PPTP Vs L2TP – Which Is the Best VPN Protocol?

VPNs have proven to be important tools for cybersecurity. However, the efficacy of each VPN lies in its protocol. There are lots of VPN protocols in circulation. VPN providers get to choose any of the protocols that seem to be the most secure.

A VPN protocol determines the encryption, tunneling, and stability of the VPN service. Drawing comparisons between PPTP and L2TP will involve understanding what devices are compatible with them, as this will help you select which VPN provider will meet your expectations.

Here is a detailed review on PPTP vs L2TP. Here, you’ll learn which is the best VPN protocol and factors to consider before selecting a VPN protocol.

What Is PPTP?

PPTP, which means Point-to-point Tunneling Protocol, is a networking standard that allows encapsulation of data packets for encryption and establishing a secured direct connection between nodes in a network. Its direct connection usually links up two nodes in a network, connecting them to transport packets.

PPTP VPN wraps up point-to-protocols inside a TCP/IP protocol for a better internet connection. PPTP systems comprise two networks; a computer connecting to another remote location. 

Microsoft designed PPTP VPN as a default protocol for its devices. Connection with PPTP VPN is strictly dependent on Internet Service Providers that support the protocol.

Benefits of PPTP

Different providers have diverse reasons why they prefer PPTP over L2TP. Nevertheless, a clearer understanding of the benefits of PPTP will enlighten you more on the subject.

Here are the top four benefits of PPTP.

1. Ease of Use

You do not need to install certificates, nor does it require a public key to function. 

2. Device Compatibility

PPTP automatically connects with Microsoft Windows devices and is also compatible with Mac OS and Linux devices. 

3. Remarkable Internet Speed

VPNs are popularly known for the internet lags that they cause on devices. These lags are because of the high-level encryption on the VPN protocols. PPTP VPN runs on basic encryption with 128-bit keys.

PPTP provides an average internet speed of 800-900 Mbps. Thus, its connection speed is quick for surfing, streaming, and downloads.

4. Cost

PPTP is a cheap protocol considering the prices of other VPN protocols. Most VPN services that offer free or cheap services are hosted with the PPTP protocol.

Cons of PPTP

Here are the top three disadvantages of PPTP

1. Stability

PPTP lacks private key infrastructure and also has a simple framework. PPTP’s basic design accounts for its poor performance.

2. Encryption Level

PPTP consists of basic and low-level encryption systems. These could open pathways for vulnerabilities and cyber attacks.

3. Security

The essence of having a VPN is to offer users maximum security on the web. PPTP has proven less effective in this area. With rumors about NSA cracking PPTP protocol, firewall blocks on PPTP protocols by internet service providers, and its 128bit encryption, there are causes for alarm attached to using the protocol.

What is L2TP?

Layer two tunneling protocol (L2TP) is an advanced VPN protocol designed to provide top-notch security for its users. This VPN protocol (L2TP) came about as a partnership program between Microsoft and Cisco. The essence of this joint project is to cover up for the lapses experienced in other VPN protocols. 

L2TP high-level security design gives it a higher edge over some VPN protocols as it runs on a User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and performs better with 256-bit encryption. 

Benefits of L2TP

Here are the top four benefits of L2TP.

1. Enhanced Security

L2TP pairs up with the IPSec suite, which combines with UDP to provide an advanced secured network. L2TP’s paired-up system ensures data origin authentication, end-to-end encryption, which connects to confirm data integrity.

L2TP’s partnering with IPsec is to secure data packets to ensure confidentiality and data control.

2. Stability

L2TP combines with IPsec to provide a stable and reliable connection. L2TP provides stable internet connections without lags and poor performance.

3. Easier Configuration

L2TP uses UDP for data encapsulation; this makes it an easier choice for configuration. Although L2TP runs with an IPSec suite, configuration with the protocol can be achieved if basic principles are followed.

4. Wide Device Compatibility

Most older devices might not be compatible with OpenVPN and other popular VPN protocols. L2TP VPN’s ability to connect with older devices gives it an edge over different protocols. Its connection support spreads across multiple devices and operating systems Windows, Linux, Mac OS, Android, DD-WRT, etc.

Cons of L2TP

Here are the top four disadvantages of L2TP.

1. Speed

L2TP has poor connection speed compared with other VPN protocols. The approximate speed of L2TP is a max limit of 100 Mbps. Its low speed is a result of the dual encapsulation method.

2. Security Keys Mismatch

L2TP uses a pre-shared key mechanism for authentication, which requires alternation from the receiving and transmitting end of the tunnel. The alternation process might not function well if there is a mismatch.

Security keys mismatch could go as far as offering hackers a loophole to phish on your internet activities as the pre-shared keys could face manipulation by the source website.

3. High CPU Usage

L2TP encryption consumes a high amount of CPU for processing, which largely affects the VPN protocol’s speed.

4. Potential hacks and break-ins

There are rumors that the NSA can penetrate the L2TP VPN protocol. Although these could pass as speculations, unfixed loopholes can make this possible.

A Quick Comparison of PPTP and L2TP

Users are always stuck trying to make a clear selection between these two VPN protocols and cut a simple distinction between PPTP vs L2TP.

Here are six key similarities and differences between PPTP vs L2TP.

Six Key Similarities and Major Differences Between PPTP vs L2TP

Compatibility

PPTP and L2TP VPNs support a wide range of devices. These include desktops, mobile devices, and tablets. L2TP and PPTP compatibility cuts across Windows, Linux, and Mac Os, although PPTP is the default support for Microsoft Windows devices.

Encryption

PPTP comes with 128-bit encryption keys, while L2TP runs on 256-bit keys. The level and standard of encryption go as far as determining how secured the system is. Longer encryption keys provide stronger encryption. To achieve the effective tunneling that a VPN offers, encryption is a necessary factor to consider.

PPTP runs on basic encryption, and this makes it an inadequate secured system compared to L2TP. 

Use

PPTP and L2TP shared similar usage mechanisms aside from the fact that L2TP offers a pre-shared key system which PPTP does not. 

PPTP and L2TP run with an authentication system that requires a username, server address, password, and a client operating system (OS) or device.

Stability

Factors like speed and encryption are good indicators of stability. PPTP is an unreliable VPN protocol if you transfer lots of personal details over the web, but they could be relatively stable with some hotspots. 

Considering L2TP’s stability on different devices, networks, and OS, L2TP is a more reliable option than PPTP.

Supported Devices/OS

L2TP and PPTP support a wide range of devices like Windows, Linux, Mac OS, Android, and DD-WRT.

Security

PPTP design runs as a basic encryption system, while L2TP offers double-layer protection. L2TP provides a high level of security through data origin authentication, end to end encryption, which combines to achieve data integrity.

Which One Is the Best VPN Protocol?

Deciding which is the best between PPTP vs L2TP boils down to what you wish to achieve with a VPN. PPTP is a good option for speed but lags greatly in security enhancements. L2TP VPN is the best in this comparison as it offers a high level of security and encryption, which will be difficult for hackers to crack.

L2TP provides minimal chances for malicious attacks and vulnerabilities. With extra security enhancements, which include pairing with IPsec, L2TP is the best choice. PPTP seems like a better option because of its easy setup, but if stability is what you seek from a VPN, then L2TP is a better option. L2TP makes use of an IPsec authentication suite to beef up its security system, making it difficult for hackers to penetrate.

Although L2TP is a better choice in the PPTP vs L2TP comparison, you can go for PPTP if speed is your major reason for getting a VPN.

Conclusion

VPN tunneling and encryption are usually major factors that users look for when deciding which VPN protocol is the best. The standard set by each VPN protocol in terms of tunneling, stability, and encryption goes as far as determining how secure your data is during the transmission process.

This detailed comparison between PPTP vs L2TP offers you a comprehensive analysis to assist you in making smart choices between these protocols. L2TP offers slow internet speed and poor connection because of its double encapsulation, but its stronger security features compensate for the lags.