OpenVPN is widely recognized as the most secure protocol available and most VPN providers support it and recommend their customers to choose it over other options. While OpenVPN is more complicated than setting up PPTP and L2TP/IPSec, the high level of security and the good speeds it can support, have allowed it to become the standard solution for VPN protection. Before going through the list of the best VPN services that support OpenVPN, we’ll check some of the most important aspects of this popular protocol.
What is OpenVPN and what advantages does it offer
A VPN protocol like OpenVPN, consists of a series of instructions that help to establish a secure, encrypted encryption between computers connected over internet. There is a variety of protocols available including SSTP, PPTP and L2TP/IPSec. All of these protocols work in a different way to create a secure VPN network. However, OpenVPN has become the leading solution when it comes to privacy and security since it is the only protocol that doesn’t seem to have been compromised by the NSA’s breaking attempts.
There are different reasons to explain this, including the fact that OpenVPN is an open source solution. Open source technology can be improved by independent developers and it also can be audited by anyone, making it less likely to be affected by backdoors. Providers can adapt it to their own VPN clients, meaning that it is very flexible. It can also be reviewed openly to confirm that there are not security concerns.
Another aspect that makes OpenVPN a more reliable technology is that it uses SSL, which is a popular method to encrypt the connection established between your computer and a server. OpenVPN uses SSLv3/TLSv1 protocols, as well as the OpenSSL library, meaning that it allows you to bypass firewalls. This is possible when the program is configured to enable it to run on any port, including TCP port 443, the same one used by regular SSL traffic. By using this port, you will be able to access secure https:// sites while making the fact that you are using a VPN, practically impossible to detect.
It is also worth keeping in mind the cipher, which is a crucial component of VPN protocols. The cipher is the algorithm used to encrypt your data and the cipher that is used by a VPN protocol is what determines the security of the network it establishes. AES and Blowfish are the main ciphers used by VPN services, but there are other options available such as 3DES and Camellia.
Blowfish made its appearance back in 1993 and although its popularity is falling, it is still widely used. Many still consider Blowfish as a secure option, although there are known issues such as weak encryption keys and difficulties to encrypt larger files. While there is not strong evidence suggesting that Blowfish is not secured, it involves some risks. Although its successors: Twofish and Threefish offer enhanced security, they are not compatible with OpenVPN at the moment.
AES stands for Advanced Encryption Standard and it is the latest option available and its popularity has increased over the last few years. This is due in great part to the fact that it is used by the US federal government to secure its data. AES has managed to surpass Blowfish since it is able to process larger files and because it offers features that support a higher level of security.
Both Blowfish and AES are compatible with OpenVPN and it is possible to independently select the encryption key used. Using a strong cipher and a strong key in combination with OpenVPNs’ functionality, you will enjoy an effective solution to protect your data from spying organizations like the NSA.
How to install OpenVPN
Since there is not native support for OpenVPN in a specific platform, VPN providers have two options to offer OpenVPN. The first is an open-source OpenVPN client, which is a practical way to establish a basic VPN service. While it may be difficult to set up and requires more steps, it is the cheapest solution and it is also very effective. It is important to consider that in order to complete the setting, some technical knowledge is required. Some of the open-source clients available include OpenVPN (Windows), OpenVPN for Android, OpenVPNConnect for iOS and Tunnelblick for OS X.
The other option is a custom OpenVPN client and while it is more expensive, it also offers many advantages. For instance, it is more convenient since custom clients feature settings that have already been configured so the configuration process is simple. Custom clients also allow the inclusion of convenient features like DNS leak protection and a kill switch. Below you will find a list of VPN providers that offer reliable service and excellent support for OpenVPN.
ExpressVPN stands out for offering incredible speeds, top security and a software that is well-designed and easy to use. Their service is compatible with multiple platforms and you can connect to servers in at least 87 countries. Customer service is another strong point of ExpressVPN and the provider has excellent guides that take you through the setting up process. No logs of your online activities are kept and since they are based in the British Virgin Islands, they are not ruled by strict data retention laws.
AirVPN is ideal for users who prioritize their online privacy and who want to keep their data secure. The provider applies AES 256-bit encryption and it offers the possibility to use VPN over Tor, which will give you additional protection. The SSL and SSH encrypted tunnels for file transfers will also allow you to keep your online activities private. AirVPN is an advanced solution and users with less experience with VPN services may find it complicated, but it is an excellent service that deserves to be considered.
This is one of the most convenient services available and the fact that a 30-day money back guarantee and a free VPN are available, make CyberGhost one of the most popular options out there. The free service is a convenient solution for casual users, but if you want enhanced protection and access to all the server locations (29 at the moment), you should go for one of their pladi plans. CyberGhost doesn’t keep logs and offer affordable prices.
Private Internet Access
PIA has become one of the favorite options in the industry thanks to its good selection of features and convenient prices. Their client includes useful security features such as kill switch and they support up to five simultaneous connections. With OpenVPN, PIA offers encryption of up to AES-256, with SHA256 authentication and RSA4096 handshake. No logs of your online activity are kept and you can pay using Bitcoin.