5 Best VPN Tunnelling Protocols Used by VPN Providers

What are VPN tunnelling protocols?

VPN Tunnelling protocols form the heart of how VPN services function. Mostly, VPNs use the tunnelling protocols to transfer data from one point to another. When you use a VPN service, the traffic that you send and receive as a result of your online activities is first encrypted. Encryption ensures that no one can comprehend your traffic in the event of hacking.

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Second, the VPN service has to devise a secure way of transmitting your traffic. To solve the problem of moving client traffic, VPN services secure point-to-point tunnels to send your data. It is because the tunnels are secure that VPN services enable their clients to send and receive encrypted messages securely.

Best VPN Tunnelling Protocols

Here are some of best VPN tunnelling protocols in current use:

  1. Layer 2 Tunnelling Protocol (L2TP/IPsec)

The L2TP/IPsec is one of the most common VPN tunnelling protocols in use. The protocol is a combination of two separate systems: the L2TP and IPsec, which stands for IP Security in full. These two systems combine their different capabilities to make L2TP/IPsec one of the most reliable tunnelling methods. On one hand, IPsec works to ensure that all the packets of data remain secure. IPsec encrypts your data as a way of making sure that no any third party gains access to your data. On the other hand, L2TP provides a secure means through which the data gets transmitted from one point to another.

  1. Point to Point Tunnelling Protocol (PPTP)

This is the oldest tunnelling protocol for VPN services. PPTP channels traffic through secure tunnels from one point to another. Many free VPN companies still use PPTP even though the protocol is not completely secure. Since the system was the first one that VPN companies started using back in the 1990s, many VPN services still retain it as one of their tunnelling protocols. For VPN services to use PPTP for their services, they have to include a specific protocol to encrypt client traffic. In practice, many VPN services use TCP to encrypt client traffic. They then use PPTP purely as a way of transmitting the data from one point to another.

  1. Secure Shell Tunnelling Protocol (SSH)

SSH is different from PPTP, L2TP and IPsec because it is a stand-alone system that encrypts and tunnels traffic. Therefore, VPN services that use SSH do not have to get an additional program for encrypting data. Interestingly, SSH encrypts all the tunnels that it uses to manage client traffic. Also, the tunnelling protocol transmits client traffic through secure tunnels from one point to another. Therefore, the tunnelling protocol is very reliable because it enables VPN service providers to move traffic between different ports using its channels.

  1. Secure Socket Layer Tunnelling Protocol (SSL)

In practice, companies use SSL together with another encryption system called Transport Layer Security (TLS). By combining SSL and TSL, companies manage to develop very secure channels for carrying sensitive information. For example, all the secure online transactions rely on the SSL and TLS protocols. This combination of SSL and TLS helps companies to successfully manage the sensitive information that users send when carrying out online transactions.

  1. IPsec Tunnelling Protocol

The beauty of IPsec lies in the different ways in which VPN companies use it. For example, companies can use IPsec as a way of encrypting client traffic. The companies then rely on a different protocol to move the traffic securely. On the other hand, companies can use IPsec to secure the tunnelling process. In this case, companies use IPsec to secure the channels that the companies use to move client traffic from port to port. Therefore, IPsec can serve as a stand-alone encryption key as well as a combination of encryption and tunnelling protocol. This is the reason as to why some VPN companies combine IPsec with another tunnelling system to form a combined tunnelling protocol.


These are the most common tunnelling protocols that VPN services use. It is clear that most of these protocols combine different systems. Combining two systems helps to improve the performance and general level of security of the specific tunnelling protocols. Therefore, when you are choosing a VPN service for your use, make sure that you check on the specific types of tunnelling protocols that the services use.

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