We all know that VPNs allow us to change our IP address in order to anonymize our internet activates. However, many people are not aware of how they make this happen.
A VPN encrypts your connection by creating a secure tunnel. All of your internet traffic passes through this encrypted tunnel.
VPN tunnels, also known as protocols are vital in ensuring that malicious forces stay aware from your data.
But as it happens, VPN protocols exists in different forms. PPTP and OpenVPN are two popular tunneling protocols.
This PPTP vs OpenVPN comparison will explain these protocols in detail. Moreover, it will analyze the strengths and weaknesses of these respective protocols.
What is PPTP?
The Microsoft developed point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol or PPTP in mid 1990s. It is compatible with all the major platforms, which is why it is a go-to protocol of many VPN providers.
There are two key factors of PPTP: encryption and authentication. PPTP encrypts your data and places it in packets by creating a tunnel. This tunnel provides secure transfer of data over WAN or LAN.
PPTP makes it safe to transfer data through encapsulation, encryption and the eventual authentication. With PPTP, you can access the internet and remain secured even on public networks.
There are security concerns related to PPTP, which I will discuss later in detail. As of now, it is only important to know that PPTP is one the earliest tunneling protocol. This makes it less advanced than its some alternatives.
PPTP: Strengths and Drawbacks
PPTP is fast. Simply put, it offers speed like no other tunneling protocol. Hence, many VPN users prefer PPTP for streaming activities. But with this speed, comes some serious security flaws.
To start, PPTP lacks data integrity and data origin authentication. This means that there is no way of knowing whether the data being sent via this protocol is in its authentic form.
In addition, PPTP supports 128-bit encryption that is not potent enough to provide protection from professional hackers. Another drawback of PPTP is that it often fails on unstable networks.
Despite this, PTTP is widely used as it is compatible with all the popular devices. In fact, it is in-built in Windows and can be set up on this OS without much trouble.
- Fast protocol
- Easy to configure
- Compatible with wide variety of devices
- Provides minimal security
- Serious security flaws
- Is vulnerable against professional hackers
What is OpenVPN?
OpenVPN is a relatively younger protocol that was released over 17 years ago. This protocol is open source, which means that it has a code that is open to inspections, evaluations and assessments.
It uses Open source technology such as OpenSSL encryption library. Furthermore, it utilizes SSL/TLS to perform key exchange. The core function of OpenVPN is to create site to site and point-to-point configuration.
In addition, it is important to mention in this PPTP vs OpenVPN review that the latter is much more popular. In fact, the VPNs that do not offer OpenVPN are at a disadvantage. A vast number of users prefer OpenVPN to other protocols.
OpenVPN: Strengths and Drawbacks
OpenVPN supports multiple levels of encryption including the military grade 256-bit encryption. This advance technology is even used by banks to secure their private information.
This makes OpenVPN one of the more secure protocols in existence. Moreover, it is compatible with Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android and Linux.
Nevertheless, even this protocol has its drawbacks. One needs technical knowledge to configure OpenVPN and even with that, you are required to put in extensive effort.
Moreover, OpenVPN is not a VPN service on its own. This means you need a third party app for it to work. Sometimes, OpenVPN perform only as good as the app allows it too.
Lastly, due to heavier encryption, OpenVPN is also somewhat slow when compared to PPTP.
- High level of security
- Robust encryption
- Compatible with variety of platforms
- Difficult to Set up
- Comparatively Slower
PPTP vs OpenVPN: Head to Head
Both PPTP and OpenVPN have their respective strengths and drawbacks. So which one is actually better? To get the accurate answer, both of these protocols have to be evaluated as per certain standards.
Performance and Reliability
I learned though my PPTP vs OpenVPN performance test that OpenVPN is much more consistent than PPTP.
OpenVPN has the ability to recover on unstable connection quickly. PPTP has no such capability.
Speed & Latency
My PPTP vs OpenVPN speed test revealed that the former is much faster than the latter. This in no way implies that OpenVPN is useless for functions that require good speed.
In contrast, if you have a decent internet connection, OpenVPN is good enough for online gaming, streaming and downloading.
However, for speed aficionados, PPTP may be a preferable option.
When it comes to encryption, OpenVPN has an unassailable advantage over PPTP. As I previously mentioned, PPTP offers 128-bit encryption, which is outdated and can bested by most hackers.
On the other hand, OpenVPN supports 256-bit military grade encryption. Hence, PPTP vs OpenVPN comparison for encryption has a clear winner.
PPTP is compatible and typically preinstalled on Windows. It also works on Android, iOS, Mac OSX, Linux, DD-WRT, Tomato. However, PPTP is difficult to set up on few routers.
In comparison, OpenVPN is compatible with Windows, Linux Mac. It can also be used on Android thorough a third party app.
All of the Windows and many other operating system, even on smartphone, have in-built support for PPTP. One only needs a username, password with a server address to configure PPTP.
This makes the process of setting up PPTP extremely easy.
Meanwhile, OpenVPN is not preinstalled on any device and requires you to install a client software.
Most VPN providers have descriptive setup guides on their website to help the users connect with OpenVPN. They provide the configuration files that are necessary for the VPN to function.
Despite this, it is sometimes hard to configure OpenVPN on your device manually.
My PPTP vs OpenVPN security review holds that PPTP is an insecure protocol. The vulnerabilities of PPTP are so well established that even Microsoft advices against using it.
Moreover, repeatedly, individuals using PPTP have had their security compromised. In simple words, PPTP has now become obsolete.
OpenVPN in comparison is a much more capable protocol. It has the tools to protect your connection from even the most skilled hackers.
It is unwise to compare OpenVPN and PPTP without taking the reviews of users into account.
To understand what the Netizens think about these two tunneling protocols, I took quick stroll through social media forums.
This OpenVPN vs PPTP reddit review perfectly outlines the issue using PPTP.
Another user on twitter recommends OpenVPN.
It is suspected they can crack PPTP and (some) IPsec setups. Consumer VPNs mostly use #OpenVPN like we have from the beginning in 2010 with AES256. AES256 is not crackable and they use it themselves for Top Secret comms.
— Tobias Skytte (@CitizenVPN) August 18, 2018
UDP or User Data Protocol is similar to TCP but has no mechanism to guarantee delivery of data.
OpenVPN supports both UDP and TCP. OpenVPN with UDP provides lesser security but optimum speed. In contrast, the users who desire an extra layer of protection opt for TCP.
Do Not Use PPTP
PPTP is an outdated technology that comes with a glut of flaws. Any hacker worth their salt can breach PPTP without putting in much effort.
In addition, the tools that are required to trespass PPTP are not even rare. Instead, they are widely available throughout the web.
OpenVPN is popular protocol option among the privacy conscious internet users. This is in fact the reason why nearly all VNP providers assure compatibility with OpenVPN.
With peer authentication, certification and strong encryption, OpenVPN is an ideal shield against the threats of the online world. It is also utmost reliable due to its recovering capabilities.
Overall, OpenVPN v PPTP was never a competition. PPTP belongs in the annals of history while OpenVPN should be present in every device.