Most VPN providers offer both TCP and UDP connections to their VPN servers. But which of the two protocols is better for you?
Here is a comparison.
TCP VPN pros:
- TCP connections are usually allowed in restricted networks on common ports like 80, 443, while UDP traffic may be blocked, usually in corporate networks. Moreover, it is fairly common for ISPs to throttle UDP traffic
TCP VPN cons:
- usually, a TCP VPN connection is slower than UDP, so you should prefer UDP connections with a VPN
- higher latency in case of packets lost (unstable network connections)
UDP VPN pros:
- usually faster speeds on UDP VPN connections vs. TCP VPNs. UDP is ideal for video/audio streaming, gaming and P2P traffic
- lower latency makes it the obvious choice for online gaming
UDP VPN cons:
- it can be easily blocked in restricted networks, throttled by ISPs.
Bottom line: UDP should be the main choice when using a VPN. In OpenVPN, you can choose either UDP or TCP connection types. Using IPsec and WireGuard, it is always UDP and can’t be changed. If you are connecting from a restricted network where protocols and ports are blocked, try OpenVPN over TCP ports such as 443, 80.