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What VPN protocol should I use?

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When it comes to protecting your online privacy, using a VPN remains one of the most common solutions. However, in order to remain anonymous and completely secure while browsing online, you could consider creating your own private VPN server hosted on a VPS!

All you need is a VPS server and a free, open-source VPN protocol! In this tutorial we are going to go over 4 of the most popular free VPN protocols that you can use in order to help you pick the right one for your needs!

Setup & Connection for Each VPN Protocol

The following graphic illustrates how easy it is to set up and connect to your VPN server:

comparison between the ease of connection between the different vpn protocols

SoftEther - Challenging for beginners

  • Generally speaking, connecting to your server through SoftEther can be challenging for some users, especially if they do not have any previous experience with the protocol.
  • An additional user client needs to be downloaded.
  • Mobile connections need to be allowed first through the SoftEther admin client, which also needs to be downloaded and configured.
  • Does not have a mobile client, uses your device’s built-in L2TP configuration to connect.

OpenVPN & WireGuard - User-friendly & easy-to-use VPN protocols

  • Setting up and connecting to your OpenVPN or WireGuard server is easier in comparison to SoftEther as your user profile configuration files are automatically generated, meaning that you just need to drag and drop them into your client.
  • Both protocols require an additional user client to be downloaded and installed.
  • Establishing a mobile connection is also easy as the applications are available for free in the App/Play store.

L2TP - Integrated in most devices

  • Easy to connect for Windows, Android, macOS, iOS and other operating systems that are equipped with a built-in, default VPN.
  • You just need to copy and paste your user profile information into your device’s built-in VPN.

User Management

This next image depicts how difficult it is to manage users for each VPN protocol.

comparison in user management of the different vpn protocols

SoftEther - Difficult but customizable VPN protocol

  • To manage users you need to download the SoftEther admin client and log into your server through it.
  • Hubs can be confusing for some users.
  • There are a couple of steps you need to take prior to making new users.
  • Abundance of fields and information can be overwhelming to some users.

OpenVPN & WireGuard - Easy user management

  • Managing users happens by logging into your VPS server through your web browser.
  • Have a graphical interface.
  • No additional clients needed.
  • Creating and deleting users is really simple - just add a username and a password to the corresponding fields.

L2TP - Requires additional software

  • In order to manage users you need to log into your server through SSH for which you need additional software.
  • Does not have a graphical interface.
  • Navigating directories and inputting the commands can be confusing for some users.

Is previous experience beneficial?

This comparison diagram illustrates whether having previous experience with any of the protocols can be beneficial.

comparison between the different vpn protocols in terms of whether previous experience is beneficial

As with anything else, having already operated with a given VPN protocol would mean that you will be introduced to its working principles.

Generally speaking, however, if we have to compare them, we would advise complete beginners to go for either OpenVPN or WireGuard as they are much easier to use and require little to no experience in order to be picked up fast. That doesn’t mean that seasoned professionals can’t also go for either protocols, as they can also save time and resources when it comes to their management. This is why we at VPSBG have developed our own WireGuard VPN application template, allowing you to get a VPS or VDS server with the protocol already installed! Create a new user profile and start managing your own private VPN server!

L2TP is also easy to operate, but user management can prove to be a hassle for some, especially inexperienced users.

SoftEther, on the other hand, is by far the most challenging self-hosted VPN protocol to use out of the bunch and it is advised for you to have some prior experience before choosing it.

You can find tutorials for how to connect to your server for each VPN protocol as well as for how to manage your private server’s users in our VPN documentation.

Protect your privacy and get a self-hosted VPN today!

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