What’s the Difference Between PPTP VPN and OpenVPN?

Q&A, VPN Services
OpenVPN & PPTP Pro VPN Service:
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VPN services are more and more used to hide IP addresses and provide anonymity due to their simplicity and efficiency. Most of these services offer connections through PPTP protocol and some offer OpenVPN connections. Both are functionally the same, in that they both are VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). As far as anonymity, both offer encryption and they hide your IP address.

What is the difference between those two? PPTP vs OpenVPN – which one should you choose? Next, I will try to answer these questions.

PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol)

PPTP is popular because it is easy to configure and it was the first VPN protocol that was supported by Microsoft Dial-up Networking.

The problem is that PPTP does not provide confidentiality or encryption. It relies on the protocol being tunneled to provide privacy.

A typical upgrade path for PPTP is L2TP/IPsec. The adoption of improved VPN technologies has been slow because PPTP is convenient and easy to configure, whereas L2TP/IPsec requires a shared key or machine certificates.

List of PPTP and L2TP/IPSec VPN Services

OpenVPN

PPTP vs OpenVPNOpenVPN is a free and open source virtual private network (VPN) program for creating point-to-point or server-to-multiclient encrypted tunnels between host computers.

It uses the OpenSSL library to provide encryption of both the data and control channels. It lets OpenSSL do all the encryption and authentication work, allowing OpenVPN to use all the ciphers available in the OpenSSL package.

List of OpenVPN-based VPN Services

PPTP vs OpenVPN?

Let’s compare these two on the following criteria:

Installation

PPTP is still offered as a way to connect due to its simplicity. You can set up a PPTP connection with no software at all. OpenVPN is a little more difficult to set up but with the right tutorials an average computer user should not encounter any problems.

Security

OpenVPN is considered to be extremely secure when compared to the PPTP VPN, and also more stable. Plus one for OpenVPN.

Mobile Devices

Iphone, Ipod Touch, Windows Mobile, all work with PPTP. These are very easily setup, and just a Host Name, Login and Password will have you connected. OpenVPN does not work on such devices.

Update: Starting from iOS 10, iPhone and iPads do not accept PPTP connections, only L2TP, IPSec and IKEv2.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you are looking for high security and privacy you should choose OpenVPN. If you need easy-to-setup VPN, PPTP is a good choice.

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6 comments… add one
  • Anta Nov 15, 2009

    For Symbian OS 9.x based mobile phones (Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson) also exist PPTP VPN client – SymVPN from telexy.com. Works like a charm on my E71.

  • HideIP Admin Nov 15, 2009

    @Anta – I have written an article about SymVPN. Take a look here.

  • Mark Mar 28, 2011

    You can run Open VPN on the android OS

  • Teemu Apr 20, 2011

    If you say “you can use OpenVPN with android”, you may want to point out how? And dont say “First you need to root your device”… This is not about rooted or jailbreak’d devices.

  • PPTP vs OpenVPN Oct 19, 2011

    “First you need to root your device” – that’s sad truth for OpenVPN on Android.
    Recently I found out that in order to turn off the shutter in my Galaxy S2 camera I also need to root the device…
    Anyway, getting back to PPTP vs OpenVPN – from practical point of view it all depends on the client software: PPTP is ubiquitous on almost all devices (except BlackBerry) so it’s in plus, while OpenVPN have different clients and more flexible/complex configuration.
    The most comprehensive comparison I found:

    PPTP vs OpenVPN

  • Scrubby Jan 12, 2017

    It really shouldn’t be called a OpenVPN it’s more like a sophisticated encryption method that encrypts your network tunnels. Meaning you still need an actual VPN to hide your ass.

    I have a problem with OpenVPN not so much that its open source more like I simply don’t like their user terms, they make it quite apparent in their statement that they can hand over user data to third parties if it brakes their terms.

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