PPTP vs L2TP – Which is the Best VPN Protocol?

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The guide explains the two most exceptional tunneling protocols of VPN i.e. PPTP vs L2TP and their impact on internet speed and online security. When using a VPN, one must also understand the use of VPN protocols since each of these protocols for various purposes.

PPTP being the first ever VPN protocol supported by Windows has a basic encryption, but entails to the fast internet speed. L2TP, on the other hand, has the highest-level of encryption but produces slower internet speed.
To know about VPNs like check out our list of best VPN providers to secure your privacy. VPN users need to be smart while using a VPN. As said earlier, VPN serves many purposes i.e. unblocking geo-restricted content and hiding your online activity when streaming are the two major purposes. To unblock geo-restricted content, one can use the PPTP protocol, while L2TP can be used for streaming.

Why you need a VPN?

There are a lot of things we worry about these days – privacy and security are certainly on top of the list. Technological obsolescence has made our security vulnerable as cyber-goons at every corner of this digital universe are ready to welcome us with their evolved tricks and tools. Our privacy is victimized by the identity thieves along with the vigilant agencies trying to spy on every move we make online.

Geo-restrictions imposed on content would have literally made our lives miserable; if virtual private network wasn’t there to liberate our online freedom. Online security and privacy are one of the prime concerns; however, some may not realize it unless they are deprived from them. There are two prerequisites of a secure device today – an antivirus and a VPN. An antivirus copes with all the malware, spyware and virus attacks on your device.

On the other hand, a VPN lets you bypass every possible geo-restriction and protects your identity. It tunnels your way to a preferred server and masks your real IP – making you invisible to online threats and vigilance. There are different tunneling protocols that you may use to create a virtual private network. In this article, we would discuss two most frequently preferred protocols and their characteristics to contrast their divergence.

PPTP or Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol

PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol) is a process of creating a virtual private network. This protocol facilitates the creation of a virtual link between your computer/device and the server tunneling all your traffic to preferred location. Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol is more rigid a sophisticated as compared to its antecedent (PPP).

The virtual private network formulated using PPTP accompanies more secure transmission in form of encapsulated data packets where the protocol’s operation is facilitated by GRE tunnel and TCP. One of the reasons for wide acceptance of Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol is its compatibility with diverse operating systems.

However, it is mostly preferred by those who run Windows as compared to others preferring Linux or Mac. The reason for this is probably connection speed as PPTP performs better on Windows as compared to other platforms. A virtual private network formulated using Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol is secure; however, there other protocols that offer more security as compared to PPTP. 

L2TP or Layer-to-Tunneling Protocol

L2TP is a tunneling protocol that supports virtual private networks just like PPTP; however, the security associated with this protocol is much more sophisticated. L2TP uses a complex encryption protocol known as IPSec. L2TP cannot encrypt your data on its own – it encrypts your data via IPSec protocol and facilitates your privacy.

Layer-to-Tunneling Protocol is often preferred by security conscious people. Just like PPTP, L2TP supports a virtual private network that tunnels your data but with additional security. L2TP is an answer to different paranoia such as Internet security, privacy, identity theft and copyright infringement. Furthermore, L2TP represents 256 bit encryption that takes your data security to the next level and makes it invulnerable to unauthorized access.

Comparison Table of PPTP vs L2TP

FeaturesPPTPL2TP
Encryption128-bit256-bit
CompatibilityCompatible to many devices including Windows, Mobile devices, and TabletsCompatible to most devices, Desktop, Mobile, and Tablet
SpeedFaster SpeedSlower Speed
SecurityVery basic encryption, easier to be blockedHigher encryption
StabilityMostly unstableHighly stable on various devices

How to Configure PPTP or L2TP VPN on Windows

Step 1: On your Windows 10, click on the Network Icon located at the bottom right corner

Step-1-Configute-PPTP-and-L2TP-on-Windows-10

Step 2: Click on the Network and Internet Settings

step--2-Configure-PPTP-and-L2TP-on-Windows-10

Step 3: A window will appear, where you need to select VPN from the left-side menu

step-3-Configure-PPTP-and-L2TP-on-Windows-10

Step 4: Then select ‘Add a VPN Connection’

step-4-Configure-PPTP-and-L2TP-on-Windows-10

Step 5: Enter the VPN details as provided below

step-5-Configure-PPTP-and-L2TP-on-Windows-10

Step 6: Scroll down to enter Username and Password for the VPN provider and you’re done

step-6-Configure-PPTP-and-L2TP-on-Windows-10

Step 7: Now Connect to the VPN provider

step-7-Configure-PPTP-and-L2TP-on-Windows-10

Advantages of Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol

There are different advantages that you can avail from the use of Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol. There are certain characteristics that make PPTP more frequently adopted protocol as compared to L2TP.

  • Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol was the first formally recognized VPN protocol
  • Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol is compatible with diverse platforms such as Windows, Max and Linux.
  • When you create a virtual private network, your actual Internet speed is affected. Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol has minimal effect on your Internet speed as compared to other protocols such as L2TP.
  • Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol is much easier to use as compared to Layer-to-Tunneling protocol. Setting up a virtual private network through Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol is a complete hassle free process.
  • While establishing a virtual private network using Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol, IPSec encryption isn’t required. Hence, PPTP doesn’t require Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) or computer certificates to be installed while establishing a virtual private network.
  • Windows support Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol by default allowing you to flee from the hassle of configuration.

Disadvantages of Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol

Along with several advantages associated with Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol, there are some disadvantages that need to be listed here.

  • Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol surely is compatible with diverse platforms. However, its performance is best suited with Windows as Linux and Mac users may face speed or connectivity issues.
  • Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol uses 128 bit encryption only. This enhances your security to some extent; however, cyber-goons with their sophisticated tricks and tools will easily decode the encrypted files.
  • Your key can be extracted by using browser add-ons such as ‘FireSheep’ if you are using Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol.
  • For a secure virtual private network, at least 256 bit encryption is required.
  • Lack of IPSec encryption unlike Layer-to-Tunneling Protocol leaves your security vulnerable when using Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol.
  • PPTP accompanies lack of data origin verification; hence, it cannot detect data alteration in transit or verify the source authenticity.
  • Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol often encounters performance issues on unstable networks which is not the case if you use L2TP.

Advantages of Layer-to-Tunneling Protocol (L2TP)

There are different advantages associated with Layer-to-Tunneling Protocol that proves it to be a better alternative as compared to PPTP.

  • Layer-to-Tunneling Protocol offers data encryption through IPSec protocol. IPSec protocol maximizes your security and prevents all unauthorized access.
  • L2TP just like PPTP is compatible with different platforms such as Windows, Mac and Linux.
  • L2TP offers almost everything that PPTP does along with value-added security privileges.
  • Layer-to-Tunneling Protocol authenticates data origin along with its integrity – this is something PPTP doesn’t offer.
  • Unlike PPTP, Layer-to-Tunneling Protocol can be easily configured with some firewalls as it uses UDP to encapsulate data.

Disadvantages of Layer-to-Tunneling Protocol (L2TP)

Along with different advantages, there are several disadvantages of using L2TP that you need to consider as well.

  • Due to double encapsulation process of the data, L2TP functionality may wear down with some firewalls.
  • The thing most of you would hate about L2TP is that it requires PKI along with other computer certificates to be configured.
  • Some versions of Windows such as Vista and Server 2008 might instruct you to change registry settings prior configuration of Layer-to-Tunneling Protocol.
  • Layer-to-Tunneling Protocol has a substantial impact on your Internet speed and deteriorates it a bit more than PPTP.

Conclusion

VPN tunneling protocol serves many different purposes, similar to how a VPN is used for many different reasons. The guide details the characteristics of PPTP vs L2TP which are the two main protocols of a VPN. You will find advantages and disadvantages to these protocols that will allow you to make good use of them when connected to the internet.

One of the major advantages of PPTP is ease of use and minimal effect on Internet speed; however, the flaw observed is that it provides minimal security. L2TP on the other hand provides enhanced security with 256 bit encryption but has a significant impact on Internet speed.

People who use a VPN mainly to bypass geo-restrictions in order to watch their favorite TV shows, movies and access other content prefer PPTP due to its speed. Nevertheless, L2TP encryption is often preferred by security freaks due to IPSec protocol which facilitates rigid encryption.

Our remarks on L2TP vs PPTP, we conclude that PPTP is good; but, L2TP is better.

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Shahmeer Baloch

Shahmeer Baloch

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Shahmeer Baloch's Biography :


Shameer Baloch is a marketing professional-turned-tech writer who despite had a successful career at Evyap made a drastic change when his interest in technology and international cyber laws became evident. Baloch’s love for new technology is profound and well addressed. Loves to play tennis on weekends.


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