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:
- a TCP connection is more reliable: after a TCP packet is sent, an ACK packet is received as a reply to confirm acknowledgement. But it’s not always the case with VPNs
- TCP connections are usually allowed in firewalled networks on common ports like 80, 443, while UDP traffic may be blocked, usually in corporate networks
TCP VPN cons:
- somestimes a TCP VPN connection is slower than UDP, so you might want to look for VPN providers offering L2TP or OpenVPN on UDP for faster connections.
UDP VPN pros:
- usually faster speeds on UDP VPN connections Vs. TCP VPNs. UDP is ideal for video/audio streaming and P2P traffic
- recommended on OpenVPN connections, especially those running over non-blocked ports such as 53/UDP (DNS)
UDP VPN cons:
- sometimes it is unreliable, as UDP protocol does not guarantee delivery of packets.
bottom line: if you use your VPN to surf the web, send emails, and want the VPN traffic to be stealthier, then a TCP VPN is right for you. If you need better speed, such as for audio & video streaming (Hulu, Netflix, Pandora etc.), an UDP VPN is what you should use.