A Comprehensive Guide to PPTP, L2TP, and Other VPN Protocols

What is L2TP/IPsec?

L2TP stands for Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol. L2TP was first proposed in 1999 as an upgrade to both L2F (Layer 2 Forwarding Protocol) and PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol). Because L2TP does not provide strong encryption or authentication by itself, another protocol called IPsec is most often used in conjunction with L2TP.

IPsec stands for Internet Protocol security. IPsec is a very flexible protocol for end-to-end security that authenticates and encrypts each individual IP packet in a given communication. IPsec is used in a wide range of applications at the Internet Layer of the Internet protocol suite.

Used together, L2TP and IPsec is much more secure than PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol), but also slightly slower.

L2TP sometimes has problems with firewalls due to its use of UDP port 500 which some firewalls have been known to block.


More secure than PPTP


Slower than OpenVPN
Sometimes blocked by firewalls

How to Configure Your VPN to L2TP/IPsec

Other VPN Protocols

Not sure which VPN protocol is right for you? Let the ExpressVPN app automatically choose the best VPN protocol for your network.