OpenVPN is a certain type of VPN protocol that incorporates the VPN software and uses VPN techniques to secure point-to-point and site-to-site connections. Currently, it is one of the most popular VPN protocols among VPN users. In short, OpenVPN is one of the most secure VPN protocols we use today. When you connect to the internet, particularly on a public network, there is always a risk of transmitting sensitive data across networks, leading to a data breach.
This is why it is considered the best practice to never log into a bank application while using public WiFi. On the other hand, if someone connects to a Virtual Private Network, or "VPN," using the OpenVPN protocol, the data remains secure behind very strong encryption. It was first programmed by James Yonan and released in 2001. OpenVPN is one of the open-source VPN protocols which also has its open-source application. Stay glued if you want to know more about how OpenVPN helps you with your security and privacy.
How Does OpenVPN Work?
You might already know that every VPN creates a secure tunnel between you and the website you’re visiting. If a hacker is monitoring a private network, they won't break through the secure tunnel. The ISP won't be able to read the data, and the government or a hacker won't spy on an individual. The OpenVPN protocol is usually responsible for the handling of client-server communications. It helps establish a secure "tunnel" between the VPN client and server.
When OpenVPN handles encryption or authentication, it generally uses the OpenSSL library quite largely. Also, an OpenVPN can use either UDP (User Datagram Protocol), User Datagram Protocol, or TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) to transmit data. TCP and UDP generally transport layer protocols to transmit data online. TCP is generally more stable since it offers many error correction features.
When a network packet is sent to its receiver, the TCP generally waits for confirmation before sending it again or a new packet. UDP generally doesn't perform any error correction, making it a little less stable but a much faster network.
The service also boasts high speeds, very reliable connections, and several other features. And since they are relatively new in the VPN market, their prices are lower than other industry leaders. OpenVPN always works best over a UDP; because of this, it always tries to establish UDP connections. If all those connections also fail, then only the server tries to establish the TCP connections.
Most other VPN providers also give OpenVPN over the UDP by default. Unlike most VPN protocols, OpenVPN is generally used as an open source. This is why this one isn't owned by just one person or company, so the third parties can always inspect it and continuously improve it.
Features of OpenVPN
OpenVPN has quite a handful of features to offer. You might find every feature of a good VPN in this one. Here we’ve listed the most common yet useful features of OpenVPN. Have a look.
OpenVPN takes advantage of the OpenSSL library to scoop up data encryption and monitor the channels. This enables OpenSSL to do up for all the encryption and authentication and permits OpenVPN to use all the ciphered codes in the OpenSSL package.
It can also use the authentication feature of HMAC packs to concoct an additional layer of security to the connection—retrospectively to by the manufacturer as an "HMAC Firewall". It is also able to lever hardware acceleration to provide better encryption performance. Embed TLS support is dispensable by version 2.3.
In a more plain language, OpenVPN is an open-source closed circuit encryption platform renowned across the globe and internet orb as being the most secure protocol possible.
Plus, being extremely immune, OpenVPN is highly adjustable and can be implemented in several different media. OpenVPN encryption has a great deal of data and controlling ways. The control channel is here to manage key exchange, whereas the data channel encrypts the VPN user's web traffic in retrospect.
Now, the state can't track live, encrypted VPN traffic, however, if they have a court order, they can get over into your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and requisite connection or usage logs. That is because your ISP knows you're using a VPN; they might be able to direct the observers.
OpenVPN has several transportation channels to authenticate peers one by one, at the mercy of the fact that OpenVPN provides pre-shared keys, certificate-based authentication, and username/password mechanism.
The pre-shared secret key would be described as the simplest and most powerful and rich certificate-based authentication, even though OpenVPN depends on third-party modules to use username/password key.
You should be aware of how important this feature of OpenVPN is for your cyber security, and without such methods, ensuring online safety is almost impossible.
Always make security a priority because, without it, the online world will become a scary place. OpenVPN is highly safe to go through. However, it might be identified that OpenVPN encrypted traffic was using Deep Packet Inspection (DPI). More explicitly, the government and state apparatus can perform DPI at the ISP height.
Consequently, in regions where VPN is to ban using ISP-level firewalls, it is important that your VPN may be disguised the OpenVPN traffic as common HTTPS. This usually does by routing OpenVPN traffic beneath port 443 to disguise it as a common HTTPS connection.
Obscuring might also be found via other ways, including Stunnel, Obfsproxy, or XOR. These have varied from concealing VPN use to bypassing ISP firewalls—all recognized as more robust than OpenVPN over port 443.
Thus, to be truly safe in a country where OpenVPN is illegal (Egypt, China, Russia, and Iran, for example), it's momentous that your VPN has one of the latter-mentioned obscuring ways. We'd suggested checking out before you subscribe. Likewise, note that OpenVPN over port 443 may be spotted with even modest DPI, and a more robust form of cloaking is much-needed.
Overall, your privacy is provided with strong OpenVPN encryption; you can access any content you'd like to go through without being concerned about ISPs, governments, corporations, advertisers, or even WiFi hackers keeping bills on you. There are no third parties who would be able to watch what you carry on within your online affairs, and what's more, you can bypass government-imposed restrictions and censorship, which bodes so well.
- OpenVPN is a strong protocol: It generally uses strong cyphers or keys, which decreases the chances of a data breach. It is also customizable, so you can also modify it according to your requirements.
- OpenVPN is Adaptable: A key feature of OpenVPN is that it is adaptable, and one version can always differ. It can be used for a large number of works. The VPN provider also uses different versions than what is generally used by other providers.
- OpenVPN is Open-source: When the software is non-proprietary, an entire community is working on it. When they find a bug in the software, they generally fix it and keep trying to add new features to the software. This is the main reason which adds versatility to OpenVPN.
- OpenVPN Supports Multiple Encryption Standards: There are several ciphers or keys which OpenVPN supports. A standard OpenVPN usually implements 256-bit encryption.
- OpenVPN is generally Versatile: It generally works on many network configurations. So no matter how the VPN service provider might choose to set up their servers and connectivity.
- OpenVPN is a Platform Agnostic: OpenVPN uses many protocols, and they all are device-dependent. OpenVPN also has several third-party plugins and scripts that enhance its functionality.
Advantages and Disadvantages of OpenVPN
You’ve got a clear idea regarding the most valued features of OpenVPN. Let’s learn the advantages and disadvantages of the same in order to understand whether you should use it or not. Have a look at the below section.
- OpenVPN is a very safe and secure protocol, and they also use 256-bit encryption keys and high-end ciphers.
- The OpenVPN protocol can be easily bypassed by any firewall which it encounters.
- OpenVPN can also use TCP and UDP because it offers people more control over their connections.
- OpenVPN generally runs on a large number of platforms.
- OpenVPN also has support from Perfect Forward Secrecy.
- Manually setting up an OpenVPN protocol is very difficult on some platforms.
- Sometimes you may also encounter drops in connection speeds due to its strong encryption.
- OpenVPN also requires third-party applications to run by themselves.
Is OpenVPN Safe to Use?
OpenVPN is considered one of the safest VPN protocols that one can use right now. Most VPN providers and security experts recommend using OpenVPN to enjoy private surveillance and get a hacker-free online experience. The security protocol of OpenVPN has already undergone two security audits back in the year 2017.
Technicalities Related to OpenVPN:
Generally, OpenVPN always uses 256-bit OpenSSL encryption. To strengthen the security of its connection, OpenVPN can use AES, Camellia, 3DES, CAST-128, and Blowfish cyphers.
OpenVPN usually doesn't have any support for L2TP, IPSec, and PPTP. It generally uses its custom protocol, which is generally based on TLS and SSL.
OpenVPN always supports login and authentication processes, which are done using third-party plugins and scripts. The people who use it can connect to servers way beyond the OpenVPN servers because it always supports remote subnet configuration.
To protect the users from buffer overflow exposures in the TLS or SSL enactments, DoS attacks, port scanning, and port flooding, the OpenVPN here generally relies on the tls-auth for the HMAC signature verification. OpenVPN is generally programmed to drop privileges if necessary, and it also runs in a chroot jail, which is dedicated to CRL. OpenVPN also runs the userspace instead of the kernel space.
How to Use an OpenVPN?
No single tool or encrypted connection to the internet can guarantee full security and privacy to the user, and OpenVPN is no exception. However, there are some good reasons available, so OpenVPN is generally considered one of the most secure connections in the world.
OpenVPN isn't the most user-friendly protocol that is present out there for people. Setting up a connection with it can be a bit slow. The initial stage of OpenVPN is quite similar for Android and IOS users, but it is quite complex to process for Linux users. Before setting up an OpenVPN connection, you always need a subscription from the VPN service provider.
Get the Configuration Files
OpenVPN generally requires many configuration files that define how a connection will be carried out to connect to the provider's servers. As long as you choose a decent VPN provider for him/her, they will find all the configuration files needed to come upon on their downloads page.
The configuration files generally come as archived, and they will have to unzip them. Here the most important files of them all will be the OVPN ones.
Install the OpenVPN for the Client
Once you have all the configuration files, you have to install the OpenVPN client on your device. You can easily find the installers that you need on the Downloads page of OpenVPN.net.
Here they can run the installer, accept all the default options, and choose a different install destination folder. They also can proceed with the installation process.
Import the VPN Data
To start OpenVPN, you also need to launch the OpenVPN GUI applications. It will generally add the service to the System Tray. The next step is to copy over all the OVPN files downloaded to the "Config" subfolder within the OpenVPN installation folder.
Now, you have to click on the OpenVPN icon in the System Tray. They should be able to see the names of all the files they have just copied.
Establishing the Connection
You can click on the OVPN files in the OpenVPN application when your system has prompted this type in the login credentials to connect to a server. If everything goes okay, you must see a log screen using some status commands, which will eventually disappear when the connection is established with the server. You should also get a desktop notification that lets you know the connection was successful.
OpenVPN generally has several ways to authenticate its counterparts with each other. OpenVPN always offers pre-shared keys, certificate-based, and username/password-based authentication. A pre-Shared secret key is generally the easiest way, and the certificate-based key is the most robust and feature-rich.
In version 2.0, username/password authentications can also be enabled, which can be done both with or without certificates. However, to use username/password authentications, OpenVPN usually depends on third-party modules. No single tool or an encrypted connection to the internet will guarantee full security and privacy to the user, individuals, or company, and here OpenVPN is no other exception. But you can obviously get the services if you want a secured connection to protect your devices; get OpenVPN.
Does OpenVPN access our personal information?
OpenVPN identifies you as a specific user but cannot access specific information such as contacts, locations, and search history.
Does using OpenVPN reduce internet speed?
The valid reason is not yet confirmed if using OpenVPN slows down the speed, but sometimes the encryption process takes time.
Are VPN and internet speed related?
Most of the time, using a VPN increases the speed, and you connect to the Internet world through a shortcut, but sometimes heavy traffic slows down the use of VPNs.
What is the difference between VPN and antivirus?
VPN helps you to have a more secure connection with the Internet world, but it does not eliminate viruses. Anti-virus on your device helps to eliminate viruses that have penetrated.
Can OpenVPN harm my mobile battery?
Although some VPNs consume a lot of battery, you should know that OpenVPN is not one of them.
People also read:
- VPN Protocols: What Types of VPN Protocols Are There?
- Understanding IKEV2
- Understanding Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP)
- What is SSTP VPN and How Does it Work?
Do you value your privacy online?
Use VPN Surf and surf safely and securely in the open waters of the internet.