OpenVPN is one of the most popular and widely accepted standard tunneling protocols for VPN services. As of the moment, with no other modern protocols challenging the position of OpenVPN as VPN tunnel, it is easy to be on the lead in terms of performance and security.
WireGuard, on the other hand, is another VPN tunneling protocol that has been claiming to do better than other protocols such as PPTP, L2TP, etc., will this protocol be able to surpass OpenVPN or let alone even challenge OpenVPN’s position on the top spot in terms of performance and security? Which protocol works better? Is it WireGuard or OpenVPN?
Differences between WireGuard and OpenVPN
|P2P File Sharing||Yes||Yes|
|Compatibility||Windows, Android, Linux, iOS||All devices|
|Ease of Setup||Yes||No|
What is WireGuard
As mentioned earlier, WireGuard is a VPN protocol that strives to deliver better and more secure, faster and simpler solution. This protocol runs on UDP and has small code size of 3700 lines. The simplicity of these lines or codes bring impressive key features that are easy to implement, provides faster performance and has fewer bugs.
- Faster than OpenVPN
- Delivers secure online connections
- Could decrease battery consumption and enhance roaming support on mobile devices
- Uses modern cryptographic primers and has small attack surface
- Works well on Linux distributions only
- Work in progress product
- It only supports UDP protocol
- Does not use 443 (HTTPS traffic port)
VPN Services that support WireGuard
What is OpenVPN?
OpenVPN is a VPN protocol that applies VPN techniques which protect point to point and site to site connections. It provides a great balance of security and speed. However, unlike WireGuard, OpenVPN has over 600,000 complex lines of code which makes it difficult to implement.
- Established open source VPN tunneling protocol and has huge number of experts and auditors behind it
- Delivers decent performance, speed and security
- Uses OpenSSL encryption library and TLS as primary cryptographic standard
- Has some connection issues due to strong encryption function
- Needs third party apps to run
- Manual configuration of the protocol is difficult on few platforms
- Uses outdated cryptographic primers
Which VPNs support OpenVPN?
Comparing WireGuard and OpenVPN
In terms of performance, WireGuard is much better than OpenVPN. OpenVPN is much slower than its other counterparts such as PPTP and L2TP. Though this factor was not that important until multi-threaded processing was incorporated in computers to provide higher throughput. This is where OpenVPN cannot keep up with the demad especially for faster speed. WireGuard on the other hand is integrated in the kernel space which makes it much less complex and makes it faster and able to utilize efficiently multi-threading capabilities of modern PC. Due to this, upon comparing both WireGuard and OpenVPN, we could say that WireGuard wins this category.
OpenVPN uses encryption techniques and its OpenSSL library provides highly secured cryptographic primers. It uses RSA and AES data and control that would ensure you are protected from brute-force attacks. It has a maximum encryption strength of 4096 bits. While WireGuard on the other hand uses the maximum 256-bits of key length.
The 256-bit key length is more than enough and greater than it would be an overkill.
As for authentication, OpenVPN uses HMAC authentication code and for encryption it uses AES and RSA. WireGurad on the other hand uses a different set of encryption- ChaCha20, SipHash24, Curve25519 and BLAKE2s.
Though OpenVPN uses strong encryption, it is a bit outdated and could be more susceptible to attacks than WireGuard.
3. Ease of Use
As mentioned earlier, WireGuard is easier to set up compared to OpenVPN. WireGuard could be used across platforms and has a basic interface bit is powerful compared to other existing protocols. OpenVPN on the other hand could be modified based on user preference. It also requires use of security certificates which makes it more complicated compared to WireGuard.
Compared to OpenVPN, WireGuard is more easily auditable. Though OpenVPN has earned the trust of many security experts in terms of auditing, it is more difficult to audit as it is more complex in terms of its codes. WireGuard on the other hand has not received the same degree of strict auditing, its code is simpler and is more easy to audit compared to OpenVPN.
In terms of the categories and factors that we have featured in this article, it seems that WireGuard has beaten OpenVPN. We hope that WireGuard will live up to its expectations and will continue to improve in providing safer online experience.