Several security protocols are used in the creation of a VPN like:
These security protocols make sure that your VPN or Virtual Private Network can deliver security during your online browsing sessions. Out of the security mentioned above protocols, OpenVPN and WireGuard are the most commonly used security protocols by major VPN companies like Surfshark VPN, ExpressVPN, and NordVPN. Even though IKEv2 is also one of the most widely integrated security protocols in VPN products, right now, we are here to draw a line of comparison between WireGuard Vs OpenVPN and determine which is the best security protocol.
- Rundown: WireGuard & OpenVPN
- What do these Security Protocols do? OpenVPN & WireGuard?
- OpenVPN – History
- WireGuard – History
- Speed Comparison – OpenVPN Vs WireGuard
- Encryptions of OpenVPN & WireGuard
- Personal Choice Vs Security Preference
- What is the Modern Encryption Stance in the Eyes of Experts? Is it Safe?
- List of VPNs with WireGuard and OpenVPN
Rundown: WireGuard & OpenVPN
|Encryption||Blowfish, Camellia, AES||Poly1305, ChaCha20|
|Code||70,000+ Lines||4,000+ Lines|
Why did this debate start? WireGuard is a new security protocol released somewhere around 2019 and gave a direct hit to OpenVPN, which has been operating in the market since 2001 and has already been the most trusted security protocol by the VPN giants of the industry. OpenVPN was the gold standard for VPN companies, and now it’s changing as WireGuard promises to deliver better security, speed, and reliability in contrast to the already tested OpenVPN technology.
That’s why you are even here, to see which one is the best security protocol and which protocol you should go for to make sure that your online security gets air-tight.
Our team here, TechNinjaPRO, takes online security very seriously. That’s why we are always in the market to deliver the latest news and trends in the VPN industry by compiling lists about the best VPNs you can buy and why should you go for these VPNs?
Since the integration of security protocols in the VPN is a major component and should not be taken lightly, we have done a lot of R&D for this article to deliver the most authentic information for the sake of this discussion on WireGuard Vs OpenVPN.
What do these Security Protocols do? OpenVPN & WireGuard?
The purpose of a VPN security protocol is to create a secure tunnel between your device and the VPN server to which you are connected for your internet logging (browsing) purposes.
Suppose someone is learned and is interested in the customization of each and everything when it comes to technology. In that case, that person can use OpenVPN & WireGuard protocols to create their independent VPN connection. However, for the more general users (who are not tech experts), these security protocols are used by big or small VPN companies and provide their security features for an average VPN user looking to embrace the warm womb of these security protocols.
OpenVPN – History
OpenVPN was initially made by Francis Dinha and James Yonan in 2001. Even though they both have different skill sets, they were still able to build a company that changed the entire face of the cybersecurity world.
Their software (i.e., OpenVPN) is open-source software and was published under the GPU General Public License (GPL). When it was first released, the majority of the VPN companies picked up this technology to integrate this into their VPN products as per its ability to cross firewalls, and NATS (Network Address Translators), reliability of the software, and the amount of flexibility it was able to deliver.
OpenVPN software is a vintage tech. To add security layers to its setup, it has been downloaded more than 60 million times from its website by all types of users, i.e., individuals, businesses, and giant corporations.
WireGuard – History
The culture of old technology getting replaced by new technology will always trend, no matter what happens. The same thing happened with the OpenVPN security protocol. WireGuard is a new VPN protocol that is much better than OpenVPN or IKEv2/IPSec protocol.
WireGuard is a fast and modern VPN that is integrated with top-of-the-line cryptography. The primary aim of this protocol is to deliver a fast, leaner, efficient performance compared to its competitors.
The initial release of WireGuard was for the Linux Since then, it has been released on various platforms, including Windows, Mac, BSD, Android, and iOS. Moreover, it is now covering other major platforms as well.
Furthermore, the general code which was written for OpenVPN ran almost 70,000+ lines, whereas when it comes to WireGuard, it only incorporates 4,000+ lines of coding. This makes it practical and leaner in comparison to other security protocols available in the market.
The factors kept in mind while developing WireGuard were to make it simpler and easier to use. Even though the choices offered by WireGuard are less in comparison to OpenVPN, it is WireGuard’s specialty that it is far less complex.
The most notable thing about WireGuard is that it is open-source software and has already been incorporated by NordVPN for its very own NordLynx security protocol. This means that WireGuard means business as it is getting picked up by the major players of the VPN industry.
Speed Comparison – OpenVPN Vs WireGuard
Let us be honest with you, the majority of the people and companies are switching to WireGuard protocol because it provides an advantage over OpenVPN by delivering much faster speeds.
Several VPN testing companies have been testing the relatively new technology of WireGuard to check the performance of this software. The results showed that it offered great:
- Reliable Connections
- Faster & Swift Connections
The tests were conducted by minimizing the variables and clarifying which security protocol works the best in the real world. As we know VPN and try to keep active tabs on whatever is happening in the VPN industry, we can tell you that speed factors in the VPN protocols can change in an instance, so back-to-back speed tests must be done on a specific protocol to check the flexibility with which it can perform.
Once WireGuard was connected to a 500MBps ethernet connection, the testers quickly and swiftly switched connections between OpenVPN and WireGuard to get a set of consecutive speed results to eliminate the variables which might alter the speed results.
The speed tests were performed by connecting the VPN protocol to 6 to 7 server locations in the USA to check the latency, i.e., data transfer.
The results were mind-blowing as WireGuard had beaten OpenVPN in all the servers to which their selected VPN was connected to calculate the speed results. The maximum speed that OpenVPN reached with a 500MBps connection was not more than 225MBps, whereas WireGuard didn’t let its rate down to more than 275MBps, hitting the maximum speed to almost 450MBps. These results are so impressive that it makes you feel like you are not even using a VPN service (which mainly slows down your internet speed whenever it is connected).
The significant takeaway from the speed tests was:
- WireGuard will deliver the fastest speeds with the closest located servers based on your location, and the rates will fall once it is connected to a remote server.
- WireGuard’s speed was more than 50% faster than OpenVPN.
Encryptions of OpenVPN & WireGuard
The main reason for developing a security protocol for creating a virtual private network is to encrypt your internet traffic and make it impossible for any third parties to decrypt your Internet traffic or data.
Cryptographic Algorithms of OpenVPN
What makes OpenVPN so unique is because it utilizes the OpenSSL library to provide encryption. Let’s take a look at the number of cryptographic algorithms supported by OpenSSL:
|Protection of the User’s Data||Perfect Forward Secrecy|
|Transport Layer Protocol||TCP & UDP|
|Key Derivation & Agreement||SM2, Ed25519, X25519, RSA, DSA, and more.|
|Hashing||MDC-2, BLAKE2, SHA-2, SHA-1, MD4, MD5, and some more.|
|Encryption & Authentication||AES, Blowfish, Camellia, ChaCha20, SM4, GOST 28147-89, Poly1305, Triple DES, DES, and some others.|
When a security protocol is integrated with such a wide range of cryptographic algorithms, we can completely assure you that this particular security protocol is flexible and is uncrackable.
OpenVPN’s code is written so that it can negotiate the use of these various algorithms depending upon the purpose for which the security protocol is being used. This makes OpenVPN very flexible in dealing with almost all situations that may arise as per the security threats online.
Cryptographic Algorithms of WireGuard
As we have looked at OpenVPN’s cryptographic algorithms, where it shows a lot of flexibility, WireGuard only uses a fixed set of cryptographic algorithms, which can be risky if WireGuard comes face to face with a newly found internet threat.
The cryptographic algorithms integrated into WireGuard (v1.0) are:
|Protection of the User’s Data||PFS (Perfect Forward Secrecy)|
|Transport Layer Protocol||UDP|
|Key Derivation||HKDF (RFC5869)|
|Anonymous Key Agreement||Curve25519 for Elliptic-curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH)|
|Authentication||Poly1305 using RFC7539’s AEAD Construction|
Another difference that you’ll observe in the OpenVPN and WireGuard security protocol is that OpenVPN uses certificates for identification and encryption. Contrary to this, WireGuard uses public-key encryption for both of those tasks.
Personal Choice Vs Security Preference
Now that we know the basics of both protocol’s encryption, it all comes down to personal choice over security preference.
OpenVPN uses an OpenSSL library for their encryption requirements, whereas WireGuard only has a set of fixed cryptographic algorithms.
OpenVPN has been tested since 2001 a million times where it was seen supporting ciphers like AES, Blowfish, and ChaCha20. In contrast, WireGuard is not capable of this type of flexibility and forces the user to only use ChaCha20 and Poly1305.
Another significant difference that should be mentioned here is this, WireGuard consists of only 4,000 lines of code, whereas OpenVPN has more than 70,000 lines of code. One should know that the larger the surface area of the code, the more it is a target for attackers to take advantage of this considerable surface area as it would be much more challenging to identify the position where the attacker attacked. WireGuard has a much smaller footprint and thus can be easily analyzed for finding out issues, attacks, and security audits.
What is the Modern Encryption Stance in the Eyes of Experts? Is it Safe?
Everyone prefers something which is already established and has been trusted by users from all over the world. Not only trusted by individual users but also by substantial corporation-level companies.
The reason behind this is, people tend to take advanced technology as vulnerable to hackers and third-party attackers. So, they naturally consider going with the old tech as it has been tested several times.
OpenVPN comes integrated with AES cipher (military-grade encryption) and is being used by giant banks, financial institutions, governments, and military personnel to hide confidential information from anyone. WireGuard, on the other hand, uses the ChaCha20 and Poly1035 algorithms. However, we can debate everything in theory, but when it comes to practicality, the functioning might reveal something else. For instance, consider the following things.
WireGuard’s small code base makes it easier for the user to analyze and find the problem. This makes it much easier for the security experts to audit it and determine problems within the protocol quicker. This makes its testing relatively easier.
Now coming to the encryption of WireGuard, which is ChaCha20. This means that it has 20 rounds of encryption around it for delivering protection. The only ChaCha encryption which got hacked was ChaCha7. The rest of ChaCha8 and ChaCha20 remains unbroken (yet!). So, there is no security concern whatsoever in the encryption sector of both protocols.
So, lastly, both WireGuard and OpenVPN are best when it comes to delivering security and protection to their users, and it all comes down to your personal preferences.
If you like customizing your technology or software, then OpenVPN is the protocol for you. But if you want an efficient and streamlined code base that can be easily audited, then WireGuard is the tech for you.
List of VPNs with WireGuard and OpenVPN
Frequently Asked questions
Even though WireGuard does not have as many lines of code as OpenVPN, however, it is made highly secure. The only problem that you might face with WireGuard is the assigning of IP addresses. With OpenVPN you get a different IP address each and every time.
WireGuard does not hide your IP address. The public WireGuard IP address is temporarily left in the RAM during connection. The only way WireGuard gets rid of your IP address is via rebooting or when WireGuard interface has restarted.
WireGuard is a free open-source software used as a communication protocol. It implements encrypted virtual private networks and deliver fast speed, easy to use, and has a very small attack surface.
No one is an instant fan of new technology, so WireGuard might not get accepted instantly by all the VPN companies. However, it is getting the attention it deserves.
WireGuard has been tested for security concerns, IP address logs stored on servers, and speed factors. That’s why several VPN companies have widely accepted WireGuard as per the advantages it has brought to the table. The best compliment given to WireGuard software is NordVPN, as it developed the NordLynx VPN security protocol over the WireGuard technology.
In the end, there is no comparison whatsoever of both the VPN protocols. It all comes down to personal preferences. You can use both OpenVPN and WireGuard and remain secure by using both of them.