SSTP VPN Protocol: Definition, Operation, Benefits, and Drawbacks
For Windows PCs, the Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP) is a well-liked VPN protocol. Learn to utilize it and to stay away from it.
Nowadays, one can never have too much protection when using the internet. You’ll utilize IP masking with a VPN since you’ll want many levels of security. Tunneling can be useful in this situation. SSTP stands out as one of the most secure options available today for data tunneling across a VPN among the many other protocols.
What is it, though, and how does it operate? For everyday VPN use, do you even need it, or is it a required protocol? Find out by reading on.
Microsoft invented the protocol known as Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol, or SSTP for short. The Redmond-based tech company introduced this protocol in place of the PPTP protocol along with the release of its Windows Vista operating system. Although quite strong, PPTP’s encryption can still be broken and is seen by content providers. For instance, Netflix might easily prevent you from viewing content that is available outside of your area if your VPN provider employs PPTP.
The SSTP VPN protocol has been included in all iterations of the Windows OS, including the newly released Windows 11, since it supplanted PPTP in Microsoft products. It appears as a SstpSvc.dll file in the process manager of your operating system. The technique is based on secure keys, encrypted data, and SSL/TLS certificates. It can overcome typical firewall constraints, such as troublesome port forwarding, and utilizes the same port (port 443) as SSL/TLS.
How Do SSTPs Operate?
To fully encrypt the bandwidth and guarantee your online security, your VPN program has to transmit it via various tunnels. To establish a secure connection between the client app and VPN server, a tunneling protocol is required.
In the case of SSTP, a VPN application will use PPP with an additional SSL/TLS layer of security to transfer communication. As long as the VPN connection is operational, this guarantees data integrity and encryption for all traffic. This protocol further demands server authentication prior to connection establishment and, optionally, the same procedure on the client side.
Security via SSTP
One of the most secure VPN protocols has proven to be this one. Since HTTPS and SSTP both use port 443, as was already explained, they both share the same level of security and encryption. The network will make use of so-called certificates to ensure this: asks for encryption to be sent between two destinations.
The SSL-reliant protocol used by SSTP is what makes it so secure. Particularly, its most recent 3.0 version, which provides the maximum level of security due to 256-bit AES encryption. AES-256 is well regarded by cryptography specialists; despite certain speed concerns, it has little to no impact on the performance of the protocol.
The previously stated port 443, which is an essential component of the puzzle. All incoming traffic will always be identified as HTTPS. Since it is virtually hard to detect, your connection won’t be banned as a result. Perfect for getting over geoblocking and regional restrictions and getting back online.
Last but not least, Microsoft’s ownership of this protocol entails more than just having a major tech corporation support it. This technology is included with every fresh Windows installation, and configuring SSTP ports is simple and quick. Microsoft continuously improves the security of the protocol by providing system upgrades and support. Unfortunately, this means that setting it up on Linux and macOS is rather difficult but not impossible.
Problems with the SSTP VPN Protocol
We’ve covered all the benefits of utilizing this protocol over others up to this point. Although it is a superb piece of technology, every protocol has faults. You should be aware of the following if you want to use SSTP encryption for your internet connection:
Again, this is Microsoft’s exclusive protocol. Despite Microsoft’s efforts to maintain the protocol current and safe, many individuals lack confidence in the company or are leery of its history of working with the NSA. The IT giant is even a participant in the PRISM surveillance operation and was particularly willing to give access to encrypted messages throughout various probes. According to cyber security professionals, you may trust the protocol itself provided you believe Microsoft hasn’t interfered with it.
SSTP VPN Connection Enabling
Even if your VPN service supports it, this protocol isn’t enabled by default. Now, you may have the opportunity to choose between encryption kinds if the VPN software offers more extensive options than merely a place to connect. You only need to choose the protocol from that list and confirm your choice to be ready to proceed.
You’ll need to fiddle a little if there isn’t such a choice or if you want to utilize the SSTP VPN client included into your Windows system. First, access the Windows Settings menu by clicking the Start button or by hitting the “Windows + I” keyboard shortcut.
Select VPN from the sidebar after choosing Network & Internet from the drop-down menu. After that, press the Add VPN connection option.
Here, you may configure everything in accordance with the instructions provided by your SSTP VPN provider. To prevent having to re-configure the connection after a reboot, make sure the “Remember my sign-in info” box is checked. Then press Save for the changes to take effect. When connecting to a public Wi-Fi network while using a laptop, it is strongly advised that you activate these options.
PPTP vs SSTP
Since Microsoft’s new network protocol was expected to replace PPTP, this is arguably the most frequent protocol comparison. Point-to-point tunneling is still necessary, and virtually every VPN ever created includes it. The protocol’s previously sporadic security has seen improvements recently, however it still falls short of the degree of protection offered by SSTP VPN services. However, you may utilize PPTP on both desktop and mobile operating systems because it is much more open and simple to set up.
OpenVPN vs. SSTP
When it comes to choices for data-tunnels, OpenVPN is another well-liked standard. It’s a little bit more recent than other protocols employed by VPN services, but it’s also widely recognized as one of the most secure protocols available. Similar to the secure socket tunneling protocol service, OpenVPN uses SSL 3.0 to encrypt data, disguises traffic to appear as an HTTPS connection, and utilises AES encryption, but with a 128-bit rather than a 256-bit key. The most crucial aspect is that it is entirely open-source, allowing anybody to use it without needing to purchase a license. Additionally, this renders OpenVPN platform-neutral. The only drawback is that it requires more setup time than SSTP and PPTP.
SSTP vs. L2TP/IPSec
L2TP/IPSec, also known as Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol over IPSec, is a type of encryption that combines the strengths of Layer 2 Forwarding and PPTP. This technology, created and released by Cisco in 2000, is based on PPP and is then surrounded by extra layers of data security. It employs the strong AES encryption algorithm, and users may select among blocks of 128 bits, 192 bits, or 256 bits. Then, data is sent across UDP port 500, one of the most popular VPN ports that is blocked by both firewalls and a number of services. When SSTP and IPSec are compared, it is obvious that the former is the best option for privacy while the latter is a solid choice for multi-platform solutions that demand data authentication. However, in terms of security, they are comparable.