What is IPSec?

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Updated September 12, 2022

The best VPN for you is out there. All it takes is a little research and the right questions. One such question is, “What is IPSec?” and it’s a good one to know the answer to. This handy suite of protocols helps keep your data safe when you’re using a secure connection. Learn more about how IPSec does this below.


  • IPSec stands for “Internet Security Protocol.” However, it is not just a single protocol but an entire suite designed to ensure privacy and security.
  • It works by generating a key when it encrypts data. This is then sent to the receiving device, which uses its own key to decode the data.
  • IPSec also has “tunnel mode,” which happens when two dedicated routers are transmitting data to one another.

Explaining IPSec

While it might seem daunting, IPSec (Internet Security Protocol) is actually a relatively simple concept to understand. It encompasses a suite of protocols that help encrypt IP packets so that you can have better IP security. Essentially, it encodes your entire IP packet so you can enjoy low-risk browsing. Add a cryptographic algorithm, and you’ve got a recipe for security even when using public internet connections. For more information, try learning what is IKEV2 or even what is LT2P.

Insider Tip

IPSec is paramount to IP security, especially on a public network.

How Does IPSec Work?

Essentially, each device has a “key” that it uses to decode information that IPSec encodes. This is called a key exchange. During this key exchange, the data is encoded through IPSec, sent to the receiving device, and then decoded. There’s a little more to it, but we won’t get too far into the details today. If you’re looking for more information, try comparing IPSec vs. OpenVPN.

What is IPSec Tunnel Mode?

Tunnel mode is used when two dedicated routers are being used for data transfer. When you use tunnel mode, there is an extra layer of IP security since it encrypts more of your data. In fact, it encrypts the entire IP packet and the packet payload. It’ll add an IP header at each destination to ensure total privacy. Those who are operating under a less-popular system might want to look into the best VPN for Linux.


Transport mode is far less secure than tunnel mode, so be careful when using it.

STAT: In 2021, there were 330 data breaches in the healthcare sector in the United States. (source)

What is IPSec FAQs

What is IPSec transport mode?

Transport mode is a little different from tunnel mode. Instead of creating a secure tunnel, the transport mode instead encrypts the payload without encrypting the original IP header.

Why is creating a private network important?

Having a private network goes a long way in securing your personal data. It also keeps you safe from malicious attacks from hackers, such as phishing or tricking you into installing ransomware.

What is a key exchange?

A key exchange refers to the exchange of data between two devices on an encrypted network. The transmitting device creates a “key,” and the end device decrypts the data using that key.

What steps can I take for better IP security?

IP security is crucial to anybody using unsecured network communications. This might mean using a public network, for example. The best way to up your IP security is to hide your IP network with a VPN.
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