Understanding VPN Protocols: Which One is the Best?

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Ugne Nausedaite
Written by
Ugne Nausedaite

Updated · Nov 17, 2023

Ugne Nausedaite
Creative Copywriter | Joined August 2023 | LinkedIn
Ugne Nausedaite

Ugne Nausedaite is an accomplished professional with a true passion for creating written creative co... | See full bio

Florence Desiata
Edited by
Florence Desiata


Florence Desiata
Joined June 2023 | LinkedIn
Florence Desiata

Florence is a dedicated wordsmith on a mission to make technology-related topics easy-to-understand.... | See full bio

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Around one-third of web users use VPNs worldwide. This means that more than 1.6 billion people enjoy the security and privacy that a VPN can offer.

If you are one of today’s VPN users (or thinking of getting one), you must have heard about VPN protocols like “WireGuard or “IKEv2.” 

However, do you know what they are and why they are necessary? 

In this article, you will learn more about which VPN protocol is the best. Read on. 

Key Takeaways

  • VPN protocols ensure a secure connection by handling encryption, authentication, and traffic routing.
  • WireGuard and IKEv2/IPSec are top VPN protocols known for their speed and reliability.
  • Choose a protocol based on your needs, considering factors like security, speed, and compatibility.

What is a VPN Protocol? 

VPN protocols are rules that ensure the VPN works smoothly, safely, and reliably. 

They act as a set of instructions determining how data and traffic are routed between your computer and a VPN server.

These protocols also do all the hidden work: authorization, authentication, encryption, traffic capturing, and transportation for a smoother VPN connection. 

Mainly, protocols help VPN services build and configure their networks on an existing digital foundation. 

To learn more about what a VPN protocol is, check out the video below: 

YouTube Video: What is the best VPN protocol? 

(0:41 - 1:12) 

VPN Protocol Boosting

Protocols can also be boosted for additional benefits. One of those is VPN obfuscation. 

Servers that are obfuscated serve as special VPN servers that hide your data and the fact that you’re using a VPN. 

Another benefit is GPS spoofing. With it, you can avoid GPS tracking and change your device’s location online to the one of your choosing. 

Note: If you’re looking for a VPN service that offers high-quality obfuscation and GPS spoofing, try Surshark VPN.

You can also check out what TechJury experts say about Surfshark’s features, pricing, and more. 

Types of VPN Protocols

The default setting of protocols on your VPN may not always be the best option. Protocols affect the performance, latency, and reliability of the encrypted tunnel. 

As not all of them are equal, it is best to get familiar with the options and choose the best one for you. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular options. 


OpenVPN is a VPN system that operates as an open-source software and protocol for VPN services. 

The TLS methodologies form the basis of its encryption and verification processes.

Typically, OpenVPN is utilized alongside the highly secure AES-256-GCM encryption algorithm. 

The fact that it is an open-source VPN protocol, it enables experts worldwide to scrutinize it for any potential security vulnerabilities and other concerns.

OpenVPN is quite hard to set up manually. However, that is not an issue if you use a VPN service like Surfshark—it comes pre-set with your subscription. 




  • No known vulnerabilities
  • Great encryption and authentication
  • Open-source
  • Challenging software setup


The authentication protocol employed alongside the IPSec (Internet Protocol Security) VPN protocol is Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2). 

With IPSec running in the background on the system's kernel, IKEv2 is able to achieve remarkable speed.

IKEv2 is widely supported across various operating systems, making it a convenient alternative to the slower OpenVPN. 

While relying on similar robust security mechanisms as OpenVPN, IKEv2 offers greater ease of scalability and maintenance at the server level.




  • High speed
  • Reliability
  • Good compatibility with mobile networks
  • Speed is affected by the distance between the device and the server


WireGuard is a relatively new addition to the array of VPN protocols, boasting exceptional connection speed that surpasses both IKEv2 and OpenVPN.

Despite lacking the rigorous testing of OpenVPN, WireGuard delivers first-rate security and encryption standards. It also maintains unparalleled speed thanks to its simplicity. 

Even though it hasn’t been tested as much as other VPN protocolsWireGuard is already implemented on Linux and Android platforms.




  • Latest and fastest VPN protocol 
  • Open source
  • Uses high-speed cryptographic primitives
  • Still under development
  • Lack of default obfuscation

Wrap-Up: Which One is the Best?

Overall, WireGuard and IKEv2/IPSec are the best protocols in the industry today. 

OpenVPN is not far behind as its performance level is similar to the other two, but it is harder to set up. 

However, you should keep in mind that the best VPN protocol is still the one that fits your specific VPN needs

Knowing how each protocol works helps you decide the most suitable provider, letting you enjoy all the benefits that a VPN has to offer

Note: Do you want to know about VPNs? Subscribe to Surfshark Newsletter for bi-weekly highlights and insights! 


Which VPN protocol is the safest?

There isn’t one protocol that can definitively be named as the safest. However, WireGuard and IKEv2 are the most popular and considered the best in the industry for all their qualities.

What VPN protocol is the fastest?

WireGuard is the fastest protocol at the moment.

How do you know which protocol is best for you?

Choose your protocol according to your VPN needs and the device you will be using.

What is the latest VPN protocol?

WireGuard is the most recent VPN protocol.


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