OpenVPN Review—How You Can Leverage The Most Secure VPN Protocol in 2022
Written byNick Galov
Updated · Jun 24, 2022
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- Perfect for streaming
- Compatible with all devices & OS
- Advanced security features
- 100% free
- Difficult to implement
- Lacks proprietary servers
The majority of VPN services charge you a premium for getting secure internet connections and anonymity. This is not the case with OpenVPN, an entirely free and open-source software.
In this OpenVPN review, we will learn why the service is so popular and successful as of 2022. We’ll discuss its features in detail, its prices (or lack thereof), customer care, and much more.
But first, let’s see what OpenVPN does exactly and why it’s so useful to employ it.
What Is OpenVPN?
OpenVPN is a free, open-source protocol that has the mission of encrypting your traffic data and protecting you from hackers and cybercriminals. It gives you unmatched online privacy and can get through almost any firewall.
As hundreds of other OpenVPN reviews show, The peculiar thing about this VPN is that it doesn’t own server infrastructure.
Instead, it gives you its highly secure tunneling protocol for free. You can either use it with your own server or choose between hundreds of other free servers provided by OpenVPN’s community.
But more on that later. For now, we will focus on OpenVPN’s main features and how they can benefit you.
OpenVPN Best Features
Because we want you to make the best out of the OpenVPN protocol, we analyzed its features in detail and laid out the main takeaways below:
OpenVPN is renowned for its unparalleled level of security and its capacity to yield stable and leak-free connections. It achieves that using high-end ciphers and 256-bit encryption—top-of-the-line security protocols for protecting your data against prying eyes.
It also employs SSL (secure sockets layer) and TLS (transport layer security) for data transfers between two devices.
In short, OpenVPN encryption methods are bullet-proof.
Storing personal information is, fortunately, a foreign concept for OpenVPN. In fact, you can get access to the Open VPN app just by providing an email address and nothing more.
However, as the software doesn't have its own servers, it can’t guarantee 100% privacy of your data.
This only depends on the policy of the specific server you choose. Usually, every single one has a slightly different approach to data logging unless they are all owned by a fully-fledged VPN service with a clearly defined policy.
Then again, the actual data you use will be encrypted by the OpenVPN protocols, making only peripheral, meta-information about your internet activity might be recorded.
As we mentioned earlier, there are many ways to link the software to a server.
Apart from taking the DIY route, you can choose a free server provided by OpenVPN’s community of volunteering developers. This can be considered either optimal (as you won’t have to pay a dime) or sometimes too risky (as you can’t always know what you’ll get).
Hence, we recommend two other alternatives: you can either buy one of its own proprietary solutions for businesses and institutions—OpenVPN Cloud and Access Server—or employ a premium VPN service with OpenVPN among its protocols.
Devices, Platforms, & OS Compatibility
Being just a VPN protocol, OpenVPN is not tied to any specific operating system or device. It can be used on virtually any platform, from Windows to Linux and from smartphones to routers.
The trick is to manually configure and optimize it for your particular device, which can be challenging even for advanced users.
The fact that OpenVPN requires manual setup allows you to have an unlimited number of simultaneous connections (if you want to).
You just need the technical expertise for it in case you install the OpenVPN freeware without a VPN service that incorporates the protocol.
Similarly, you can design your split tunneling function and tweak the VPN within certain limits if you have the required know-how.
To engage in file torrenting, you first need to have available servers for this purpose. This is why OpenVPN doesn’t support P2P connections on its own.
The upside is that you can turn this one into an ideal and free torrenting tool, as it already has high-level encryption features and more-than-decent speeds.
Again, you can enjoy all these as long as you know how to configure the software and choose your servers wisely.
Here’s another gem we found during our research.
The focus of our review also has a built-in auto-start option.
This ensures that your online footprint is automatically concealed every time you turn on your device and connect to the internet.
This part of our OpenVPN review focuses on those features that deal with cybersecurity and advanced encryption.
In case the encrypted connection drops (which is a pretty rare occurrence with this protocol), OpenVPN’s killswitch option comes to the rescue.
Thanks to this function, you can rest assured your traffic data and personal information won’t leak during the lapse.
The killswitch will shut down your connection automatically, preventing your data from getting exposed.
Believe it or not, the security features don’t stop here.
The OpenVPN Cloud service (which is a standalone solution) comes equipped with additional tools such as:
- DNS (Domain Name System) content filtering
- Intrusion Detection and Prevention
- Unique domain routing
- Single Sign-On (SSO)
You can use these features to secure remote access, deploy site-to-site networking, or manage IoT communications if you own a business.
Right off the bat, we can’t expect OpenVPN to be as fast as other speed-optimized protocols such as WireGuard or PPTP.
This is because it prioritizes security over performance. However, the numbers from our speed tests were more than impressive for such a conservative protocol.
As there are no native OpenVPN servers to speak of, we tested a couple of free community servers placed in several locations.
We started with a nearby one from the US (New York City) and obtained a 9 Mbps download speed, which only represents a 10% speed loss from our standard connection. The upload speed and the ping were also decent.
However, our speed dropped significantly when we switched to a distant one from Australia. We experienced a speed loss of around 40% for the upload connection (6 Mbps for the Sydney server) and a ping value higher than 200.
These tests rendered the servers from distant OpenVPN locations unusable for online activities other than simple browsing.
But the nearby servers’ speed is good enough for streaming, file sharing, and even gaming.
Let’s see how well the service handles streaming platforms.
Although OpenVPN’s capacity to bypass firewalls and geolocation blockers is very high, loading times and buffering are primarily dependent on which server you are using.
Putting this aside, OpenVPN’s encryption methods are designed to bypass almost any streaming service’s firewalls and censorship blocks.
For example, if certain Netflix content is restricted in your country, you can circumvent those restrictions using OpenVPN and seamlessly watch your favorite shows in HD.
Apart from accessing Netflix, OpenVPN can also unblock HBO Max content and go undetected by Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, or BBC iPlayer.
The key here is to find a good server that provides you with enough bandwidth for a high-quality streaming experience.
Ease of Use
This is where things become a little trickier.
As you could already learn, OpenVPN is not a standalone VPN service in the traditional sense. For all intents and purposes, this is just a top-quality tunneling protocol.
That means you have to install it on your device and manually configure it yourself, which can give you both freedom and headaches.
If you have the required know-how, you end up with a free OpenVPN VPN and its tremendous flexibility.
If you’re not tech-savvy or you don’t want to invest time and resources in manual configuration, you can choose one of its dedicated solutions for individuals and businesses. We will discuss them further down in our article.
The third alternative is a fully-fledged VPN service that includes OpenVPN among its protocols.
This is probably the most straightforward solution in terms of setup, as you only have to install an already configured app for your specific device and switch between protocols from the interface.
It’s time to take a close look at the cost of OpenVPN and its entire offering.
Things are pretty simple when it comes to the open-source version of the service, OpenVPN Connect: the VPN protocol is completely free to install and configure.
However, if we’re talking about OpenVPN’s in-house solutions that provide direct server access, there are two possibilities:
This managed solution enables secured networking between virtual private networks and remote users via the cloud. OpenVPN helps you connect with reliable servers without the need for an actual infrastructure. Obviously, it uses OpenVPN as a protocol, and its price depends on the number of connections you want. It scales down as the number of devices grows, We recommend heading to OpenVPN’s website and using its estimation tool to calculate your specific cost.
While OpenVPN Cloud is a managed solution, Access Server is self-hosted, requiring software installed locally. You can choose software packages for Linux, Virtual Appliances, and Cloud Images, which will get you access to dedicated servers. Unlike OpenVPN Cloud, this solution doesn’t cater so much to individual consumers but more to businesses and other organizations. The prices are structured in the same manner, though.
As an open-source solution, its knowledge base and community forums are at the core of its customer service.
OpenVPN’s Support Center is filled to the brim with helpful information, thorough guides, and FAQs related to the two dedicated solutions.
The service also provides a ticketing system for customer inquiries and a live chat option you can use if you want quick answers.
We at Web Tribunal tested this channel by sending a question about the possibility of using OpenVPN for Android.
We received a thoughtful and friendly answer within two hours, and thus, we gave a relatively high rating to the support team.
If you’re more interested in the open-source version, the OpenVPN community will be your best friend all along the process. There, you can find in-depth documentation, useful articles, FAQs, forums, OpenVPN community downloads, source codes, and other informative content.
OpenVPN User Reviews
OpenVPN has a pretty solid reputation online. This is demonstrated by its rating on G2, where it enjoys an impressive 4.5/5 score from over 140 independent reviews. End-users usually praise its bullet-proof encryption methods, high versatility, excellent compatibility, and advanced security features.
On Trustpilot, on the other hand, OpenVPN receives a lower rating—3.5 out of 5 stars, which is aggregated from far fewer reviews. One unsatisfied user says: ”The Access Server Version of OpenVPN is just extremely overpriced.”
However, the software redeems itself with a solid 4.5 rating on Capterra.
A good reputation is also maintained on Reddit, where users are usually hard to please. For example, we found an OpenVPN VPN Reddit review containing the following statement: ”For now, it's probably the best, most trusted, and tested.”
It seems like OpenVPN enjoys pretty positive customer feedback with a few complaints that actually add to its legitimacy.
Is OpenVPN Worth It?
As we underlined time and again throughout our detailed OpenVPN 2022 review, it is a specialized solution that differs from most VPNs out there.
We saw how it specializes in top-notch encryption protocols, offers flexibility by being open source, can be compatible with almost any device, supports unmetered connections, and it’s also free if you know how to configure it.
On the not-so-bright side, the setup process might be tedious even for experienced users. Furthermore, the OpenVPN logging policy doesn’t guarantee 100% safety of your data.
Considering all these, OpenVPN might be an excellent solution for advanced users who value versatility over ease of use and want tremendous security at little to no expense.
To give you a wider range of options, we compared the focus of our review with some of its most reputable competitors.
Here’s our brief analysis:
OpenVPN vs. IPVanish
In a way, this is like comparing apples and oranges.
While IPVanish is a fully-fledged VPN service that allows you to change IP addresses in addition to data encryption, OpenVPN only provides the latter with its bare-bone version.
However, OpenVPN can be downloaded free of charge, which can’t be said about its counterpart.
OpenVPN vs. Pure VPN
Pure VPN is a reliable service, but it’s not without its flaws.
Unlike OpenVPN, this provider has collaborated with the FBI in the past, so its promises regarding privacy are to be taken with a grain of salt.
On the other hand, there’s no such thing as an OpenVPN browser extension, while Pure VPN offers this feature and better speeds for distant servers.
OpenVPN vs. iTop VPN
When it comes to the level of data security, there’s no competition between these two—OpenVPN clearly prevails.
However, iTop VPN fights back with some unique features such as a Screen Recorder and a Game Booster, and it also owns an actual server infrastructure.
Which is better?
That solely depends on your specific needs and goals.
OpenVPN vs. Unblockr
Unblockr is not precisely the most popular provider in the game. Its logging policy and customer service are of questionable quality, to say the least.
Further, OpenVPN.net is a much better-designed website than its counterpart. However, Unblockr stands out with dedicated IP and white label services.
OpenVPN is a very interesting security solution.
It’s not a VPN service per se, but it does offer secure connections and high-quality security features to anyone that can configure it manually.
If implemented correctly, it’s also compatible with any device and OS and sustains an unlimited number of simultaneous connections, which is highly appreciated in many OpenVPN reviews.
It comes with a killswitch and an autopilot feature, and, best of all, it can be downloaded for free.
All of these should be enough reasons to consider using OpenVPN in 2022.
Absolutely. OpenVPN is known for being one of the safest VPN protocols in the game, providing robust security features and encryption methods.
OpenVPN’s basic version—OpenVPN Connect—is indeed free but requires manual configuration. Alternatively, you can check out its dedicated solutions or employ a VPN service that includes OpenVPN as a protocol.
OpenVPN is essentially a data security protocol designed to hide your data from unwanted third parties or even your ISP (Internet Service Provider). That said, it can’t change your IP address or act as a proxy on its own since it doesn’t own any servers. Read our entire OpenVPN review above to see how to solve this problem.
OpenVPN has many advantages. The most relevant ones seem to be affordability, flexibility, and high levels of data security. All in all, it can be a great choice for advanced users and people who like a more hands-on approach.
Unaware that life beyond the internet exists, Nick is poking servers and control panels, playing with WordPress add-ons, and helping people get the hosting that suits them.