8 Things to Understand about VPNs and their Protocols

A VPN is a virtual private network. You may have heard of the term before. However, it is alien to the common user. A VPN protects your computer’s internet connection by encrypting and changing your IP address, this makes you untraceable and gives you the option to fake your geographical location online. You may be wondering why you need a VPN, you might believe that your data is not useful enough to be protected, but in reality that’s not all, a VPN allows you to access restricted content which also opens countless options to do online streaming.

VPN - 8 Things to Understand about VPNs and their Protocols

Free vs. Paid 

Free VPN offerings usually display ads, have a more limited selection of servers, and the connection speeds are slower because those servers are overcrowded. Hackers, spammers, and other ill-intentioned users commonly abuse free VPN services. 

Paid VPN services work on a subscription-based system and differentiate themselves by an absence of download speed throttling or data limits.


PPTP VPN stands for Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol, PPTP VPN creates a tunnel and captures the data. This is a useful VPN for both business users and home users. To access the VPN, users log into the VPN using an approved password. PPTP VPNs are ideal for personal use and business because they do not require the purchase and installation of extra hardware and features typically offered as inexpensive add-on software.

Although PPTP VPNs seem to have many benefits, there is a disadvantage to this VPN. The disadvantage of using a PPTP VPN is that it does not provide encryption, which is usually why one would get a VPN. Another disadvantage is that it relies on the PPP or Point-to-Point Protocol to implement security measures.

Site-to-Site VPN 

A Site-to-Site VPN is known as a Router-to-Router VPN and is mostly used in corporate-based operations. As many companies have offices located both nationally and internationally, a Site-to-Site VPN is used to connect the network of the main office location to multiple offices. This is also known as an Intranet-based VPN. Companies use Site-to-Site VPN to connect with other companies in the same way and this classified as an Extranet-based VPN. In simple terms, Site-to-Site VPNs create a virtual bridge that joins networks at various locations connect them to the internet and maintain a secure and private communication between these networks.

Like a PPTP VPN, Site-to-Site VPN works to create a secure and protected network. However, there is no dedicated line in use allowing the various sites within a company as we just mentioned connect to form a VPN. Also unlike PPTP, the routing, encryption, and decryption is done by either hardware or software based routers on both ends.


L2TP stands for Layer to Tunneling Protocol that was developed by Microsoft and Cisco. An L2TP VPN forms a tunnel between two L2TP connection points and another VPN such as IPsec protocol encrypts the data and focuses on securing communication between the tunnels.

An L2TP is also similar to PPTP. The similarities exist in terms of their lack of encryption and that both rely on PPP protocol to do this. They begin to differ about their data confidentially and data integrity. L2TP VPNs provide both whereas PPTP VPNs do not.


IPsec is an abbreviation for Internet Protocol Security. A tunnel is set up in a remote site allow access to your central site. An IPsec works to protect the internet protocol communication by verifying each session and individually encrypts the data packets throughout the connection. The two used modes are transport mode and tunneling mode. Both modes are to protect data transfer between two different networks. During the transport mode, the message in the data packet is encrypted. In the tunneling mode, the entire data packet is encrypted. A benefit to using an IPsec VPN is that it also can be used in addition to other security protocols to provide a stronger security system.

Although an IPsec is a valuable VPN to have, a great disadvantage to utilizing this protocol is the expensive time-consuming client installations that must occur prior to usage.


SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and TLS stands for Transport Layer Security. These two work as one protocol. Both are used to build a VPN connection. This is a VPN connection where the web browser serves as the client and user access is restricted to specific applications only instead of an entire network. Online shopping websites and service providers use the SSL and TLS protocol usually. This is because web browsers switch to SSL easily and require practically no action from the user.


Multi-Protocol Label Switching or MPLS VPNs are used for Site-to-Site type of connections. This is basically due to MPLS being a flexible and adaptable choice. MPLS is a standards-based resource that is used to quick up the distribution of network packets over multiple protocols. An ISP-tuned VPN is when more than one sites are connected to form a VPN using the same ISP. MPLS VPN network is not as easy to set up comparative to other VPNs.

Hybrid VPN

A hybrid VPN incorporates both MPLS and internet protocol security or IPsec based VPNs. Even though these two types of VPNs are used separately at different sites. However, it is possible to use the two simultaneously.


We did a recent NordVPN review to know about the performance of a VPN in detail. Choosing your VPN will vary depending on your use, to get our hands on and test, your choice will depend, are you a student who just needs to unblock Facebook at school? Or a business owner? Or an online trader? Security measures will vary as per your needs. Cost is another point of decision.

pinit fg en rect red 28 - 8 Things to Understand about VPNs and their Protocols