Hackers, snoopers, ISPs, and governments can turn your digital life into a living hell. Your data is valuable, and there’s no shortage of people who’d like to access it. A VPN tunnel will help protect you from all those prying eyes. Let’s learn more about VPN tunneling and the various protocols that form these tunnels.
A VPN tunnel is an encrypted connection between your device and the internet.
When you connect to the internet without a VPN (also known as virtual private network), a lot of your data is going to be exposed. Internet service providers (ISPs) can view and log your online activity, while the websites you visit will be able to see your IP address and location. These companies have one big reason to dig around your private life — to sell your browsing data to the highest bidder. They can also throttle your bandwidth if you frequently download large files.
When you connect to the internet with a VPN, your data packets go through an encrypted and secure tunnel. This protects your browsing activity, masks your IP address, and redirects your data to a VPN server. You can also remotely access your data in a safe way. Neither ISPs nor hackers can identify you, snoop around your data, or track your location. The VPN tunnel is one of the most useful online security tools available.
There are many different VPN tunneling protocols varying in speed, level of security, encryption processes, and other features. Let’s explore the most common types.
In 2019, NordVPN introduced NordLynx, a protocol that has inherited the speed of WireGuard but guarantees the strong data encryption and security everyone is striving for.
Usually, you can easily select a supported VPN tunneling protocol in your VPN app. Most premium VPN services usually support a few different VPN tunnel protocols, so you can pick your preferred one. For example, you can switch protocols easily in the Preferences section of NordVPN’s app.
A VPN tunnel encrypts all your traffic, but there are certain situations when you might not want it to. This is exactly what split tunneling is all about — you can create exceptions for certain apps or websites and access them without a VPN.
Everything depends on your needs, but OpenVPN is a top choice among most VPN providers because it is transparent, open-source, highly customizable, safe and fast. It’s a good choice if you need reliable security and high performance. NordVPN uses OpenVPN as its default protocol.
However, users can also easily switch to IKEv2/IPsec or NordLynx protocols. While IPSec/IKEv2 is stable, fast and secure it is not highly compatible with many systems. Regarding NordLynx, we strongly recommend using it if you need high speeds (e.g. in cases of streaming or gaming) as it is extremely lightweight and fast. NordLynx also allows you to take advantage of our Meshnet feature, which lets you route your traffic through other devices of your choice, rather than directly through a VPN server.