What protocols can I use with Surfshark?

In this article, you will learn more about VPN protocols — OpenVPN, WireGuard®, IKEv2, and L2TP.


We will cover the following:

  1. What is a VPN protocol?
  2. What is the OpenVPN protocol?
  3. What is the WireGuard protocol?
  4. What is the IKEv2 protocol?
  5. What is the L2TP protocol?


What is a VPN protocol?


A protocol is a set of rules governing the connection between your device and the Surfshark VPN server. Whenever you go online, you are constantly sending and receiving information. To send this information, it needs to be split into small data packets, and protocols dictate the order in which these packets are sent and the encryption used to protect them.

All protocols used by Surfshark are fast and secure, and you can stick with the default protocol or choose a different one that suits your preferences.

Different protocols offer varying advantages. Some provide faster speed or better image/audio quality, while others ensure a more stable connection. If you're experiencing connectivity issues, try changing the protocol.


What is the OpenVPN protocol?

OpenVPN is a tunneling protocol that is available as an open-source project. Its code is freely available on the internet and it is maintained and updated by security and networking experts from around the world.

If you are using the Surfshark app, you will find two options for OpenVPN: UDP and TCP.

  • UDP is faster and is great for safe streaming, video calls, or games.
  • TCP is more stable and will ensure that every single packet of information that you send from your device is delivered. However, it may be slower compared to other protocols.

NOTE: OpenVPN is available on Surfshark apps for Android, macOS, Windows, iOS, and Linux.


What is the WireGuard® protocol?

WireGuard® is a relatively new communication protocol that has recently gained popularity in the cyber-security market. Its open-source nature provides better performance compared to other protocols.

NOTE: Currently, WireGuard® is available on Surfshark apps for Windows, iOS, Android, and macOS. If you cannot find it on your Surfshark app, update it to the latest version.

Please note that WireGuard® is a registered trademark of Jason A. Donenfield.

What is the IKEv2 protocol?


IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange version 2) is a widely used VPN protocol known for its strong security features and efficient performance. It establishes a secure connection between a client and a VPN server, enabling encrypted data transmission over the internet. IKEv2 is notable for its ability to quickly re-establish connections in case of network disruptions, making it suitable for mobile devices and remote access scenarios.


What is the L2TP protocol?


Surfshark allows users the option to use the L2TP protocol, despite it not being as secure as other protocols available on the market. This protocol may offer faster speeds compared to OpenVPN and is compatible with many home routers.


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