Which one of Wireguard and OpenVPN is superior?

November 22, 2022
Wireguard vs OpenVPN

Any regular VPN user is familiar with the names WireGuard and OpenVPN. It’s likely that when you get up each day, you decide which VPN protocol to use to secure your internet data.

But how do OpenVPN and WireGuard vary from one another? Which one is more secure and which one is faster? Is there any benefit to choose just one, or should you apply them both equally?

This WireGuard vs. OpenVPN comparison study provides answers to these and much other questions. Their performance in terms of speed, encryption, security and privacy, auditability, and interoperability will be examined. Simply keep reading!

OpenVPN vs. Wireguard

Here is how WireGuard and OpenVPN compare in terms of compatibility, auditability, security, and speed:

peed: High Moderate
Encryption: High Low to high (configurable)
Security: Relatively high High
Auditability: High Low
Compatibility: Low High


Describe Wireguard.

UDP (User Datagram Technology) is a cutting-edge VPN tunneling (communication) protocol that is used by WireGuard to convey data. Because it typically moves data relatively quickly, it is utilized for Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) for transporting regular data traffic.

The transport layer is where WireGuard and other tunneling protocols belong in the network stack. Additionally, it automatically employs the TUN drivers, which are in charge of split tunneling, encryption, and accurately routing your traffic.

Describe OpenVPN.

OpenVPN is a tunneling protocol that is primarily used for VPNs, and it uses either UDP or TCP to transport data. In comparison to other VPN protocols, it has been around for a very long time and is the “tried and tested” protocol, which some people may view as a benefit. It can be used with many different operating systems.

In spite of its widespread use and popularity, OpenVPN is comparatively slow by contemporary standards. This is primarily because it wasn’t created with current CPUs in mind.

However, many people still find it to be very secure and enjoy it. For instance, OpenVPN is supported by more routers and is the principal protocol used by the majority of disguised VPN servers. As was already noted, OpenVPN also supports TCP data transfers, which is critical if you want extremely reliable connections.

The majority of VPNs available today include OpenVPN as a tunneling protocol option.

A thorough comparison of Wireguard and OpenVPN

After examining the actual protocols of WireGuard and OpenVPN, it is time to compare them and evaluate how they compare in terms of things like speed, encryption, and other factors.

Speed evaluation

speed of vpn

Using Surfshark VPN, we tested the speeds of the WireGuard and OpenVPN protocols. Here is how OpenVPN and WireGuard compare in terms of performance:

Location/protocol WireGuard download speed WireGuard upload speed OpenVPN UDP download speed OpenVPN UDP upload speed OpenVPN TCP download speed OpenVPN TCP upload speed
UK 280 209 137 143 30 35
US (NY) 257 158 125 144 11 14
Japan 251 164 109 148 6 4
Australia 247 191 113 140 5 7
India 261 115 145 119 8 11

The table clearly shows that WireGuard typically outperforms OpenVPN in terms of download and upload speeds by about 52% and 17%, respectively.

WireGuard maintains about half (45.2%) of the initial 300 Mbps upload speed and about 86% of the baseline download speed when we examine the performance of each individual protocol and how far they deviate from it.

On the other hand, the initial upload speed of OpenVPN UDP speeds is reduced by 54%. Even more, download speeds decrease by about 59%.

It is evident that the OpenVPN TCP protocol is extremely slow when it comes to download and upload speeds, but this is not surprising given that stability, not speed, is its main goal. Therefore, comparing it to the WireGuard and OpenVPN UDP protocols is really pointless.

Overall, the WireGuard protocol outperforms the OpenVPN protocol in terms of speed, and the good news is that it does so without sacrificing security.

WireGuard won.



What qualifies a VPN protocol for, well, VPNs is encryption. Let’s compare the encryption used by OpenVPN and WireGuard.

Encryption: ChaCha20 AES, Blowfish, Camellia, also supports ChaCha20
Authentication: Poly1305 Supports Poly1305

One can determine whether the encryption of transmitted data is stronger or weaker with OpenVPN’s customizable encryption parameters. Such programmable encryption also enables slower or faster rates on servers or devices, which are often slower.

From weakest to strongest, there are currently six supported encryption ciphers available to users: AES-128-CBC, AES-192-CBC, AES256-CBC, AES-128-GCM, and AES-256-GCM. Other ciphers were also available in the past but are not now supported. Additionally, OpenVPN processes authentication using a range of hashing techniques, from very strong to very weak.

The strongest level of encryption at the moment is the WireGuard protocol’s usage of ChaCha20 encryption, which is somewhat comparable to AES-256-GCM in terms of security strength. The most widely used and secure hashing function, Poly1305, is used by WireGuard for authentication processing.

In conclusion, both OpenVPN and WireGuard use the most recent encryption technology to encrypt the sent data, with OpenVPN allowing for a variety of encryption settings and WireGuard not.

Result: a draw



Specific VPN protocols are only parts of the services that make up Virtual Private Networks, thus there isn’t much to say about them in terms of privacy. This primarily depends on certain providers and how they feel about user data, anonymity, and privacy.

Having said that, there was a time when IP addresses were kept on the server in the early days of WireGuard. But this problem has since been resolved. Furthermore, there is no use in contrasting the protocols in this aspect because OpenVPN, if configured wrong, may experience the same issue.

Result: a draw


Auditability vpn

To ensure that VPN tunneling protocols are trustworthy and free of malicious code or vulnerabilities that could be used against them, they should periodically be audited. The code is examined to accomplish this.

Higher or lower auditability depends on how much data needs to be reviewed; the lower the auditability, the more lines of code there are.

Open-source: Yes Yes
Code length: ~4,000 lines ~70,000 lines

It’s good to know that both protocols—WireGuard and OpenVPN—are open-source. But that does not imply that auditing them is as simple.

Compared to OpenVPN, WireGuard is more auditable. It has about 4000 lines of code in its current form, which is five times fewer than the OpenVPN files and codelines. As a result, OpenVPN has limited auditability because it would take a large amount of time and a team of specialists to thoroughly examine the code.

Despite this, both protocols have undergone audits and had their faults and vulnerabilities corrected, thus as of right now, there is no need for concern.

WireGuard won.


For a VPN protocol to be generally accepted and used, it must work with a variety of operating systems and be simple to implement.

Since OpenVPN has been around for a lot longer than WireGuard, many experts and VPN creators are already well aware with it. This is one benefit OpenVPN has over WireGuard. They are familiar with its workings, the implementation procedure, and other quirks.

In addition, OpenVPN is incredibly adaptable and works with virtually every operating system. Additionally, OpenVPN is the ideal option if you want to configure a VPN on your router.

On the other hand, WireGuard was primarily created for Linux with the goal of embedding it into the kernel. Only a short while after the initial release did versions for additional operating systems appear. Additionally, only a tiny fraction of routers enable WireGuard.

Additionally, it is less popular than OpenVPN because it is still a young protocol, and not every “IT professional” on the planet is familiar with how it functions. However, because of its quickness and simple auditability, it is growing in popularity with VPN providers.

Result: OpenVPN


If used properly, both OpenVPN and WireGuard are extremely secure open-source VPN protocols. But because WireGuard was created with modern hardware and processors in mind, it is more recent and faster than OpenVPN. Additionally, maintenance is simpler.

OpenVPN has been around for a very long time, thus it is generally quite adaptable and compatible with a wide range of operating systems. Since many people truly understand how it operates, it is more widely used and, in certain situations, more beneficial than WireGuard.

Can OpenVPN be replaced by WireGuard?

The likelihood that WireGuard will totally replace OpenVPN is unlikely. More routers support OpenVPN than WireGuard, and it also supports TCP, which generally provides more reliable connections than UDP and is preferable for remote connections. Consequently, there are instances where WireGuard cannot take the position of OpenVPN.

In 2022, is WireGuard secure?

In 2022, WireGuard is still secure to use. Because of a weakness found in Q1 of 2022, there were concerns about WireGuard’s security, but this is not unusual. Comparatively, OpenVPN has had 83 vulnerabilities discovered during the course of its existence, whereas WireGuard has had just two.

Is WireGuard less secure than OpenVPN?

No. AES-256-GCM and ChaCha20 encryption are used by OpenVPN and WireGuard, respectively, and both provide comparable levels of security. The only major distinction is that OpenVPN’s encryption may be altered and set to a lower level. Hash functions are also used for message authentication by WireGuard and OpenVPN.

Is the VPN protocol WireGuard the fastest?

No, faster VPN protocols exist than WireGuard, but they frequently lack encryption or employ little TLS encryption. Having said that, WireGuard is currently the fastest secure VPN protocol available.