WireGuard and OpenVPN are leading names when it comes to VPN protocols. So, you may be wondering what’s the difference between them. Which is more secure, faster, and better for your needs? WireGuard is a modern, faster, and easier-to-use VPN protocol while OpenVPN is an extremely compatible, reliable, and tested protocol.
Read on to discover the ins and outs of OpenVPN vs. WireGuard to help you make the most informed decision when choosing a VPN service provider.
What Is a VPN?
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, forwards your online traffic to a server in another country used by many people. As you browse the internet, your IP address is masked because it appears to be coming from another country.
Additionally, since so many users are on the server at the same time, it is difficult for people to track your online activity.
VPN creates a tunnel to hide your internet activity from hackers, businesses, and government agencies.
You can use a VPN for the following benefits:
- Connect more securely on public Wi-Fi
- Bypass geo-specific restrictions while streaming
- Unlock blocked content
- Shield your internet traffic from businesses
- To game more safely online
- Download files safely and anonymously
There are many VPN service providers. Each of these providers uses a VPN protocol or a rule for how data travels between your device and a VPN server. There are several common protocols such as the following:
Each has its advantages and disadvantages, but two stand out as the most used in business: OpenVPN and WireGuard.
What is OpenVPN?
According to their website, OpenVPN is one of the world’s most respected brands for affordable and easy-to-manage VPN. Developed by James Yonan and published under GNU General Public License, OpenVPN is a tunneling protocol used for transferring data with either a User Datagram Protocol (UDP) or TCP.
It was released in 2001, making it a tried and tested protocol. It is widely used around the world, making it compatible with many devices and supported by many routers. It sports stable, albeit slower, VPN connections. OpenVPN also has Network Address Translators (NATs) and firewalls to provide extra security.
People use OpenVPN protocols with third-party VPN clients. It is not built into computers or mobile devices. It is the default protocol used by many VPN service providers and has no known vulnerabilities.
What is Wireguard?
WireGuard is a new protocol for VPN tunneling that uses UDP to transfer data. It is designed as a general-purpose VPN that is free and open source. It is widely supported and faster than many other VPN protocols. According to WireGuard’s webpage, it uses state-of-the-art cryptography and aims to be easy to configure.
Jason A. Donenfeld developed this VPN protocol and released it in 2015, so it is a modern rethinking of older protocols. WireGuard pairs well with many devices and operating systems. It uses strong ciphers and a minimal codebase to provide a small attack surface.
It runs on embedded interfaces to improve performance on devices and networks. Its shorter code makes it easier to audit. People use WireGuard in many VPN apps because it is easier to set up than many other types of VPN protocols.
OpenVPN vs. WireGuard
These two VPN protocols are both widely used around the world, but how do they stack up to one another when you compare them side-to-side? OpenVPN has the advantage of being an established protocol that has been trusted for many years, whereas WireGuard VPN is newer.
However, WireGuard can boast new and more complex code and faster speeds, whereas OpenVPN is a bit slower. So, which one is better? Let’s look point-by-point at how these two VPN protocols compare.
When it comes to connection and performance speeds, WireGuard outperforms OpenVPN. WireGuard is around 3.2 times faster than OpenVPN. If you connect to servers with low latency, you will have better results than high latency servers. The closer the connection, the faster the speed.
Speed tests from a variety of sources indicate that WireGuard has improved on many of the shortcomings of other VPN protocols. It has doubled the download bandwidth, owing to its faster speeds shorter code, and fewer variabilities. NordVPN, a VPN service noted for its fast speeds, uses WireGuard as its VPN protocol.
OpenVPN isn’t extremely slow, and the average user probably wouldn’t even notice the difference, but if you are doing a lot of downloading or need to connect fast, WireGuard tends to come out on top.
OpenVPN has configurable encryption options. So, you can choose the level of encryption that data is transmitted with. This way, if you have a device or server that is slower, you can use weaker encryption keys to increase your speed. This gives the user more options when it comes to the performance of their VPN.
OpenVPN supports an OpenSSL library for its encryption algorithms. OpenSSL supports the following cryptographic algorithms:
- Triple DES
- And many more
This versatility gives OpenVPN the ability for more flexibility and complexity of code, which is why OpenVPN can have slower speeds. OpenVPN uses Curve25519 as its key exchange, which is a form of elliptic curve cryptography that offers 128 bits of security.
WireGuard uses TLS/SSL, an internet security protocol developed to ensure privacy, authentication, and data integrity. Meanwhile, the WireGuard protocol uses ChaCha20 encryption ciphers. It is a strong level of encryption like the AES-256. With the Poly1305 Hashing function as their authentication process, WireGuard uses the latest technology to encrypt transmitted data.
However, it offers fewer configuration options than OpenVPN.
When it comes to security, both WireGuard and OpenVPN are secure VPN protocols. OpenVPN has no known security vulnerabilities. Its code has been audited repeatedly and many experts back this protocol. Both protocols use Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS), which provides a new, unique session key for authentication.
WireGuard has more modern ciphers and algorithms it uses to make it secure. Its smaller attack surface makes it difficult for hackers to penetrate. It also has performed admirably on audits. Yet, OpenVPN has time on its side. Its longevity means it has been tested time and again and passed.
Security experts prefer open-source VPN protocols because they are audible. Both WireGuard and OpenVPN are auditable, but OpenVPN needs a team of experts combing through hundreds of lines of code to perform the audit.
WireGuard only has about 4,000 lines of code, so it is easier to audit. This makes it easier for engineers to check for vulnerabilities in the protocol and make it safer for users. Open-source code allows experts to look for problems in the primitives.
Then, engineers can issue bug fixes and updates to strengthen the protocol.
An important aspect of any VPN protocol is its compatibility with operating systems. OpenVPN’s longevity once again gives it an advantage, so it is compatible with most operating systems including Windows, Android, iOS, MacOS, and Linux.
The developer made WireGuard intending to integrate it into the Linux kernel. However, WireGuard is becoming more common and is compatible with several operating systems. OpenVPN is supported on many routers, while WireGuard is supported on very few.
Yet, the longer WireGuard is on the market the more it will grow in compatibility. As more providers adopt this protocol to increase speeds and for its ease of audibility, it will become more widely known and used.
OpenVPN offers a large range of algorithms to choose from while WireGuard uses a fixed number. This makes OpenVPN more flexible because you can change from one algorithm to the next to increase your speed or to switch from a less secure encryption algorithm to a better one if a vulnerability is discovered.
Many people use VPNs to bypass censors or to unlock geo-specific content. OpenVPN is better at bypassing sensors because it uses TCP port 443. What makes this port successful is that HTTPS traffic uses the same port, so it can’t block it, or most sites will be blocked.
However, OpenVPN may still get blocked by deep pack inspection (DPI). So, obfuscation aids in making the server undetectable. Yet, obfuscation is a VPN provider-level choice. WireGuard’s bypassing capabilities vary.
Some use obfuscation and several services use WireGuard that can even unblock content in China, but this is more of a service-level choice rather than a protocol aspect.
Although VPN is a great way to enhance cybersecurity, it isn’t always the best when it comes to privacy. So, when you choose your VPN service, you must pay attention to their privacy policies. Some services keep logs of your data. The protocols themselves are not what makes a VPN great with privacy or not.
At the beginning of its inception, WireGuard would store user’s IP addresses on the server. However, engineers rectified this issue. However, it is important to note that incorrect configuration can leave users of OpenVPN protocols vulnerable to the same problem.
If you are concerned about privacy, be sure to check each provider’s stance on user data and anonymity. It is important to note that open-source technology, while beneficial in some ways, can be problematic in others.
Open-source licenses are vulnerable to hackers because the code is readily available to anyone. Hackers can use this public access to exploit the system. Both OpenVPN and WireGuard are open source.
Which is Better?
When it comes to deciding which protocol is better, you have to consider many factors. OpenVPN has been trusted for many years and is compatible with a large number of operating systems. It also has versatility when it comes to encryption.
Yet, OpenVPN operates slightly slower than Wireguard protocols. However, most users wouldn’t even notice the difference. Gamers and people who download large amounts of data will be the most affected by the slower speeds.
WireGuard is newer with shorter codes that make it faster and easier to use. However, fewer routers are designed to implement this protocol and it has less of a track record for how it performs against cyber threats.
If you want a completely private protocol, it is important to remember that at one time WireGuard stored IP addresses. Even though that issue is resolved, it could be an indication of other privacy weaknesses we don’t know about yet.
So, if you need reliability and versatility, OpenVPN should be your choice. If you want fast speeds and simplicity, WireGuard is better for you.
What Sekur Can Offer
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SekurVPN keeps your IP address anonymous online and has high-speed servers with military-grade advanced encryption. You will leave no trace of what data you are transferring as you navigate securely on our Swiss server.
Our technology is proprietary, so it is not open source. It is also easy to use. One license works for all your devices. So, try out Sekur today to regain your privacy.
Looking at the facts, both OpenVPN and WireGuard VPN protocols have a lot to offer. OpenVPN has been around longer, so it has the advantage of more compatibility, a better track record, and more versatility. Yet, it is a bit slower than WireGuard.
WireGuard is new and faster. It is an easy-to-use and secure VPN protocol, but it isn’t as compatible or widely used as OpenVPN.
Both protocols are some of the most secure on the market. So, it is important to look at more factors than just the protocol when considering which VPN service provider to choose. Make sure you get a provider that prioritizes your privacy and implements the best practices of each protocol.