PPTP vs L2TP

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Updated September 12, 2022

The best VPNs protect data from those looking to steal it for personal gain. However, many don’t understand the competing methods used to accomplish VPN protection. Understanding these methods is critical to finding the correct form of protection, personal or professional. Below, we’ll analyze two standard VPN protocols. So, keep reading as we compare PPTP vs L2TP to help you land on your protocol of choice.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • VPN protocol determines how private networks transfer data.
  • There are various methods of VPN protocol, each differing in level of encryption and connection speed.
  • PPTP is compatible with most operating systems and has a faster speed than most VPN protocols. However, it offers the weakest level of encryption security.
  • The L2TP VPN tunnel offers no basic encryption but becomes highly secure when paired with an additional encryption protocol suite.

One of the most common uses for VPNs comes when setting up remote office spaces. To understand the range of internet technologies to do this effectively and safely, you can check our article explaining a VDI vs VPN.

Insider Tip

Because PPTP has been around for so long, it is usually built into all major platforms, software, and streaming services.

The L2TP VPN tunnel offers no basic encryption but becomes highly secure when paired with an additional encryption protocol suite.

L2TP vs PPTP

Unlike other comparisons, such as LAN vs VPN (two completely different technologies), L2TP and PPTP are two sides of the same coin. They both describe different types of VPN protocols, which, in other words, is how a VPN exchanges data to create a secure connection. Most VPN services let users choose between a selection of protocols, which is why it’s essential to know the differences in terms of security, stability, and speed.

The different secure VPN protocols vary in speed, encryption strength, stability, and compatibility with additional software and devices.

PPTP stands for “Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol.” PPTP is the oldest and remains one of the most popular VPN protocols. It protects data by taking all online traffic, encrypting it, and creating a separate connection for data to pass through (where the term “tunneling” comes from.)

L2TP, or “Layer-2 Tunneling Protocol,” is similar to PPTP because it also uses a tunneling protocol to transfer data. However, L2TP doesn’t come with encryption of its own. Instead, it needs to be paired with IPsec for encryption.

Suppose you finish this article and want to learn more bout other standard protocol methods. In that case, you can continue by reading our article comparing IKEV2 vs IKEV1.

Encryption Strength

The level of encryption determines the overall protocol security. Encryption is measured by bits–a unit representing how many characters your data is encrypted with. The lower the bit, the greater the security vulnerabilities.

PPTP has the weakest encryption standards of all the major protocols. Its 128-bit encryption remains a popular choice because of its broad compatibility. Still, many computer manufacturers recommend using a protocol with more robust levels of security. For this reason, most companies with remote employees refuse to use PPTP.

Another area to factor in concerning remote work is a remote desktop vs VPN.

L2TP, while offering no encryption by itself, is paired with IPsec. This pairing creates 256-bit strong encryption, which results in some of the most secure protocols available. While many consider PPTP an obsolete protocol in today’s online arena, L2TP has very few vulnerabilities and is one of the safest options.

Warning

There are credible but unconfirmed suspicions that the NSA has compromised the L2TP protocol.

Connection Speed

A significant concern with VPNs is the speed of the connection. PPTP has one of the fastest connections available. However, the speediness is attributed to its relatively low encryption overhead.

Meanwhile, L2TP is significantly slower than PPTP because of its high usage rate due to extra encryption bits. It also authenticates the origin of all the data passing through the secure tunnel, where PPTP doesn’t. For this reason, many recommend switching to L2TP when dealing with sensitive information and switching to a different protocol once finished.

STAT: About 12% of VPN users use it to access the dark web. (source)

Stability

L2TP is a clear winner when working on unstable connections, such as public networks. An L2TP connection is stable and rarely cuts out, while PPTP connections, although fast, are known to let users down, especially when using public networks.

PPTP vs L2TP FAQs

Does PPTP or L2TP cost more?

PPTP is the most affordable proprietary protocol on the market because it requires the lightest amount of infrastructure.

What is an OpenVPN connection?

OpenSource is one of the newer tunneling protocols offered by VPN providers. It provides the most secure VPN technology on the market, although it is not fast in terms of processing speed.

Is PPTP still secure?

Although PPTP remains an option offered by VPN providers and provides a level of security, it is not recommended for handling private data.