What Is SSTP VPN?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN), in its full essence, is engineered with the responsibility of unblocking geo-restricted content and, most importantly, delivering top-notch security to users. VPN providers go through various “pathways” to get their users a stable connection with optimum protection. Those pathways are called Protocols.

VPN providers can integrate multiple protocols into the VPN service, all in a bid to help to secure your data. One of those protocols is the Secure Socket Tunnel Protocol (SSTP). It is one of the most secure VPN protocols, and it is owned by Microsoft.

What Is SSTP?

Microsoft solely owns SSTP, but it will also work on Android, Linux, Apple devices. You can use it on some routers too. It was first introduced with Windows Vista, and subsequent versions (Windows 7, 8, and 10) have offered default support for SSTP. The SSTP service encrypts traffic data between a VPN client and a VPN server. It also allows users to connect to remote servers.

SSTP is all about security, and many users compare it’s security to that of OpenVPN. The main aim of this protocol is to create a secure connection to transmit your encrypted data. SSTP also has a very decent speed level. The strong encryption used might sometimes tend to slow down your connection, but as long as you have enough bandwidth of data (most preferably, unlimited), you will get an excellent connection speed.

In comparison to Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) (also owned by Microsoft, even though it is in conjunction with other companies), SSTP offers a much better secure connection and broader server coverage. PPTP uses Microsoft Point-to-Point Encryption (MPPE), while SSTP uses the uncrackable “military-grade” 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).

How Does the SSTP Work?

The basis of the SSTP mechanism is to establish a secure connection between a VPN client and server. SSTP is very similar to PPTP in the sense that they both use Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) mechanism. This protocol creates a virtual passage tunnel between the two data checkpoints— a VPN client and a VPN server — and encrypts the entire data transmitted through that tunnel. Despite using the same data transmission mechanism (PPP), SSTP offers a more secure connection. That is because it uses a significantly stronger encryption standard.

With PPP, the objective of transmitting private data through the “tunnel” is to protect you from cyber crooks and prevent hackers from infiltrating your connection. In that regard, SSTP encapsulates your data and encrypts it before transmitting it via the secure “tunneled” connection.

Just as “encapsulation” sounds, the protocol engulfs your traffic data with additional information. This hides your primary request data from snoops like government agencies, cyber stalkers, hackers, and even opportunistic hackers. However, the VPN can “unclothe” the data to access your information for the next processing step.

In a bid to further cement your anonymity, your VPN encrypts the uncovered data by translating it into an entirely new kind of information (like a coding set) that only the VPN server can decrypt.

The processes discussed above directly leads to cybercrooks becoming lost when trying to get at you. Even if they somehow bypass the encapsulation, the military-grade encryption standard is not theirs to decipher. Also, the protocol does not only use those processes when you’re sending information from your device; it does the same tunneling when sending feedback to your device.

This whole mechanism ensures that your connection doesn’t get compromised throughout your time on the internet.

Benefits of the SSTP

The Secure Socket Tunnel Protocol comes with a lot of perks. This might just be that push you need to take you off the edge and agree that SSTP is a top-tier VPN protocol.

The advantages of using SSTP are discussed as follows:

1. Privacy and Security

Using your browser in Incognito Mode will NOT secure you from the preying hands of hackers. It literally just doesn’t keep browsing history on your device. Incognito mode does not guarantee your connection from these snoops. That is where a protocol like SSTP comes in handy.

When you use a VPN that operates the services of SSTP, you automatically get military-grade encryption (AES-256). That standard of encryption is essential to enjoying optimum security. Even though it’s just above average, it competes with the very best (OpenVPN) adequately. 

Also, SSTP has the Perfect Forward Secrecy standard that ensures that the encryption codes used to secure your data sessions in the past do not get compromised in the future.

2. Firewall Bypassing

Another fantastic job that SSTP does is getting past firewalls and other internet restrictions. The ability of SSTP to bypass firewall restrictions is not dependent on the type of firewall. It literally unblocks them just at the snap of your finger and grants you full access into the network. The SSTP cannot be blocked out because it uses TCP port 443, which is the same port HTTPS uses.

3. Censor Bypassing

Its ability to bypass firewalls gives it a pass and might help in unblocking geo-restricted content. On various platforms, content can be restricted to users available in specific regions. SSTP contributes to the success of accessing censored content. 

As long as your VPN has a server in that location, you are good to go.

4. Speed

SSTP delivers decent connection speed. In contrast to some other protocols of limited speed, SSTP is relatively faster. As it uses a very strong encryption detail, it is expected that your speed suffers a bit, but SSTP doesn’t significantly slow down your speed. You still get a reasonably fast one.

Apart from the above scenario, you could still experience a little lag in-between. The lag might be due to limited bandwidth or your device’s not-fast-enough processor.

5. Multi-OS Usability and Ease of Setup

Solely owned by Microsoft, it is not a surprising event that SSTP comes integrated into the Windows operating system, starting from Windows Vista to date. Microsoft seldom provides updates to improve it. This is because this protocol is, in fact, the best protocol available for your Windows devices.

Besides, SSTP works on Linux, Mac devices, and some routers. On those platforms, it is elementary to set up.

Cons of the SSTP

As perfect as SSTP might seem, there are a few downsides to its services. They are highlighted below:

1. Device Compatibility

SSTP is exclusive to devices with WindowsOS by default, and it works perfectly fine only on them. Uncertainty strikes with non-Windows devices, though (Android, Mac, and Linux-based devices are in this category). On those devices, SSTP might not work as well as it does on WindowsOS.

Also, it is tasking to run SSTP on a non-Windows device.

2. Probability of Speed Drop

SSTP uses encryption protocols that are so strong that they can slow down your internet speed. To that effect, this protocol might not be very seamless with online gaming, streaming, and even peer-to-peer file sharing.

Conclusion

If you own  Windows PC, tablet, or phone, this Microsoft protocol is your best bet. SSTP is second only to OpenVPN in terms of security and stability. On the other hand, you will have to avoid either high-bandwidth activities (like gaming, streaming, torrenting) or avoid this VPN protocol if you’re really particular about getting the fastest connection.