What is a dual VPN and how does it work?

An interesting feature that appears more and more in VPN advertisements is the dual VPN or multi-hop VPN. Once powered by a handful of VPN services, it seems other VPNs are now catching up to the potential of these super secure connections. However, does it actually live up to expectations?

What is a dual VPN and how does it work?

What is dual VPN?

A dual VPN connection aka Double VPN is an internet connection that runs through two VPN servers operated by the same VPN service. It’s a feature offered by some VPNs like NordVPN and ProtonVPN — and promises extra security for those who use it.

A dual VPN is not the same as running two VPNs at the same time: in that case, you have to configure two different VPN services to work well together. Double or multi-step VPN connections have less configuration issues as they are a pre-packaged feature provided by the VPN service.

To explain how dual VPN works, you need to understand the basics: typically, when you connect to the Internet, you connect from your home to your internet service provider’s server and then to your site. website you want to visit. The VPN changes this and reroutes your connection, so after the connection goes to your ISP, it goes to a server operated by the VPN before reaching the website.

Your IP address is changed to that of the VPN, which is convenient for bypassing censored geographies, and the connection between your ISP and the VPN server is encrypted in a tunnel, meaning no one know what you are doing.

Dual VPN adds a second VPN server to this process, so you go from the ISP server to the VPN server, then to another VPN server operated by the same company, and then to the website of your choice. This is called a cascade configuration, where one connection accesses another. Basically, for each new VPN connection, you add a new encrypted tunnel.

However, there is one big downside to using a dual VPN: your speed will suffer heavily. A single VPN connection has severely impacted your connection speed, and adding a second VPN will slow it down even further. I tried using a dual VPN and it only reached 10% of the speed of the original connection.

Which VPNs offer dual VPN?

As of 2022, dual VPN connections were relatively rare until recently, when suddenly more and more VPN services started offering them. The following are VPNs that offer dual VPN as of the time of this writing:

I have arranged these VPNs alphabetically to avoid misleading you that this is a list of the best dual VPNs.

Why should you use a dual VPN?

The benefits of using a dual VPN depend on your goals. Most VPN providers will tell you that running two tunnels means you’re twice as secure. For example, Surfshark states on its website that “if someone wants to contact you, they have to hack the VPN server you’re connecting to. That’s twice as hard as two VPN servers. ”

ProtonVPN is a little different: in a dual VPN setup, called Secure Core, one server in one country like Switzerland or Sweden has strong data protection laws and another in another. . “If another VPN server is somehow compromised,” ProtonVPN promises, “your online traffic and IP address are still safe.”

eloquent statements

According to these claims, a dual VPN is like a big upgrade in terms of security. Of course, this begs the question as to why not all VPN services offer this feature.

This is because these claims are often exaggerated. For example, Surfshark’s claim that it’s harder to hack two servers is true — although I’m not sure if it’s twice as difficult. Even if true, to crack the encryption on a single server or connection can take a billion years using a brute-force attack, so turning that number into two billion seems a bit of an exaggeration. .

ProtonVPN’s claim seems more reasonable at first. If a server is compromised, your data is available for all to see. This means that going through a second server in a country with stricter privacy laws should work. However, with the right order, authorities can still ask for your data and the company will cooperate.

While ProtonVPN can’t hand over all of your information — its own encryption protocols prevent that — some information will still leak out, but at least it might not be worth it. greatly affect your internet connection performance when going through two VPN tunnels.

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The two VPNs above aren’t even the most serious claims: Hide.me goes even a step further: it can even improve your connection speed in certain situations. I wonder what scenarios these are as I have never seen a VPN improve network speed.

Likewise, NordVPN also affirms “complete privacy” when using a dual VPN with the following statement: “no one, not even your ISP, can see your final destination on the web. They can only know that you are using a VPN service”. As I explain in this article, that’s what a VPN does, regardless of whether you use 2, 4, or 8 VPNs.

Most of the claims that you will see on VPN service websites are to extort money from you. However, as the battle for VPN market share heats up, we can expect more soulful claims like the ones we talked about above.

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