SSL VPN: The Alternative Solution

I have always used PPTP vpn because it is by far the simplest to setup and works great most of the time. I use it when travelling to watch the US and UK TV shows online and for security at Wi-Fi hotspots. In cases where port 1723 (PPTP) is blocked or GRE packets are disabled, for example in countries like Oman or Belize, it is recommended to use L2TP/IPSEC which uses a different port and protocol and is slightly more secure. In many cases using L2TP is actually a little faster, and I have witnessed this in the UAE. However, in the rare case when both PPTP and L2TP won’t work for you, such as in an office network with strong firewalls or at university or hotels that block everything except web traffic then you will need another solution…

SSL based vpn can use any port but in most cases the VPN provider would use the same port as your browser does when accessing secure ‘https’ sites (port 443) so this port is never blocked on any network for obvious reasons. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and is a cryptographic protocol that uses certificates to encrypt and authorize a connection. It is generaly used for securing shoping sites and for online banking. Most vpn providers offer SSL VPN based on the OpenVPN server. This is an opensource server software that requires that you install the openvpn client software on your pc in order to establish a tunnel over the SSL protocol. Compatible software is available for Mac, Windows and Linux machines. You might be able to find a compatible client for the iPhone or other mobile device.

 Benefits of using OpenVPN include:

  • Higher data encryption (up to 2048bit)
  • Opensource software available for most platforms
  • SSL port is never blocked
  • TCP or UDP tunnels
  • Works on networks that block PPTP and IPSEC
  • Faster than PPTP and uses real-time adaptive compression
  • Works in Morocco, Guyana, Belize, Oman and Ethiopia

OpenVPN software:

OpenVPN account providers:


Add a Comment