What’s the difference between PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN, and SOCKS when talking about VPNs?

Deciding on the type of “protocol” to use for your VPN is like choosing the best tasting ice cream: there are many choices, and some people prefer one choice over another.

For VPNs, the 3 main choices are PPTP, L2TP, and OpenVPN. We also include SOCKS, but that is not really a VPN protocol. Some people also use SSTP too, but that is not being used so much these days (yet!). Then you also hear of “IPSec”, but that is really a marketing brand used by Cisco and other companies and really refers to L2TP.

Did we confuse you yet?

Yes, it can be a little confusing. So we will only concentrate on the differences between PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN, and SOCKS. There is a good comparison chart on Kovurt.com, but here is our own chart too:

 

VPN Protocols

PPTP

L2TP

SOCKS

OpenVPN

Ease of Setup Fast Fast Moderate Moderate
VPN Speed Fast Fast Moderate Moderate
Security Moderate Very Good Very Good Best
Stability Good Good Better Best
Suggested Systems iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac Mac, Ubuntu Mac, Windows 7

PPTP and L2TP do not require any software for you to install! So many people like to use them because you only need to enter your username and password once on your computer or phone, and in the future you can connect with a click of a button

OpenVPN is a little more cumbersome because you must download software first to use it. Then you must install the software and maintain the software when there are upgrades. OpenVPN is a little more stable, but most people agree that PPTP and L2TP are just so much easier to use. Plus, PPTP and L2TP can be used on iPads, iPhones, and Android mobile phones, but OpenVPN can not be used on those devices (unless you “crack” them).

So those are our thoughts on the differences. Please leave your comments below to let us know what you think.

How to setup PPTP VPN on Windows 7

For our instructions and tutorial, we are using the VPN services from Kovurt.com. You can use any service you like, but we prefer Kovurt.

After you confirmed your Kovurt subscription, we sent you an email. Inside that email you should see something like the following:

===============
Your VPN Username: username
Your VPN Password: password
===============

The good news is that you do not need to install any more software! Everything you need is already on your computer. Follow the easy steps below to start using Kovurt VPN:

First choose “Network and Sharing Center” from the Control Panel. Then choose “Set up a new connection or network”.
How to use Kovurt on Windows 7 1

Then select the “Connect to a workplace”.
How to use Kovurt on Windows 7 2

Next you should select “Use my Internet Connection (VPN).”
How to use Kovurt on Windows 7 3

Now you should enter the server address of your Kovurt account. You will see those details on the email we sent to you. For the “Destination name” box you can type “Kovurt”.
How to use Kovurt on Windows 7 4

Next you should enter your username and password – we sent you those details by email. Then click “Create”.
How to use Kovurt on Windows 7 5

Click the “Close” button to return to the “Network and Internet” screen.
How to use Kovurt on Windows 7 6

In the “Connect to a network” screen, you should see the Kovurt connection that you have just created.
How to use Kovurt on Windows 7 7

Right-click on the Kovurt connection document, and choose “Properties” from the menu.
How to use Kovurt on Windows 7 8

In the Kovurt Properties, you should select tab “Security”:
1) click on the Type of VPN – “Point to Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP)”
2) click on the Data encryption – “”Optional encryption (connect even if no encryption)”
3) select “Allow these protocols” and tick as shown in the following picture:
How to use Kovurt on Windows 7 9

Next select tab “Networking”: put the ticks as shown in the following picture and click “OK”:
How to use Kovurt on Windows 7 10

You are now finished! To connect/disconnect to Kovurt, right-click on the connection icon (viewable at Change adapter settings) and select connect/disconnect.

How to setup OpenVPN on Windows 7

For our instructions and tutorial, we are using the VPN services from Kovurt.com. You can use any service you like, but we prefer Kovurt.

If you would like to use the more stable OpenVPN protocol, you will need to first download Kovurt’s special OpenVPN software. Please click this link, register, and download the software.

Follow the instructions in the download to install the software. Installations should take you about 30 seconds and is very easy.

After you registered, we emailed you some brief instructions and they contained your VPN Username and VPN Password like this:

===============
Your VPN Username: username
Your VPN Password: password
===============

1. Choose “Save” in your browser
2. Now “Save” the file to your Desktop

3. After the download completes, choose “Open”.


4. Double-click the KovurtPC.exe file

5. Click “OK” to begin extracting and installing Kovurt

6. Click “Next” and follow the instrcutions to continue fully installing the software. You will see a few windows and confirm them to continue.

7. On your Desktop, double-click the OpenVPN GUI icon

8. Go to the bottom of your menu bar and click the red computer icon. A list of locations will open and you can choose one and click “Connect”.

9. Enter your VPN Username and VPN Password. We emailed these to you, so please check your email first!

10. You will see a list of commands and then you will be connected when the red computer icon becomes a green computer icon.