TV shows are a big part of my life. I don’t know if that’s sad or pathetic, but Netflix sure as hell makes my life less boring. Imagine the horror that befalls my sorry existence when sluggish speeds prevent fast HD quality streaming in all its glory. it should also be kept in mind that both the platforms are Geo-restricted therefore you will be need a Netflix or Hulu VPN to access content out side the US.
Experimenting around with different protocols to get the best streaming results, I have learned that you can’t expect the same performance from every protocol. Just like fastest VPN services vary in speed from server to server, online streaming speed is affected by the protocol you are using.
So what is the fastest protocol for streaming? Let’s take a look at each protocol and pull out an answer.
VPN Protocols Comparison
VPN services, as you might already know, form a private tunnel between your device and the website you are connected to on the Internet. However, every form of communication on the Internet follows certain standards and protocols.
Simply put, a protocol is an agreed procedure or method by which two or more parties on the Internet can transmit, receive, and understand data. Each protocol uses different type of encryption methods for security. As a rule, encryption adds more security to your data, but at the cost of reduced speed. Some encryption methods have a more pronounced effect on speed than others.
Read on below to find out details about each protocol and their speed. For more information, you can check out our page VPN protocols explained.
1. PPTP (The Fastest Protocol for Streaming So Far)
PPTP is not a very well-liked option when it comes to VPN protocols. This is due to the fact that PPTP is notorious for its lack of encryption and authentication, making it the least secure protocol. However, PPTP, as it is understood today, is the particular version that Microsoft developed back at the end of the 20th century, and this version was packed with a basic encryption.
Nonetheless, it has uncountable security flaws which makes it an easy target for government agencies and skilled hackers. For this, you will find the use of PPTP as the preferred protocol discouraged all over the web.
However, one thing that bears mention is that, in spite of its poor security, PPTP beats all modern protocols when it comes to speed. As a result, PPTP is the fastest protocol for streaming and other online activities that require high bandwidth usage for best performance.
Streaming is something that you can sacrifice security for, as chances of being hacked or infected are low, especially if you are using reputable services like Netflix or Hulu. Therefore, PPTP is the protocol to go for if you can’t wait to watch the next episode of your favorite TV show at best quality.
2. L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol)
L2TP shares many similarities with PPTP in that it does not have any encryption of its own. It is usually coupled with a security protocol commonly known as IPSec for Internet Protocol Security, which provides the encryption necessary for security.
L2TP VPNs are still widely used in the modern world. L2TP managed to escape the fate of PPTP in terms of security vulnerabilities. To be sure, it does have some security holes but nowhere as serious nor as many as PPTP does.
The problem is that it is does not offer the same speeds that PPTP is capable of, since it uses comparatively strong encryption. As such, L2TP is not the ideal protocol if fast streaming is your aim.
3. SSTP (Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol)
SSTP is one of the more recent VPN protocols. Unlike PPTP and L2TP, this protocol only has native support for Windows, although there is nascent support for Linux and MacOS. Like its predecessors, SSTP also has some security problem. However, its strength lies in its immunity to VPN blocking and it is able to bypass most forms of restriction.
SSTP is measurably slower than both PPTP and L2TP, and its security features are nothing to write home about either. So, nothing special to see here.
Now OpenVPN is a protocol that deserves to be treated with respect. As the name implies, it is an Open Source protocol which allows it to be regularly updated with better and stronger security features. As such, it is the most secure protocol currently in existence.
OpenVPN uses strong encryption and provides decent speeds. However, you need to use dedicated VPN clients developed by providers to be able to use OpenVPN. This is because no operating system currently offers native support for this protocol.
Although I would strongly recommend OpenVPN to users that prioritize security, it falls short in the speed department. Therefore, for best streaming results, I would still choose PPTP over OpenVPN.
This protocol was developed jointly by Cisco and Microsoft. It is not as common as OpenVPN or L2TP, but IKEv2 VPNs work particularly well for mobiles. IKEv2 is quite fast and offers great security as well. In fact, it performs well even if you consider IKEv2 vs OpenVPN speed.
Unfortunately, it has not been utilized to its full potential since it is not Open Source and remains under-used by providers. As such, it is only supported by a few OSs and devices.
VPN Protocols in a Nutshell
PPTP: Not a recommended option if security is what you are looking for. Yet, it is the fastest of all protocols which makes it ideal for streaming.
L2TP: A decent improvement over PPTP in terms of security, but there are even better options available today.
SSTP: It only supports Windows and offers greater security than preceding protocols. Nonetheless, it is not without its own vulnerabilities.
OpenVPN: Offers the best balance of speed and security. Ideal for users that value their security and need decent speeds as well.
IKEv2: Highly secure and considerably fast. Unfortunately, it is limited by its unavailability across a wide range of platforms and OS.
Protocols are extremely important factors that affect the overall security and performance of VPNs. With streaming being one of the main uses of VPNs, choosing the right protocol can significantly enhance your experience when you’re all set for watching shows on Netflix.
How do these protocols work for you? Let us know in the comments below!