VPN Protocol Comparison List - PPTP vs L2TP vs OpenVPN

  PPTP L2TP/IPsec OpenVPN
Compatibility Built-in support for a wide array of desktops, mobile devices, and tablets. Built-in support for a wide array of desktops, mobile devices, and tablets. Supported by most desktop computers.
Supported Systems
  • Windows
  • Mac OS X
  • Linux
  • iOS
  • Android
  • DD-WRT
  • Windows
  • Mac OS X
  • Linux
  • iOS
  • Android
  • Windows
  • Mac OS X
  • Linux
  • Android
Encryption 128-bit 256-bit
  • 160-bit: very fast and secure
  • 256-bit: the highest security, but requires more CPU
Security Basic encryption Uses the highest encryption. Data integrity checking, encapsulates data twice. Highest encryption, no known vulnerabilities, authenticates the data on both ends of the connection through digital certificates.
Stability Very stable, accepted by most Wi-Fi hotspots Stable if your device supports NAT Most stable/reliable even on non-reliable networks, behind wireless routers, and on Wi-Fi hotspots
Setup Easy to set up, built-in to most operating systems Requires custom configuration Easy to set up with software
Speed Fast because of lower encryption overhead Requires the most CPU processing Best performance. Fast, even across great distances and on high latency connections.
Conclusion A good choice if OpenVPN isn't available on your device and if ease-of-use and speed are priorities over security. More secure than PPTP but not as fast and requires additional configuration. A good choice if OpenVPN isn't available on your device and security is a priority over ease-of-use and speed. Best choice on desktops, such Windows Mac OS X and Linux. Fast, secure and reliable. OpenVPN is the recommended protocol.
  • PPTP

    PPTP (Point to Point Tunneling Protocol) is a good, lightweight VPN protocol offering basic online security with fast speeds. PPTP is built-in to a wide array of desktop and mobile devices and features 128-bit encryption. PPTP is a good choice if OpenVPN isn't available on your device and speed is top priority.

  • L2TP/IPsec

    L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol) with IPsec (IP Security) is a very secure protocol built-in to a wide array of desktop and mobile devices. L2TP/IPsec features 256-bit encryption, but the extra security overhead requires more CPU usage than PPTP. L2TP/IPsec is an excellent choice if OpenVPN is not available on your device, but you want more security than PPTP.

  • OpenVPN

    OpenVPN is the premier VPN protocol designed for modern broadband networks, but is not supported by mobile devices and tablets. OpenVPN features 256-bit encryption and is extremely stable and fast over networks with long distances and high latency. It provides greater security than PPTP and requires less CPU usage than L2TP/IPsec. OpenVPN is the recommended protocol for desktops, including Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.