The type of encryption a VPN offers is one of the most important factors to consider when looking for a service provider. A VPN will use different types of encryption, with some being stronger than others.
In this article, we’ll go over what VPN encryption is and discuss AES-128 encryption or bank-grade encryption as it’s known and compare it to AES-256 bit encryption or military-grade encryption. We’ll also talk about how protocols play a part in the overall encryption and security offered by your VPN provider.
What is VPN Encryption?
VPN encryption is a method that scrambles, or encrypts, the data being sent from your computer to another server. This way, no one can read it without having access to a decryption key that will be used for decrypting it.
With encryption, your data is completely hidden so that no third parties can view it. This means your Internet Service Provider (ISP), government agencies, and hackers won’t be able to decrypt your data and steal your personal information from online or sell it.
Simply put, encryption is necessary for all internet users who want privacy and security online, especially for P2P VPN connections or when carrying out other sensitive internet activities.
What Types of Encryption are There?
Encryption has evolved over time. Nowadays, there are two types of commonly used encryption with VPNs. The types of VPN encryption available are:
- AES-128 bit encryption: This is also called bank-grade or standard level encryption. AES 128 bit encryption is still considered strong, but it cannot be considered military-grade because its key length isn’t high enough.
- AES-256 bit encryption: This type of VPN encryption can be classified as ‘military Grade’ and is considered unbreakable by anyone other than governments with very intensive resources at their disposal. It’s the strongest available on any public network and has a minimum required key length of 32 characters (or twice that if it’s an even number).
The main downside to using this form of encryption is speed. Data transfer speeds will slow down significantly when you use the AES-256 bit due to the increased processing power needed for encrypting/decrypting all your traffic. If you live in China or another country with heavy internet censorship, then we recommend choosing stronger connections like AES-128 over this option.
What Does AES Stand for?
AES stands for Advanced Encryption Standard and there is even an international competition every few years where people come up with ways to crack this type of security system.
Do Protocols Affect Encryption?
Yes, they do. There are many different protocols that you can choose from to encrypt your traffic with a VPN provider and the most common ones are OpenVPN (UDP/TCP), L2TP, PPTP, and IKEv2.
Each one of these will have an impact on how fast your internet connection is while using them but not all offer military-grade encryption so some might be faster than others depending on what type of data transfer speeds you need for browsing or streaming online content.
The best option is usually choosing between OpenVPN UDP and TCP which offers advanced encryption by default without sacrificing speed too much since it’s slightly more efficient than its counterparts in terms of bandwidth usage when implemented correctly.