PPTP is a commonly used protocol and if you try to set up a VPN manually, it is very likely that you would use this option. After all, PPTP is very easy to set up since there is built-in support for it on multiple platforms including Mac, Windows, Android and iOS. This VPN protocol is also known for offering faster speeds than other pre-installed solutions like SSTP, IKEv2 and L2TP/IPSec. However, PPTP is also known for its vulnerabilities and it is considered as the weakest protocol available. Although it is not a secure solution, the fact that it is easy to set up has allowed it to stay relevant. It is highly likely that PPTP has been broken so it is advisable to stay away from it if you are looking for the highest standard of protection for your data. PPTP may be fine for general browsing, but if you are looking for a safer solution, it is advisable to choose IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP or better yet, OpenVPN.
Alternative protocols to consider
PPTP may be the easiest protocol to set up, but convenience is not the only aspect that should be considered. While other VPN protocols are more challenging when it comes to the configuration process since they are not already installed on major operating systems, it is better to take the time to set them up since they provide additional security.
When it comes to security, OpenVPN is the best choice since it provides strong protection for your data and it is also recognized for its stability. Since OpenVPN is open source, it can be independently audited to confirm that it is free from backdoors and other security threats. OpenVPN supports 256-bit SSL encryption, which provides a high level of protection, but it can also slow down your connection. The main downside of OpenVPN is that it is not available by default on the majority of devices. It has to be downloaded and installed on the platform of your choice.
Most commercial VPN services support OpenVPN and if you download and set up the dedicated VPN client of the provider, it is likely that OpenVPN is included. When you opt for a VPN service that offers its own software that comes with OpenVPN already installed, the process is very simple since you just need to download and install the VPN software and once it is running, you will be able to run OpenVPN. However, if you opt for a manual set up, things will get more challenging, although it is possible to find detailed guides that take you through the process.
OpenVPN is the top recommended option for users whose priority is security, but L2TP/IPSec is also a good choice. The advantage of L2TP/IPSec is that it is a built-in protocol in many platforms including popular ones like Mac, Windows, Android and iOS. While L2TP is the protocol and IPSec is the encryption, they are generally combined so you are always likely to see them together. In fact, it is advisable not to use L2TP only since it doesn’t have the encryption that IPSec delivers. There are not known weaknesses, but unlike OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec is not an open source solution. L2TP is the result of a collaboration between Microsoft and Cisco. L2TP/IPSec is easier to set up than OpenVPN, but apart from the username, domain and password that are required with PPTP, you will also need a pre-shared key that can be obtained from your VPN provider.
SSTP was created by Microsoft, but it is way more secure than PPTP. Although it is mainly available on Windows, it offers the same level of protection as L2TP/IPSec. In addition, SSTP is easier to set up than L2TP/IPSec and while it goes beyond PPTP in terms of security, it is just as easy to use. You only require a server domain, username and password. This protocol is a good alternative to PPTP, but it should be noted that due to its limited compatibility, it is not as popular. Only a few providers support it.
IKEv2 was also developed by Microsoft and Cisco. Like SSTP, IKEv2 is only supported by a few providers due to some compatibility restrictions. Still, it is suitable for BlackBerry and can also be found on some versions of iOS. The highlight of IKEv2 is that it allows you to re-establish a connection very quickly, if it has dropped. This feature makes IKEv2 ideal for mobile devices, which are likely to lose service when you are on the subway. IKEv2 also works well when you switch your connection from WiFi to mobile data. In terms of encryption, IKEv2 uses IPSec as well and in order to set it up, you need a serer domain, username and password, as well as a remote ID.