What is OpenVPN & How Does OpenVPN Work?

When connected to an untrusted network, such as the WiFi at a hotel or coffee shop, a Virtual Private Network allows you to surf the internet safely and reliably.

Connecting to VPNs and utilizing VPN protocols safeguards your data. A VPN protocol is a collection of rules or instructions that govern the flow of data between your computer (or other devices) and the VPN server. VPN companies use OpenVPN services to maintain a safe and robust connection.

In this article, you will learn things like what OpenVPN entails, and how it works. Furthermore, you will get to learn more about Open Connect.

What is OpenVPN?

OpenVPN is an open-source connection protocol that allows two locations in a network to communicate securely. It is a VPN protocol and software that secures point-to-point and site-to-site connections using VPN techniques. Currently, it is the most popular VPN protocol among VPN users.

Many VPNs recognize it as a trustworthy technique that encrypts and safeguards data sent across the internet. Furthermore, since OpenVPN is open-source, a global community contributes to its growth and modification. As a result, any OpenVPN problems get solved in a flash. If OpenVPN fails, the entire network comes to a halt to ensure that there is no theft or loss of data.

In addition, the OpenVPN open-source community is always trying out new features, fixing bugs, and generally improving the protocol. Hence, how it works may change from month to month or year to year. Furthermore, because this protocol is very customizable, you (or your VPN provider) may choose to change various characteristics and settings to fit your needs better.

How Does OpenVPN Work?

Understanding how OpenVPN works will help you decide if it is the proper protocol to utilize with your VPN. More importantly, OpenVPN gives its users private internet access by routing their traffic through its servers. The IP address and related geo-location of an OpenVPN server can be used to connect users to the internet indirectly. Additionally, the user’s identity is safeguarded. OpenVPN (User Datagram Protocol) can access geo-restricted streaming services from other countries.

For VPN connections, OpenVPN employs OpenSSL. This is a large software library for Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and its upgraded version, TLS, protocols (Transport Layer Security). The OpenSSL library is a free and open-source repository of protocols and security technologies. Also, OpenVPN offers unrivaled customizability. Furthermore, it allows you to ensure the protection of your privacy across various platforms.

OpenVPN offers a number of ciphers or different ways of writing code when it comes to encryption. It uses 256-bit encryption by default. This security feature makes it very hard for anyone to hack or spy on you. In addition, OpenVPN utilizes 3DES (Triple Data Encryption Standard), Blowfish, and CAST-128.

OpenVPN supports Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS). This method generates a new key each time you log on to the internet. This prevents someone from trying to steal your key or using it to decrypt your communications in another way.

More so, OpenVPN (User Datagram Protocol) supports TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) and UDP (Uniform Datagram Protocol). You can use these approaches to connect devices and transport data over the internet. TCP-based OpenVPN is more stable, while UDP is faster. You can choose which option is best appropriate for your requirements.

What is OpenVPN Connect?

OpenVPN Connect is simply the official client program for various devices. Each device has its specialized programs for OpenVPN. You can get the program or application from your device’s app store or the official OpenVPN website.

How Fast Is OpenVPN?

Despite its reliability and security, OpenVPN isn’t the fastest VPN protocol. OpenVPN works with both UDP and TCP (TCP). These protocols allow devices to communicate with one another over the internet. TCP-based OpenVPN is more stable, while UDP-based OpenVPN is faster. Your specific requirements depend on the one you choose.

Is OpenVPN Safe?

OpenVPN remains the safest VPN protocol available. It has a long history, which gives it more credibility. Furthermore, OpenVPN apps are completely transparent, and any cybersecurity professional or software engineer might inspect the code for flaws. Additionally, this protocol has a small number of identified flaws. Due to their open-source nature, new ones don’t go undiscovered for long.

Advantages of OpenVPN

Like any other VPN protocol, OpenVPN has several advantages that you should be aware of. The following are some of the advantages of OpenVPN:

1. Improved security

OpenVPN uses numerous security layers to make communication secure, including pre-shared keys and peer authentication. To maintain the best level of security for its users, OpenVPN uses high-end ciphers and 256-bit encryption keys. Also, by combining OpenSSL with HMAC packet authentication, the network may be assured of utmost security.

2. Excellent compatibility

OpenVPN is compatible with a wide range of devices and systems. It works with Windows, macOS, Linux operating systems, and iOS and Android mobile devices.

3. Community support

OpenVPN is an open-source solution that has a large number of supporters and a highly active international community. Members of the OpenVPN community are always working to fix bugs, test out new features, and improve the protocol wherever possible.

4. Affordability

OpenVPN is an open-source solution that anybody can use. It is completely free to download and use. Users can connect to a VPN server for free using an OpenVPN client. 

5. Supports PFS

PFS is an encryption technology that codes your data and makes it tough for hackers to decipher. OpenVPN supports it. When you use OpenVPN, it generates a fresh random key and sends it to all OpenVPN clients and servers. When your session ends, the key is no longer valid and cannot be utilized.

Disadvantages of OpenVPN

1. Complicated setup

Though OpenVPN is widely compatible and its functionalities are intuitive, setting it up may be difficult. There are several choices to pick from since this is a highly versatile VPN protocol, and settings can be difficult. You may use a premium VPN provider to connect to OpenVPN. Some of the VPN providers include ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and IPVanish.

2. The need for additional software

Configuring VPN apps that utilize the OpenVPN protocol is simple. However, manually configuring it may be challenging, particularly if you are unfamiliar with VPN protocols or if you don’t have any setup instructions.

3. Scarce servers

You can connect only 2 VPN connections in the free edition of OpenVPN. Also, if you are a commercial user, you must buy a premium license. The number of simultaneous connections determines the price of your subscription.

4. Proxy support

Although most proxies support OpenVPN, there are a few that do not. Regardless, if the user connects to one of these, they will almost certainly have trouble. However, by moving to a compliant proxy solution, you can prevent these sorts of issues.

5. Longer latency

Latency is greater due to the many overheads employed by OpenVPN. They are determined by the circumstances, distance, and location. Aside from that, the encryption and decryption processes in the OpenVPN userspace might be causing the delay increase. However, if you have a powerful system capable of handling all processes, you can avoid all of these issues.

Conclusion

In summary, you can use OpenVPN as a VPN protocol or a VPN program. For the greatest VPN experience, you can rely on its open-source capability, flexibility, security, and frequent upgrades.