OpenVPN is a VPN technology and program that uses VPN techniques to protect point-to-point and site-to-site connections. Among VPN users, it is currently one of the most used protocols.
Apart from WireGuard and SoftEther, OpenVPN is the only open-source VPN protocol with its application.
So, how does OpenVPN work? The protocol manages client-server communication. In a nutshell, it aids in creating a secure tunnel that links the VPN client to the VPN server.
OpenVPN heavily relies on the OpenSSL library for encryption and authentication. Additionally, OpenVPN uses UDP (User Datagram Protocol) or TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) to send data.
TCP and UDP are transport layer protocols that send data over the internet. They are different since TCP has error-correcting capabilities that boost its stability. With no error correction, the data sent over a UDP connection is more likely to be damaged by noise or other factors. However, this makes it very fast.
Most VPN companies deliver OpenVPN over UDP. TCP connections are used only in case of failure with the former, which means that your data will be more secure as it cannot easily fall into someone else’s hands if you utilize this protocol!
OpenVPN’s ability to dynamically switch between TCP and UDP encryption protocols helps improve reliability when using less stable networks.
HTTP and NAT can sometimes make it difficult to connect with another network. The OpenVPN custom security protocol is specific to these obstacles, so you will never have any problems using this software!
Unlike many other VPN services, it does not use proprietary protocols or rely on centralized servers for security. Instead, it uses an efficient combination of symmetric and public-key encryption algorithms, allowing users to generate their crypto keys.
This approach provides a high level of security and flexibility, as users can configure their VPN connections in various ways that suit their needs and preferences.
Overall, OpenVPN provides a practical and flexible alternative to other VPN services and is an essential tool for anyone looking to ensure secure online browsing.
How Does OpenVPN Work | The “Rules” of Data Paths
OpenVPN is a powerful software-based VPN solution that utilizes a combination of encryption protocols, certificates, and digital keys to help create secure pathways for data flow.
At its core, OpenVPN uses a set of core concepts known as rules that govern how data packets are routed on the network. These include rules such as pre-shared secret keys, client-to-client communication, and the frequent monitoring and renewing of the IPSec SAs.
The first step in the process is to create an encrypted tunnel between two points on the network. A combination of protocols secures this tunnel. They include digital certificates, symmetric-key cryptography, and public-key cryptography.
These encryption schemes are designed to ensure that all data that passes through the tunnel is fully protected from unauthorized access or interception.
Once the tunnel has been established, OpenVPN then routes all incoming and outgoing traffic according to specific routing rules. These rules can be customized depending on your needs and preferences, allowing you to prioritize certain types of data while blocking or redirecting others.
For example, if you need certain websites or applications to have increased bandwidth priority, you can simply add them as exceptions to the standard rules. While this may seem complicated at first glance, with some practice, it becomes elementary to establish secure connections using OpenVPN and customize your data flows according to your specific needs.
How Does OpenVPN Encryption Work?
OpenVPN is a virtual private network (VPN) that allows you to link computers together. Even if the computers are located in different offices, countries, or even on opposite sides of the globe, they can be safely connected through a secure encrypted tunnel.
With OpenVPN, you can create a secure connection using either TCP for optimal reliability or UDP to get an edge in speed. The choice between these two protocols will depend on your needs at any given time–with both offering their own unique advantages depending upon what kind of traffic is going through them!
SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/ Transport Layer Security) handles communications via OpenVPN. Luckily, it is the technology that protects HTTPS websites. That presents a benefit of using OpenVPN to get around a firewall, or another VPN block as its detection is negligible provided it is operational. Your internet behavior appears to be normal web traffic to the untrained eye.
Many SSL/TLS capabilities benefit OpenVPN. These include identity verification to ensure that you’re connecting to a legitimate server, encryption key creation, and transmission to keep your data safe during this session.
It’s a significant undertaking to implement modern web encryption properly, and thankfully, OpenVPN has surpassed the trial stage. They have delegated the encryption chores to the complete OpenSSL library.
On the other hand, OpenVPN leverages the OpenSSL to support ninety percent of the market’s encryption methods, hash functions, and public-key cryptography technologies. Hence OpenVPN is compatible with various algorithms including Elliptic curve, AES, Poly1305, Chacha20, Triple DES, Whirpool, SM4, RSA, MD5, Diffie-Hellman, Blake2, SHA-2, and SHA-3.
What Is OpenVPN?
OpenVPN is a powerful tool that you can use to protect your privacy and anonymity while browsing the web. It also gives users an encrypted connection which helps them feel more secure when accessing public WiFi networks like hotels or airports.
Unlike traditional VPNs, which rely on centralized servers and maintain multiple gateways into a single network, OpenVPN relies on open-source software techniques to establish user connections directly with other remote OpenVPN clients.
This design makes it easy for users to access their private network from anywhere while also increasing security by limiting the number of possible connection points for hackers or other unauthorized users.
As such, OpenVPN is widely considered one of the most secure and effective ways to protect sensitive data online.
How to Use OpenVPN
OpenVPN isn’t the most straightforward protocol to use, and setting up a connection might be difficult.
The Windows installation process is comparable to the Android and iOS installation methods. On the other hand, installing and utilizing OpenVPN on Linux is a bit of a pain.
You’ll also need a VPN subscription to set up an OpenVPN connection. While it is possible to set up your own OpenVPN server, doing so is highly complex, and most internet tutorials only address Linux platforms.
Now that we’ve gotten everything out of the way, here are the key points to remember when utilizing the OpenVPN protocol:
1. First, Get the Configuration Files
Before you connect your computer to a VPN, make sure that the OpenVPN client is installed on it. This will require downloading and installing some configuration files from either their website or provided within each download package for users who want an even faster connection time than exists natively within Windows 10 itself without any additional third-party software needed at all! These crucial ones govern how connections between providers are made; if they’re unzipped then simply look out for them under “config” inside of rar/zip folders respectively after being uncompressed automatically upon extraction–though this isn’t always true so be careful when handling these types
2. Install the OpenVPN Client
You must install the OpenVPN client on your device when you have the configuration files. On OpenVPN.net’s Downloads page, you can quickly locate the required software. Simply launch the installer, accept the default settings, select a different install destination folder if desired, and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.
When you’re done, your usual text viewer may open a new file with a technical tutorial included in it. You can read it if you want, but it’s also good to close the file now.
3. Now, Import the VPN Data
To get started with OpenVPN, open the OpenVPN GUI application. The service will be added to your System Tray, which is the small taskbar in the lower right corner of your screen. Then, copy all of the OVPN files you downloaded to the “Config” subdirectory within the OpenVPN installation folder.
You should now see the names of all the files you just copied if you click on the OpenVPN icon in your System Tray. You can rename the files if it’s more convenient for you.
4. Establishing the Connection
Simply click the OVPN files in the OpenVPN application to connect to a server. Enter your login credentials when asked. If everything works well, you should see a log screen with various status commands that will disappear after the connection is made.
A desktop notification should appear, indicating that the connection was successful. A green screen should also be visible if you look at the OpenVPN symbol. When you hover your mouse over it, you’ll see a tooltip with the server’s name and your new IP address.
You can now test the connection to ensure everything is in working order.
Simply click the OpenVPN symbol, select the server you’re connected to, then click “Disconnect” to disconnect.
5. Tweaking Settings (Basic and Advanced)
Although the OpenVPN application does not offer many options, you can still experiment with a few of them.
For example, you can click on “Settings” and enable OpenVPN to launch automatically whenever your operating system (OS) starts up. By enabling the “Silent Connection” option, you can also disable the log screen that appears when you connect to a server. Also, the “Never” option disables desktop notifications, so use it with caution.
You can view the OVPN files directly to check what commands are assigned to them if you wish to fine-tune your connections even more. You can alter current commands or create new ones if you have sufficient understanding. The “proto” command, “remote” command, “tun-MTU” command, and others may be of interest to you if you’re more experienced.
Aside from that, you can look in your OpenVPN installation folder’s “doc” subdirectory for more advanced documentation that will show you how to accomplish other things. You’ll learn how to set up scripts to run when your VPN disconnects, and how to prevent DNS leaks.
OpenVPN Explained In-Depth – General Technical Details
- OpenVPN generally uses 256-bit OpenSSL encryption. OpenVPN can employ the AES, Camellia, 3DES, CAST-128, or Blowfish ciphers to further the connection’s security.
- While OpenVPN does not support L2TP, IPSec, or PPTP, it does use its own proprietary protocol based on TLS and SSL.
- With the use of third-party plugins and scripts, OpenVPN enables the improvement of login and authentication processes.
- Because OpenVPN supports a private subnet configuration, clients can really connect to servers other than the OpenVPN server.
- OpenVPN relies on tls-auth for HMAC signature verification to safeguard. It guarantees you safety against buffer overflow vulnerabilities in TLS/SSL implementations, port scanning, DoS attacks, and port flooding.
- If necessary, OpenVPN has a built-in feature that mandates it to drop privileges and execute in a chroot jail devoted to CRL.
- Operations of the OpenVPN are run in user space instead of kernel space.
How Fast Is OpenVPN?
OpenVPN is one of the most popular protocols for VPNs. It’s known for being fast, reliable, and secure. But just how fast is it?
OpenVPN uses the UDP protocol by default. UDP is a connectionless protocol, which means that it doesn’t require acknowledgment of receipt of data packets. This makes it faster than protocols that do require acknowledgment, such as TCP. In addition, UDP uses a smaller header than TCP, contributing to its speed.
On average, OpenVPN has a throughput of around 50-60Mbps. However, this will vary depending on several factors, such as the type of encryption used, the strength of the VPN server, and the quality of the Internet connection. But in general, you can expect OpenVPN to be fast enough for most purposes.
Is OpenVPN Free?
When you use free and open-source software like OpenVPN, there are no hidden fees. You can enjoy all its features as long as you respect the license agreement terms!
While the code is free, it should be noted that this doesn’t necessarily mean there’s an app for everything. You’ll need some tech-savvy know-how and access to servers around the world in order to make use of them all.
The commercial version of this program is called OpenVPN Access Server for enterprises or Private Tunnel VPN for the other consumers.
Regardless of these choices, the normal user will utilize the protocol via a distinct VPN provider who licenses the program and charges you subscription fees.
The protocol is free and non-proprietary, so you can use it with any VPN service. But if your company offers a configured product like ExpressVPN or NordVPN then they’ll provide access to this secure network for work purposes while still keeping things safeguarded behind closed doors.
Advantages of OpenVPN
OpenVPN is one of the greatest VPN protocols on the market. Its features provide a plethora of benefits to users. Among the benefits are:
- Levels of Security: OpenVPN is often regarded as an extremely secure protocol. It employs 256-bit encryption keys and some of the most advanced ciphers available. You subscribe to a security guarantee when you install and use this protocol or subscribe to a reliable consumer or business VPN that supports it.
- Port Options: In addition to TCP and UDP, this protocol uses various ports. This allows you to manage and regulate your connections as you see fit, rather than being restricted to a single option.
- Efficiency: OpenVPN’s port options make it simple to get around firewalls. This is useful in situations when there are severe geo-restrictions or censorship. Although alternative VPN protocols may be able to get beyond firewalls, they may be identified and stopped. With OpenVPN, however, this is not the case.
- Support for multiple platforms: While many VPN protocols are incredibly effective, they are confined to a few platforms. On the other hand, OpenVPN is available for Windows, iOS, Android, macOS, Linux, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Solaris, and routers. This is one of the reasons why so many VPN companies use the protocol.
Disadvantages of OpenVPN
To be honest, it’s difficult to identify a drawback with the OpenVPN protocol, yet it isn’t without flaws. The following are some of the disadvantages of utilizing OpenVPN:
- Setup: Depending on the service provider, setting up VPN applications that use the OpenVPN protocol is a simple process. However, manually configuring it may be challenging, especially if you’re unfamiliar with VPN protocols or don’t have any setup instructions.
- Speed: Without a doubt, OpenVPN is an extremely safe VPN protocol that employs some of the most advanced encryption techniques. However, its tight encryption may harm your connection speeds, resulting in unexpectedly slow connections.
- Free Service: OpenVPN is a free service in and of itself. It is almost a truism in cybersecurity that using a free service for your connectivity is extremely unsafe, including logging your data, spyware, and more.
What is the difference between VPN and OpenVPN?
There is currently no VPN protocol that comes close to OpenVPN in performance. In terms of performance, only Wire Guard and SoftEther come close. Let’s look at a few of the most prevalent analogies.
OpenVPN vs. Wire Guard
OpenVPN and Wire Guard are both high-level protocols. OpenVPN relies on the OpenSSL library to support a variety of cryptographic methods, including AES-256 and Camellia.
Wire Guard’s more modern algorithms, on the other hand, cannot be changed. According to the developers, users are unable to alter the algorithms in order to avoid incorrect settings that could expose them to security threats.
Wire Guard is the faster VPN protocol. It was created with a lighter code that requires less CPU resources to run.
OpenVPN vs. SoftEther
When it comes to security, OpenVPN is tied with SoftEther. They are both open-source protocols that use top-of-the-line encryption such as AES 256-bit encryption and SSL 3.0. On the other hand, OpenVPN is more reliable than SoftEther because it has been operating longer.
SoftEther is a network connection protocol that is quicker than OpenVPN. SoftEther’s developers claim that the protocol is 13 times quicker than OpenVPN.
A variety of popular systems supports both protocols, however, OpenVPN requires a more involved setup than SoftEther. However, when using a VPN provider that enables an OpenVPN connection, you may not need to download any additional software. It is necessary to download additional applications with SoftEther.
While both protocols have created their servers on which they run on, SoftEther can also run other protocols, including IPSec, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, and even OpenVPN. OpenVPN, on the other hand, is exclusive to its own protocol.
OpenVPN vs. IKEv2/IPSec
IKEv2 is a secure VPN protocol similar to OpenVPN. Data security is one of the differences between the two. OpenVPN uses TLS/SSL for transport security, whereas IKEv2 uses IP security.
Although OpenVPN is supported on various systems, BlackBerry smartphones come with IKEv2. In addition, IKEv2 delivers more stable network connections and promptly reconnects in the event of network oscillations. IKEv2 can also handle network changes without causing a break in your connection.
Unlike OpenVPN, IKEv2 utilizes UDP port 500, which firewalls can readily block.
Best VPNs that Use OpenVPN Protocol
ExpressVPN | Recommended OpenVPN Service
ExpressVPN supports PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, its Lightway protocol, and OpenVPN to its users.
The software can determine the best protocol for you automatically, but you also have the option to choose it explicitly. By default, ExpressVPN advises selecting VPN protocols in the following order: OpenVPN, L2TP, then PPTP.
There are a slew of other advantages of using ExpressVPN.
- They provide fast speeds;
- ExpressVPN has over 160 VPN servers across the world;
- Multi-platform support (desktop, mobile, TV, game console apps, and so on);
- Unlimited bandwidth;
- Five simultaneous device connections.
ExpressVPN employs AES-256 bit encryption, which is the industry standard for all virtual private networks.
ExpressVPN is one of the most popular VPN services available today, with a solid 30-day money-back guarantee. Give them a shot, and if you don’t like them, you may obtain a complete refund within a month.
Surfshark with OpenVPN
The more recent service is Surfshark is a consumer VPN with features such as OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, Wireguard, and PPTP.
The service offers fast speeds and stable connections along with several other advantages. Furthermore, because they are a newcomer to the VPN business, their pricing is less expensive than industry heavyweights.
Surprisingly, Surfshark allows you to use one membership to connect as many devices as you wish. As a result, you only have to pay once and use the VPN on all of your devices.
NordVPN with OpenVPN
Another prominent consumer VPN service, NordVPN, supports OpenVPN, IPSec/IKEv2, Wireguard (dubbed “NordLynx”), SSTP, and other protocols.
The NordVPN app allows you to select the best protocol depending on your demands. While OpenVPN is the most secure, they know that it might also slow down your connection, so they give you the option to choose.
Apart from OpenVPN security, NordVPN has several extra features. It comes with dedicated IP addresses and a VPN kill switch. The service can run on up to 6 devices on a single license.
NordVPN also offers a Double VPN function if you’re searching for extra security.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
Should You Avoid OpenVPN?
Should Businesses Use OpenVPN?
Is OpenVPN actually a VPN?
Is OpenVPN Safe to Use?
What port should OpenVPN listen to?
Can OpenVPN be hacked?
Final Thoughts| Why Use OpenVPN
OpenVPN will continue to be the dominant secure VPN connection protocol until Wireguard gains traction.
It’s not impenetrable, but it’s the best you’ll find on the market right now.
However, that isn’t the only reason to use it. You don’t have to worry about competing for for-profit objectives because the protocol isn’t held by a single entity.
It’s safe, it gets around firewalls, and it’s incredibly flexible.
If you want a highly protected internet connection, you should look into a consumer VPN service that uses the OpenVPN software, such as ExpressVPN, Surfshark, or NordVPN.
When it comes to when to use OpenVPN, it’s a good VPN protocol to use if you want to protect your internet connections, whether you’re gaming online, downloading torrents, or going public. When you need to get around a firewall – whether it’s to unblock geo-restricted content or just unblock websites at work or school – OpenVPN is a smart option.