTP or OpenVPN depending on your preference. While the former is faster overall, the latter offers better security with good enough speed.
So there you have it. You can try experimenting with these protocols to see which delivers the best gaming performance for you.
Don’t forget to forward your suggestions in the comments section below.