|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.|
|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 (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 (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 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.