What Is VPN Encryption, Types, Protocols And Algorithms Explained

Last updated: April 21, 2024 Reading time: 7 minutes
VPN Encryption

Encryption is a method used to enhance the security and privacy of the data or information that is sensitive to be accessed by any random person.

Encryption is the process that converts the actual data and information into an unreadable and coded format, which is protected by an encryption key set by the authorized user only.

The data can be decrypted when the authorized user correctly enters the key. There are different categories of encryption like file encryption:

Why It’s Important

Cybercrimes are very common as hackers, spammers, and other snoopers, including government security and surveillance agencies, have started using high-end technology to access your network and steal sensitive information and data.

That harms your device physically but is also dangerous for your confidential information like bank account details, credit card information, private conversations, photos, videos, and other similar information. No one ever wants such sensitive data to be in the wrong hands.

How can internet data be encrypted? You don’t need to worry because there is a solution for this Internet data encryption. It is done by a tool called Virtual Private Network (VPN) and VPN Encryption.

What is VPN Encryption

VPN Encryption is when a VPN hides your data in a coded format unreadable by anyone trying to snoop on your data. A VPN encrypts the data when it enters and passes through its tunnel, then decrypts it at the other end, where the VPN server connects you to your requested website; meanwhile, all your login details are kept through the secure transfer hidden by VPN encryption.

Let’s learn something about the technological aspects of VPN encryption below.

Different types of VPN 

A VPN uses different combinations and techniques for encryption which can be easily understood when you know the types of VPNs and the protocols they use for encryption and security.

Related Question about VPN

1. Site To Site VPN

Companies often need to connect one of their offices to another office remotely with privacy and secrecy maintained. This is achieved by installing a site-to-site VPN, which builds a private encrypted tunnel and provides a secure connection between the office branches in any location.

Offices mainly use a Site-to-Site VPN, also known as Router-to-Router VPN. It is called router-to-router VPN because one router acts as a VPN Client, and the other serves as a VPN server to provide secure and anonymous internet within offices in different locations.

2. Remote Access VPN

A Remote Access VPN provides the internet connection to its users remotely through its private network. Home users and office employees use it mostly to connect to their company’s server when traveling away from the office location.

It connects the individuals by creating a secure virtual tunnel between the user’s computer or device and the VPN server. It connects them to the internet with a secure encrypted tunnel.

Home users usually use this VPN to eliminate geo-restrictions and access the blocked websites in their region. In contrast, office employees use it when they want to access the company’s server from a different location.

Types of VPN protocols

The level of privacy and security you get from a VPN depends on what type of protocol it uses to secure your data and maintain privacy. The VPN providers use different types of VPN protocols; each type of VPN protocol mentioned below provides an extra level of security, so let’s take a look at them.

1. IPSec – Internet Protocol Security

Internet Protocol Security or IPSec is the most common VPN protocol used by site-to-site VPNs to ensure the safety of the data on IP networks, including the Internet. It can secure data between the router, firewall to the router, desktop to the server, and desktop to the router.

It mainly uses two sub-protocols: Encapsulated Security Payload (ESP) and Authentication Header (AH), instructing the data packets traveling through the tunnel. Both send instructions based on which type of data packets transfer via the tunnel.

2. L2TP

It is a tunneling protocol with the combination of IPSec to build high-end security, privacy, and a highly secure VPN connection. It is the primary point-to-point protocol (PPP) used majorly as a tunneling protocol and other encryption protocols like IPsec to strengthen and enhance security and privacy. It is also supported by site-to-site VPNs but is used by remote access VPNs.


PPTP protocol is the most commonly used protocol and supports thousands of operating systems and devices. It is responsible for encrypting the data from one point to another by creating an encrypted tunnel and transferring it. It supports 40-bit and 128-bit encryption or any other scheme supported by PPP.

4. OpenVPN

OpenVPN is an open-source software application that uses a VPN mechanism to create a secure point-to-point connection in virtual tunnels and remote access features. It is considered the most secure VPN to provide diverse and complex security protocol functions.

5. SSTP – Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol

It is mainly used for high-end Encryption in Windows as it’s a Microsoft proprietary protocol, so where OpenVPN is not supported, SSTP can be implemented for the same level of security and encryption. It is more robust than PPTP and L2TP/IPSec.

6. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) VPN Encryption

Unlike other traditional VPN protocols used in particular VPN software, Secure Sockets Layer SSL VPN encryption is used for web browsers. It can be used in browsers extension, which don’t require any specific app to install and set up.

It can be directly added to the internet browser and has an on/off switch to operate when you need to use it and turn it off when you are done. It mainly provides remote users access to client/server applications, Web applications, and internal network connections.

7. Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) VPN Encryption

Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) builds virtual private networks (VPNs). It is a convenient and flexible way to route and transfers various types of network traffic using the MPLS backbone structure; the most common types of MPLS VPNs used today are:

  1. Point-to-point (Pseudowire)
  2. Layer 2 (VPLS)
  3. Layer 3 (VPRN)

A VPN tunnel is a way through which it connects your computer to its server, and it must be fully secure and encrypted. An encrypted VPN tunnel ensures that all your data traveling through it is hidden from the eyes of anyone trying to snoop on your network. In contrast, an unencrypted tunnel can leak your data information due to weak encryption protocols.

VPN without Encryption

Not all VPNs need to offer encryption. It is a sporadic case that a VPN tunnel is unencrypted, but it happens; some VPNs might not use encryption to protect data traveling via a tunnel. For example, a VPN tunnel between two hosts may use Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE), which is expected to be encrypted but is neither secure nor trusted.

Such VPNs without Encryption are dangerous and trap users’ data because they believe all their data is safe. No one can see what they are doing online, but that is where they are wrong, and sometimes even using such unencrypted VPN, people get attacked by cybercriminals.

VPN Encryption Algorithms

VPN uses protocols and some encryption algorithms for ultimate privacy protection. Mainly three VPN encryption algorithms are used by commercial or standard VPN companies AES, RSA, and SHA., briefly described below.

AES-AES (Advanced Encryption Standard)

It is a secure algorithm used in symmetric key encryption. It supports various critical lengths of 128, 192, and 256 bits. The longer the key size, the stronger the encryption, which also means it takes more time to process, resulting in a slower connection speed.


It is based on the names of people who officially described this algorithm in past years. It is used in an asymmetric public key system, which means a public key is used to encrypt the data, but a different private key is used to decrypt it. All the current VPN protocols, like OpenVPN SSTP, are usually used for the best and strong encryption.

Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA)

SHA- Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA) created by Cisco is very secure and robust. It requires both the sender and receiver to imply with this algorithm while encrypting and decrypting the message or the data traveling through the VPN tunnel.


After all the discussion we have done to inform you about what a VPN does for your privacy and security and how it does so, we helped a little more towards protecting your internet privacy and encryption.

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About the Author

Waqas is a cybersecurity journalist and writer who has a knack for writing technology and online privacy-focused articles. He strives to help achieve a secure online environment and is skilled in writing topics related to cybersecurity, AI, DevOps, Cloud security, and a lot more. As seen in: Computer.org, Nordic APIs, Infosecinstitute.com, Tripwire.com, and VentureBeat.

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