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What Is OpenVPN And How Does It Work? Explained

Even if you’re new to VPN, you’ve probably heard of OpenVPN. Most of VPN service providers offer this protocol because it is very secure and reliable. But what exactly is OpenVPN? How does OpenVPN actually work? What Is the Use Of OpenVPN? In short, read the full article to know what Open VPN is.

Before understanding what OpenVPN is, let’s take a look at what VPN actually means. A VPN is a tool that allows you to browse the Internet with complete anonymity without compromising your privacy and security. It encrypts your internet traffic data and sends it to a remote server, changing your IP address in the process. In the last few years, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) have become a very popular way to protect yourself while using the Internet. There are many VPN providers like NordVPN, SurfShark, and ExpressVPN, but you may not have heard of the technology they use. One of the most popular technologies among the best VPN Providers is OpenVPN. So, what is OpenVPN actually?

What Is OpenVPN?

What is OpenVPN

OpenVPN is a virtual private network (VPN) system that implements technology for creating secure point-to-point or site-to-site connections in routing or bridge configurations and remote access setups. Implement both client and server applications. It is currently one of the most popular VPN protocols among VPN users. Programmed by James Yonan, OpenVPN was released in 2001, and its one of the few open source VPN protocols with its own open source application (WireGuard and SoftEther are the others).

OpenVPN Inc offers unique OpenVPN technologies and services, including:

  • Connect Client
  • Cloud
  • Access Server
  • Private Tunnel

What’s more, OpenVPN is open source, so anyone can see the code, and the OpenVPN community can quickly identify and fix bugs unless developers do it beforehand. Overall, OpenVPN is a very reliable and safe option when it comes to protecting your data online. But how does openVPN actually works?

How Does OpenVPN Works?

OpenVPN protocol handles communication between the client and server. Basically, this helps establish a secure “tunnel” between the VPN client and the VPN server. OpenVPN makes extensive use of the OpenSSL library when handling encryption and authentication. OpenVPN can also transmit data using User Datagram Protocol (UDP) or Transmission Control Protocol (TCP).

If you are unfamiliar with TCP and UDP, it’s a transport layer protocol used to transmit data online. TCP is more reliable because it provides a feature called error correction (when sending a network packet, TCP waits for an acknowledgment before resending or sending a new packet). UDP isn’t error-correcting, so it’s less reliable but much faster.

OpenVPN works best over UDP (according to OpenVPN.net), so the OpenVPN access server tries to establish a UDP connection first. If those connections fail, only then does the server try establishing TCP connections. Most VPN providers also offer OpenVPN over UDP by default.

OpenVPN is a technology used by many of the best VPN providers you know, such as SurfShark, PrivateVPN, and Express VPN. These companies rely on OpenVPN to provide their customers a high level of security when browsing the web, so if you are using these providers, you are actually using OpenVPN.

What Is The Use Of OpenVPN?

The main reason to use the OpenVPN protocol is because it’s very secure, really stable, and it works on multiple platforms.

Secure Remote Access

Whether you have a server in your office, a remote data center, or a cloud system that contains all your important data, OpenVPN access servers can provide secure access to them.

Site-to-site connections to bring networks together

The client-server model for OpenVPN access servers allows Linux client systems on one network to connect to an OpenVPN access server on another network and use the connected clients as VPN client gateway systems. Meaning that traffic from the entire network can reach other networks by going through the VPN tunnel already established between the client and server.

Multiple networks, subnets, gateways, and servers

No matter how complex your existing setup, the OpenVPN access server should be well integrated. VPN clients can send specific IP addresses and traffic ranges through the server. Depending on what you configure, you can also send client internet traffic through the VPN tunnel. It can be used to connect multiple different networks together in a site-to-site setup. Access servers can connect to each other to provide access to resources or VPN clients.

Secure Internet traffic or contact limited-access systems

If the OpenVPN access server is installed in a data center or cloud system, it can be used to secure the internet connection of client devices. For example, if you’re on a public network, you can make sure all your internet traffic is routed through a secure, encrypted VPN tunnel and  your own access servers. From there, traffic can continue to travel along the same route to its destination with replies sent back. So programs and people monitoring your network  can only see encrypted data packets  that are useless to them

  • Is OpenVPN Safe to Use?

Definitely, Yes! Despite WireGuard’s impressive design, OpenVPN is still the most secure VPN protocol in the market. It inspires confidence because it’s been a long time out there. Also, the OpenVPN application is an open book. Meaning any cybersecurity expert and software developer can peek inside and find bugs. There are very few known vulnerabilities in this protocol. Most VPN providers and security experts recommend sticking with OpenVPN if you want to enjoy privacy, surveillance, and hacker-free activities online.

  • Is It Easy to Set Up OpenVPN?

The OpenVPN protocol can be tricky to set up manually. Its complexity, its single undeniable flaw, makes a person dizzy. Luckily, OpenVPN’s TCP and UDP  protocols are usually preconfigured in most VPN apps for personal use. Frankly speaking, almost all VPNs we have tested till now has supported OpenVPN. And you can easily switch between TCP and UDP as you like. Unfortunately, Hotspot Shield and Hola VPN were the only providers that didn’t use OpenVPN. However, some of the most popular VPN services such as Surfshark, NordVPN, and ExpressVPN do support it.

  • Is OpenVPN Encrypted?

Typically, OpenVPN uses 256-bit OpenSSL encryption. To further secure your connection, OpenVPN can use AES, Camellia, 3DES, CAST128 or Blowfish ciphers. This is one of the OpenVPN’s key security elements and stands as one of the most secure encryption methods out there today.

  • OpenVPN Protocol Based on?

OpenVPN does not support L2TP, IPSec and PPTP, but uses its own protocols based on TLS and SSL.

  • How Well Does OpenVPN Bypass Firewalls?

OpenVPN successfully lifts many geographic restrictions by sending encrypted data over Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) port 443. However, you can also tunnel OpenVPN over User Datagram Protocol (UDP) ports.

  • OpenVPN supports an improved login and authentication process using third-party plugins and scripts.
  • Clients can physically connect to a server outside of the OpenVPN server because it supports private subnet configuration.
  • OpenVPN runs in userspace, not kernel space.

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