OpenVPN TCP vs UDP: What’s Better and Which to Choose?

There are two types of internet protocols, the first one is TCP which is an abbreviation of Transmission Control Protocol and the other one is UDP which is an abbreviation of User Datagram Protocol. Open VPN offers these both types of internet protocols and you are allowed to choose anyone. On this article, I would help you to choose the best one by describing “OpenVPN TCP vs. UDP”. You can read also this information.

Many VPN providers allow users to choose one of them while some of them keep it hidden from users. Anyhow, OpenVPN allows users to choose the desired one according to their needs. Before talking about OpenVPN TCP vs. UDP difference, it is better to tell you a bit about data packets and the working of both protocols.

What is a Data Packet?

While browsing, your device sends and receives data to specific servers/networks. After this process, finally, you see a webpage. This data transfers in the form of packets. Data packets are the pieces of information in the small and managed parts.

Size of data does not matter. It always breaks into parts and packet size remains between 1,000 bytes to 1,500 bytes and it contains IP address source, destination, flag, type of data and payload.

OpenVPN TCP vs. UDP – What is the Difference?

If you want to choose the better protocol for OpenVPN then firstly you have to understand these both. Let’s take a look at the working process of both protocols.

What is the TCP?

TCP or Transmission Control Protocol is the most used protocol on the internet. The reason for its popularity is its reliability. It has a built-in error-correcting mechanism.

The one-line difference between TCP vs. UDP is error correction. While using TCP, every sending packet has a unique identifier. The receiver receives data is the correct order. In case of any error, it sends a message to the sender to acknowledge him with the fact.

As the data in TCP core moves in sequences so it is well protected from data duplication (does not process data if it is already processed) and data lose. It also automatically resends data once again if it found any data corrupted error.

What is UDP?

UDP, or User Datagram Protocol is another widely used internet protocol but this one is used under special circumstances.

The working process of UDP and TCP is the same except for one major difference, which is error correction. UDP does not correct the errors. It does not send packets in sequences neither it has corrupted error correction built-in mechanism.

Although UDP lacks error correction mechanism from another point of view, it is faster than TCP. The error correction mechanism slows down the connection while in case of UDP you get maximum speed as it does not follow sequences either error correction process.

OpenVPN TCP vs. UDP – Which one is Better?

Hopefully, after reading the above details, now you understand the working method of both. But you may be still confused and think that which one is better?

Let me simplify it for you. I can mention the pros and cons of TCP and UDP then you can choose the right one.

TCP Pros for OpenVPN

Highly Reliable – Due to an error correction mechanism, TCP is highly reliable and does not slow down on encrypted connection.

High Compatible – Most networks and firewalls play nicely with it, ensuring broad compatibility.

TCP Cons for OpenVPN

On the other hand, there are also disadvantages of TCP while using OpenVPN or other virtual private networks (VPNs).

Slow Down – The error correction mechanism cause to slow down the connection. Additionally, as the packets move on particular sequences so, it is also a valid reason for a slower connection.

Not Good for Slower Connections – If your connection slower or drops eventually then TCP protocol will disappoint you. No doubt it is good for static sites (webpages, file download site) but it will not work well for video streaming, gaming, and relevant sites.

Now, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of UDP.

UDP Pros for OpenVPN

Configure OpenVPN to use UDP protocol when:

The connection is Slow – As I told above UDP packets do not move in sequences and also no error correction mechanism is the reason it is faster than TCP. UDP OpenVPN configuration is recommended if your internet speed is slow.

Move Time-Sensitive Data – UDP is very good when you are streaming audio, video or broadcasting live over VPN.

UDP Cons for OpenVPN

Not Much Reliable – Due to lack of error correction mechanism UDP is not enough reliable.

Compatibility Issues – Under some network circumstances, inbound and outbound traffic is limited. UDP is typically more restricted than TCP. Using it under such environment may cause OpenVPN connections to fail.

Bottom Line – OpenVPN TCP vs. UDP

I tried my best to explain both from each point of view. Anyhow, being a VPN specialist, I would like to give a final suggestion. The suggestion is to use both depending on the situation. If your concern is speed than go for UDP connection.

In other words, if you are going to playing games, stream videos and audios than choose UDP. And, if reliability is your major concern then use TCP.