OpenVPN Protocol: How it Works, Which Connection is Faster, UDP or TCP

Stefany Anderson Stefany Anderson
OpenVPN

OpenVPN is an open-source encryption protocol with AES-256 and SSL 3.0 support. Connecting using UDP and TCP makes it a flexible VPN protocol in terms of customization for the end-user.

OpenVPN

Benefits of the Source Code

OpenVPN was released in 2002 by James Yonan under the GNU GPL license. This means that users can:

  • View the source code of the protocol, improve it, and fix bugs;
  • Use it in combination with third-party plugins or scripts, increasing performance, stability;
  • Remain independent from the developer company (for example, SSTP belongs to Microsoft and can be used to analyze network activity and intercept personal data).
  • OpenVPN is used by almost all VPN providers, pre-processing the protocol source code. Therefore, the principle of its operation, speed, and load on the system will differ from service to service.

How it Works

OpenVPN creates a secure client-server connection bypassing HTTP and NAT. Traffic issuing has one of two transport protocols:

  • Transmitted UDP - Data exchange with the server takes place without the confirmation or retransmission of information. This connection is faster and suitable for online gaming or live streaming.
  • TCP - Has the function of correcting errors, where before sending the next data packet, the protocol checks that it reaches (or sends it again). Additional actions decrease bandwidth and increase latency.

When connecting to a server, OpenVPN first tries to establish a connection via UDP and then switches to TCP.

Public networks carry HTTP, FTP, SMTP, POP3, and IMAP traffic, which requires TCP. This is because it uses port 443, which is compatible with secure HTTPS traffic.

Data and Platform Protection

The provider determines the type of encryption. Generally, this is a 256-bit OpenSSL or AES encryption. Less commonly, AES-128 is found. Also implemented protection by standards:

  • Camellia;
  • 3DES;
  • CAST-128;
  • Blowfish.

Implemented connection to private subnets outside the dedicated OpenVPN servers. Implemented the protocol on all current platforms:

  • Personal computers and laptops on Windows, Mac, Linux;
  • Mobile devices for iOS and Android;
  • Routers with Free/Open/NetBSD and Solaris.

Speed and Larency

speed and larency internet with open vpn

According to tests carried out by the team of developers of another open-source protocol WireGuard, OpenVPN with 256-bit AES encryption, HMAC-SHA2-256 authentication in UDP mode accelerates to 256 Mbps; there is a delay of 1.541 ms. Under the same conditions, WireGuard demonstrates 1,011 Mbps and 0.403 ms.

This difference is due to the high degree of encryption in OpenVPN and running tests on PCs with stripped-down Intel U-series processors. With a powerful PC and a high-speed connection, the speed and response rate will be "comfortable."

Best VPNs with OpenVPN Support

Top VPN providers use the protocol in both desktop and mobile versions of the client. Let's talk about the best of them and mention their core features.

Our Top Product Picks

1
ExpressVPN
  • Works in China
  • Plugin for Microsoft Edge
  • First 30 days money back
  • 5 simultaneous connections

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2
NordVPN
  • Does not store user logs
  • Protects against DNS and IP leaks
  • 24-hour online support
  • Connect up to 6 devices at the same time

Built-in obfuscation algorithm allows you to ignore geo-restrictions for Internet access in China, UAE.

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3
PureVPN
  • Kill Switch
  • Dedicated P2P servers
  • 10 concurrent connections
  • 31-day money-back guarantee

A 2-year subscription only costs $3.33 per month.

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4
Surfshark
  • Suitable for online games
  • Choosing the optimal server
  • Separate traffic tunneling
  • Refunds only for a subscription for 2 years

The service works with P2P servers and does not keep logs.

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5
PrivateVPN
  • 24/7 support for
  • 6 simultaneous connections
  • Suitable for streaming services
  • Works on PC and mobile devices

For the first time for 12 months, those who subscribe will receive 12 months of using the service for free.

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1. ExpressVPN

Price Range: $6.67 - $12.95. Special offer: $99.95 for 15 months

Money-Back: 30-day free trial

Devices: up to 5

Devices: Apple TV, Fire TV, PlayStation, Xbox, Routers

Platforms: Windows, Android, Mac, iOS, Linux

ExpressVPN

The fastest ISP to achieve this title using dedicated servers and proprietary Lightway protocol. Protection of personal data is provided by TrueServer technology. Instead of HDD or SDD disks, all information is stored in RAM, which is wholly cleared after disconnecting from the power supply (reboot is enough).

ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN

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2. NordVPN

Price Range: $3.49 - $11.95. Special offer: 2-year deal with 68% off

Money-Back: 30-day free trial

Devices:6

Devices: Firestick, Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Switch, Raspberry Pi, Chromebook, Chromecast

Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS

NordVPN

Service provides double encryption of real IP address. The Kill Switch function is activated if you’re disconnected from the network and remains that way until the connection is restored. The CyberSec function blocks malware, spyware, and advertisements on websites from entering your device.

NordVPN
NordVPN

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3. PureVPN

Price Range: $1.32 - $10.95. Special offer: 7-day trial for only $0.99

Money-Back: 31-day free trial

Devices: 10

Devices: Routers, Android TV, Amazon FireStick, Microsoft Surface

Platforms: Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Chrome, Firefox

PureVPN

The only provider with a 7-day trial for less than $1.00. Their best features include data encryption using AES-256, split tunneling, and bypassing ISP restrictions from providers stand out. The service sells dedicated IPs, automatic port switching, and protection against DDoS attacks for a fee.

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4. SurfShark

Price Range: $1.99 - $11.95. Special offer: Get 81% discount

Money-Back: 30-day free trial

Devices:Unlimited

Devices:Android TV, FireTV

Platforms: Windows, Android, Mac, iOS, Linux, Chrome

Surfshark

A youthful provider that stands out from the rest with an unlimited number of simultaneous connections (up to 100 devices). They use a solution similar to NordVPN with double IP encryption, protecting users from ads, spyware, and malicious software.

Surfshark
Surfshark

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5. PrinateVPN

Price Range: $1.95 - $5.48. Special offer: 12 Month + 12 Month FREE

Money-Back: 30-day free trial

Devices: 5

Devices: Routers

Platforms: MacOS, Windows, iOS, Android, Linux

PrivateVPN

A reliable provider with a “modest” 150 servers in 60 countries (all the services mentioned above have more than 3,000 points to connect). The brand compensates for a small network with a high connection speed, 2048-bit encryption, and a lack of logging. Additional protection is the absence of IPv6 and DNS leaks.

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Bottom Line

OpenVPN is a secure encryption protocol that deserves attention due to its open-source code, robust data protection, and compatibility with all platforms. Its biggest drawback is speed drops on weak devices.

Written by: Stefany Anderson

Technical Writer, Visit My WebSite Techno-copywriter, Privacy, Internet Security

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