What is OpenVPN and How does it work

What Is OpenVPN?

OpenVPN is an open-source connection protocol and software that establishes secure connections over the internet using VPN techniques and custom security protocols based on SSL/TLS.

OpenVPN has been developed to increase the security and protection of users’ information when communicating.

OpenVPN is written in the C programming language and is under the GPL license.

How does OpenVPN work?

What does an OpenVPN do?

OpenVPN protocol works based on creating a private and encrypted tunnel between the client and the VPN server over a public network.

OpenVPN, as a tunneling protocol, establishes point-to-point and site-to-site communication in VPNs.

By connecting to the VPN server, the client’s traffic is securely directed through the tunnel towards the VPN server and the ultimate destination.

When connecting to the OpenVPN server, Encrypted data packets are transferred to the OpenVPN server and decrypted before being forwarded to the web server and destination.

Encryption and decryption processes are repeated when receiving the destination response and transferring it to the client.

The OpenVPN protocol implements rules for creating a secure connection and encrypting data, including using the OpenSSL library (for authentication and encryption), 256-bit encryption method, SSL/TLS, and TCP and UDP (for data transmission).

How does OpenVPN encrypt?

OpenVPN relies on SSL / TLS to authenticate and encrypt data.

OpenVPN uses SSL/TLS to verify server connections, produce encryption keys, and check data.

Also, OpenVPN uses the OpenSSL library to support any encryption system or hash function and public and private key generation technologies such as AES, Chacha20, Poly1305, Triple DES, SM4,  SHA-3, BLAKE2, Whirlpool,lowfish, CAST-128, RSA, Elliptic, etc.

OpenVPN protocol also uses an additional encryption feature called Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS). In this method, a new key is generated with each connection, and by providing various passwords and robust encryption methods, hackers’ dream of accessing your data is ruined.

OpenVPN ensures communication security by combining authentication methods through digital certificates, user credentials, and encryption keys to verify the client’s identity.

What are OpenVPN’s SSL/TLS encryption benefits?

Since SSL/TLS protects HTTPS websites, when you utilize it in your cryptographic system, all of these web servers indirectly support you.

SSL is useful for protecting financial transactions, data transfers, emails, and more; It can also bypass firewalls and Network Address Translator (NAT).

Benefits of OpenVPN

OpenVPN has many advantages and features that make it the most popular protocol globally compared to its competitors, such as:

High security: OpenVPN secures data transport using 256-bit encryption, predictive keys, and peer authentication. OpenVPN, by Using the PFS feature and generating new keys with each connection, OpenSSL and HMAC packet authentication protect your data from theft and misuse by hackers.

All-OS support: OpenVPN can be installed on all major mobile and desktop operating systems such as linux and windows, even lesser-known OS like OpenBSD, FreeBSD, and Solaris.

Free: Installing and downloading OpenVPN on all OS and connecting to a VPN server using OpenVPN is free.

Open source: Thanks to its open-source nature, OpenVPN is highly Customizable, allowing users to access its source code and troubleshoot it, and Also add features to it.

Connection control: OpenVPN gives you the freedom to choose between TCP and UDP to transfer your data. It will allow you to customize the connections and have greater control.

Hard to block OpenVPN: OpenVPN bypasses most restrictions, including firewalls. Due to support for both TCP and UDP ports, OpenVPN is challenging to detect and block.

Large community support: An extended community of VPN developers supports OpenVPN to quickly fix any vulnerabilities and cybersecurity issues and add new features tailored to web development.

OpenVPN's pros

Disadvantages of OpenVPN

  • Configuration Complexity
  • Slow connection speed
  • Incompatibility with some proxies
  • Reliance on the network’s infrastructure
  • Need to install software for using OpenVPN ( as it cannot be integrated into the OS kernel)
  • Need technical knowledge for OpenVPN setup and its security aspects

 Does OpenVPN work on any platform?

OpenVPN is compatible with most operating systems, such as Windows, Android, Linux, Mac, and iOS.

Due to its compatibility, OpenVPN is considered the best choice among VPN protocols.

What is OpenVPN used for?

OpenVPN provides a secure VPN solution for establishing encrypted connections over the internet.

When should use OpenVPN:

  • Encrypting internet traffic
  • Ensuring secure communications between multiple networks, subnets, gateways
  • bypassing stream geo-restricted content services like Netflix
  • Bypass censorship
  • securely remote access to private network over the internet
  • preventing data tracking
  • protecting privacy against ISPs, advertisers, and other third parties
  • Site-to-site connections to integrate networks
  • Deployment

Is OpenVPN free?

OpenVPN is available for free for life; as a result, there is no room to worry that OpenVPN will no longer be free.

Of course, there is a point that the use of its free services is limited, but you can also use VPS to create an OpenVPN Server without limitation.

Should I use TCP or UDP for OpenVPN?

Usually, UDP is used to improve the speed of encryption and performance of OpenVPN.

OpenVPN’s flexibility allows you to set up its encryption tunnel using TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) or UDP (User Datagram Protocol).

Comparing OpenVPN with other protocols

SpeedFastFastestSlowGoodVery fast
CompatibilityWidely compatibleCompatibleSome compatibility issuesCompatible Widely compatible
SecurityVery strongGoodWeakAverageGood
EncryptionSSL/TLS-basedNoise protocol framework and industry-standard AES-256 ciphersOutdated(MPPE)None unless combined with IPSecIndustry-standard IKEv1/IKEv2

What is better, OpenVPN or WireGuard?

WireGuard performs better and faster than OpenVPN.

Additionally, WireGuard exhibits better and more stable performance in managing network changes and is well-suited for mobile networks.

Overall, the simplicity, ease of configuration, performance, and modern design of WireGuard make it a good choice.

Is IPsec better than OpenVPN?

The choice between OpenVPN and IPsec depends on your preferences.

If security is important to you, OpenVPN, which uses strong encryption techniques at both the network and SSL/TLS levels, undoubtedly surpasses IPsec.

On the other hand, if speed is your top priority, IPsec is faster than OpenVPN and simpler to manage and configure.

Is IKEv2 better than OpenVPN?

For users prioritizing security, platform flexibility, and open-source, OpenVPN is best; however, IKEv2 is a good choice for users who value a faster and more stable protocol, especially on mobile devices.

On the other hand, most devices natively support IKEv2, while OpenVPN requires third-party software on various platforms.

Which is better SSH or OpenVPN?

SSH and OpenVPN cover different purposes.OpenVPN is used for securing internet traffic; however, SSH is preferred for secure remote access to resources and command-line control.

As a VPN protocol, SSH is a good choice for geographically restricted internet and content access since it is less well-known for VPN configuration, which makes it less likely to be subject to restrictions.

What is the difference between OpenVPN and other VPNs?

The most prominent differentiators of OpenVPN from other VPNs are the level of encryption, security, and open-source nature.

What is better than OpenVPN?

WireGuard is a new and lightweight protocol that surpasses OpenVPN in speed, ease of configuration, and performance.

Also, the conciseness of WireGuard (4000 lines of code compared to OpenVPN’s 70,000) brings advantages such as ease of security audits and reduced cryptographic risks and attack surfaces.

What is difference between VPN and OpenVPN?

VPN is a technology to secure connection between two devices over the internet, while OpenVPN is a protocol and software that enforces security standards and implements VPN technology.

OpenVPN is a VPN project that is open-source and is one of the key elements of VPN.

The performance and security of the VPN depend on its specific implementation and protocols.

Is OpenVPN better than NordVPN?

Comparing NordVPN to OpenVPN is incorrect because OpenVPN is a VPN protocol, while NordVPN is a VPN service provider that offers VPN services supporting various protocols, including OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec.

OpenVPN is known as a basic VPN protocol for being open-source, secure, and Compatible. NordVPN, on the other hand, is a reliable VPN service provider with an extensive server network, fast services, robust security features, and a commitment to privacy.

What is the difference between OpenVPN and OVPN?

OpenVPN is a security protocol and open-source VPN software, whereas OVPN is a provider of VPN services.

OpenVPN is free, while OVPN offers paid VPN services.

OpenVPN is customizable, providing more control over configuring security features. In contrast, OVPN limits you to the features it offers.

There is no significant difference in speed and security since OVPN uses various protocols, including OpenVPN, for VPN services.

What is Faster than OpenVPN?

WireGuard surpasses OpenVPN in speed, both in download and upload speeds.

While OpenVPN is well-known for its security features, WireGuard is 3.2 times faster than OpenVPN.

Why is WireGuard so much faster than OpenVPN?

WireGuard is a newer protocol designed for speed and efficiency.

Key factors such as modern encryption, a lean codebase, kernel integration, and a stateless design significantly impact the speed of WireGuard.

Will VPN work with a firewall?

Yes, OpenVPN works seamlessly with a firewall to enhance security and can bypass Network Address Translation (NAT) devices.

Can I trust OpenVPN?

Yes, OpenVPN is one of the most secure and reliable VPN protocols, using strong encryption methods(HTTPS SSL) for your sensitive data.

OpenVPN is considered trustworthy due to its open-source nature and transparency.

The large community of developers consistently works to enhance its security and stability, promptly identifying and fixing any security vulnerabilities.

Can OpenVPN track you?

No, OpenVPN is a secure protocol and cannot track you.

However, if the VPN service provider is not reputable and does not adhere to a no-logs policy and privacy measures, your online activities may be tracked.

Does OpenVPN hide my IP?

Yes, OpenVPN helps hide your real IP address.

By connecting to an OpenVPN server, your internet traffic is routed through the OpenVPN server, and the IP address of the OpenVPN server replaces your actual IP address.

Thus, websites and online services see the OpenVPN server’s IP and can’t access yours.

Can Netflix detect OpenVPN?

Yes, Netflix can detect and block the IP address and incoming traffic from VPN servers, including OpenVPN.

Netflix, through tracking requesters’ IP addresses, analyzing heavy and suspicious traffic from an IP address, keeping VPN IP addresses list, and cookie matching, detects VPN traffic.

Is OpenVPN a vulnerability?

In the world of technology, No software is considered 100% safe. Thus, OpenVPN is vulnerable, too.

OpenVPN has not been immune to vulnerabilities such as remote attackers getting access to protected networks by bypassing authentication and access control and exploiting sensitive data by triggering denial of service attacks.

Regularly updating OpenVPN and configuring the OpenVPN server following the best security practices reduce security threats.

Does OpenVPN leak DNS?

If OpenVPN is configured with any DNS leak prevention measures or if you have properly set up DNS servers on your device, it will not result in DNS leaks.

Thus, manual and improper OpenVPN setup, the lack of DNS management standards, and network conditions are reasons for DNS leaks.

Is OpenVPN good for privacy?

Yes, OpenVPN is a strong choice for privacy protection when configured properly.

OpenVPN helps enhance your online privacy by providing features such as strong cryptography, multiple encryption ciphers, Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS), and DNS leak protection.

Has OpenVPN ever been hacked?

SSL and AES-256 encryption methods in OpenVPN significantly reduce the risk of internet traffic hacking and decryption.

Despite a previously discovered vulnerability in the OpenSSL library, OpenVPN was quickly patched and is currently considered a secure protocol.

Is OpenVPN always encrypted?

Yes, OpenVPN has been developed to secure connections through various encryption algorithms by default, unless OpenVPN encryption is not properly configured for security and all security measures are disabled.

Should I use OpenVPN on my router?

Using OpenVPN on your router is an excellent way to secure and enhance the privacy of your entire home network and devices connected to your network.

Is OpenVPN on router safe?

OpenVPN is best in security, and using OpenVPN on your router provides a network-level security layer, encrypting your traffic and enhancing the security of the entire network and devices that may not natively support VPN functionality.

Does OpenVPN slow down internet speed?

Yes, VPNs slow down internet speed due to the encryption process and additional security measures to secure connections and protect data.

OpenVPN often results in a about  5-10% decrease in internet speed.

However, VPN server distance, encryption level, and other factors can influence the internet speed.

For example, if you choose a VPN server from far away, your internet speed may decrease by up to 30% or more.

Why is OpenVPN so slow?

Factors like server proximity, server load, and specific server configurations play a crucial role in the speed and performance of a VPN.

To speed up OpenVPN, upgrade the client device’s CPU, choose a less congested and close server to your location, and optimize the OpenVPN configuration (changing the port to UDP, increasing the MTU value, and using a compression protocol).

Note: Never disable encryption as it does not have that much overhead, and your security is also compromised.

How secure is OpenVPN client?

OpenVPN is known as one of the most secure protocols due to the use of highly strong encryption algorithms, such as AES-256 and Blowfish.

OpenVPN client security can be achieved via correct configuration settings, software updates, and security standards.

Is it safe to open an OpenVPN port?

If OpenVPN is correctly configured with strong security measures, opening the OpenVPN port (port 1194 by default) will not be a problem.

However, setting the firewall to restrict OpenVPN port access to authorized IP addresses is good practice.

Continuous monitoring of potential vulnerabilities, keeping the software up to date, and adhering to security practices such as authentication and encryption are advised.

Is OpenVPN a proxy?

No, OpenVPN is not a proxy.

While OpenVPN encrypts and directs all of your traffic via a server, a proxy server only mediates between your device and the internet, and it does not necessarily encrypt or secure your online activity.

How does OpenVPN make money?

Launching a VPN business and making money through subscription fees for OpenVPN Access Server, as well as partnering with other companies to provide VPN solutions and Affiliate marketing, are common ways to generate income for OpenVPN.

Where did the OpenVPN story begin?

OpenVPN protocol and software was released by James Yonan in 2001 and became one of the main elements of VPN.

The development story of OpenVPN began with a trip of a developer named James Yonan and his need for a secure remote connection to his business office.

During his trip, James Yonan had to establish an unencrypted connection to unknown servers in different countries.

So, he realized the vulnerability of his data and decided to develop OpenVPN, a safe, encrypted remote connection technique, to protect personal data from hackers and cyber attacks.

The future of OpenVPN

According to the experts, OpenVPN’s superiority to its competitors is over since new protocols like WireGuard, L2TP, and IKEv2 are replacing it.

New protocols may perform faster than OpenVPN but have a more limited platform and focus on VPN-essential performance. For example, some do not work on Mac and Linux and only support specific OS.

Other disadvantages of the new protocols are that they are not open source and do not support both TCP and UDP protocols.

Thus, OpenVPN although slower than its new competitors, remains popular as an open and reliable encryption protocol due to its flexibility and functionality.


TCP, or Transmission Control Protocol, is a connection-oriented and two-way communication protocol of the Internet protocol suite.

TCP ensures the secure, ordered, and error-checked data transfer over a network between any two devices.

TCP, due to error correction, is more secure than UDP, but it is slower owing to additional processes.

• Purchase an OpenVPN subscription from a reputable provider.
• Download the OpenVPN configuration files.
• Install the OpenVPN software on your device.
• Run the installation file and accept the default options.
• Import the downloaded configuration file into the OpenVPN software settings to add the OpenVPN server.
• Enter the username and password provided by the OpenVPN provider.
• Click on Connect.
• The desktop notification verifies OpenVPN connection success.

The main reason for using the OpenVPN protocol is that it is a scalable, secure, compatible, and customizable VPN framework. Most security experts recommend using OpenVPN for online activity, Especially because it's open source.


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