The Advantages and Disadvantages of OpenVPN

Last Updated by Thalia Oosthuizen on January 24, 2019

Take advantage of OpenVPN to bypass geo-restrictions and improve your security at the same time.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)OpenVPN professes to be the world’s most trusted Virtual Private Network (VPN), and certainly delivers on that claim. Optimizing open source software, this VPN delivers secure point-to-point or site-to-site connections in bridged or routed configurations.

OpenVPN utilizes custom security protocols that take advantage of Secure Socket Layer (SSL) for added protection online. Many VPN providers on the market today use OpenVPN as a protocol and there are plenty of reasons for it, many of which will be covered in this article.

Read on to find out more about OpenVPN, along with its advantages and disadvantages.

What is a Protocol?

Quite simply, a protocol is a set of guidelines and rules that are used for electronic communication. The guidelines and rules are followed by systems when data is sent and received between them.

This drastically reduces the amount of time needed for information exchange and also eliminates the need for end-user interference at the end of a communication.
Network VPN

What is OpenVPN?

This protocol is a well-received, popular VPN implementation that is extremely stable and has excellent security. It is published under GNU General Public License.

OpenVPN uses different protocols and methods to ensure users’ communications are secure and private, including HMAC authentication, OpenSSL, and shared keys. OpenVPN also supports many cryptographic algorithms, including AES, 3DES, and Blowfish.

Advantages

When OpenVPN stops working, the network pauses so that a repair or reconfiguration can occur. This ensures that no corruption, miscommunication, or data loss takes place. This is also another layer of security that protects users.

1 Strong Security

OpenVPN boasts superior security features including strong encryption standards, HMAC packet authentication, peer authentication, and certificates. OpenVPN is the perfect protocol for those wanting to ensure that their network is secure and safe from hackers and prying eyes. OpenVPN also runs in your user space without needing root privileges, ensuring it is robust and safe at all times.

2 Great Community Support

As OpenVPN is an open source protocol, it enjoys the community support and focus that is offered to almost all software protocols licensed by GNU GPL. As it is open source, the source code is readily available and is free for modification.

3 Highly Configurable

OpenVPN can be run on both TCP and UDP protocols on any port. This makes OpenVPN extremely difficult to block.

4 Other advantages include

  • Incredibly secure
  • Can easily bypass firewalls
  • High 1024-bit encryption levels
  • Supports perfect forward secrecy
  • Readily vetted and open source
  • Supports various cryptographic algorithms
  • Well supported and versatile

Disadvantages

1 High Overheads

Because of the variety of overheads accrued when running OpenVPN, the protocol can experience high latencies based on distance being covered, location of access, and situation. There is also another reason for the latency – the decryption and encryption processes in place on OpenVPN occur in the user space.

2 Proxy Problems

Although many proxy servers support OpenVPN, unfortunately there are some that don’t. If you happen to try and connect through any proxy servers that don’t support the platform, you will run into problems.

3 Complex

Setting up an OpenVPN network can be quite daunting for beginners. With the variety of configurable aspects and options available, it can be hard work with disastrous results if it ends up in uninitiated hands.

4 Other disadvantages include

  • Needs third party software for setup
  • Lengthy and complex setup
  • Difficult to configure
  • Blocked by some proxy servers

Final Thought

While OpenVPN is considered slower than other protocols available for VPNs, there are so many advantages to using OpenVPN.

In fact, it has proven itself many times to be a secure, robust option for users to enjoy added privacy and security.

Thalia Oosthuizen
After studying computer science at University for three years, Thalia developed a passion for online privacy and security. This passion has lead to her becoming a cyber security writer, sharing her knowledge with others so they have access to the information needed to protect their privacy online.