SSTP, or Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol, is a VPN protocol that was developed by Microsoft and is an upgrade from PPTP. It is considered one of the most secure protocols used in VPN tunneling, and because it is fully integrated into Windows, it is known to be both reliable and stable. Despite the fact that SSTP can help you bypass most firewalls, keep your data secure, and provide you with a reliable connection, there is some debate over whether it is better than other protocols or not. For example, many consider Windows-only protocol due to the complexity of setting it up on other devices.
With the right VPN, however, setting up and using SSTP as your VPN protocol becomes a breeze on any device compatible with your provider’s software. In this article, we’ll discuss how to choose a great VPN, give you our top provider recommendations, and explain more about what SSTP is and whether it is a better choice over other protocols.
How to choose a great VPN
With a myriad of VPN services available on the market, it’s important to narrow down your search by identifying key features crucial for your online needs. If you are looking to set up your VPN with the SSTP protocol, for example, you will need to ensure that the protocol is available with the provider. Below, you will find the most important criteria for picking a VPN for this specific case.
- Encryption – Opt for a VPN that uses strong encryption, such as AES 256, to ensure that your data will be protected at all times, whether it’s from the government, ISPs, or hackers. You’ll get the most utility out of VPNs which offer a variety of protocols like UDP and TCP via OpenVPN, PPTP, and for purposes of this article, SSTP.
- Unlimited bandwidth – VPNs are a useful tool for bypassing regional blocks and providing you with the ultimate security, but in order to use these features regularly, you will need a service with no limitations on bandwidth, server switching, or speed.
- Customer support – Choosing the right VPN protocol requires some research and, in turn, knowledge. In order to make sure that your connection is always secure and you are using the best protocol for your use-case, make sure the VPN provider has live support that can help you out with the setup.
- Server network – In short, the more countries covered by a VPN provider, the more options you have in terms of getting an IP address. Furthermore, a large server network is typically associated with faster connection speeds, therefore choosing a provider with a large network will ensure that there is no lagging in your connection.
- Device availability – In order to be able to use the VPN on any one of your devices, you will need a service with wide software availability. This will ensure that you are not tied down to one operating system alone and can protect your data no matter where you browse from.
Top SSTP-equipped VPNs
Looking for VPN providers packing the SSTP protocol? Check out our three best recommendations below:
ExpressVPN strikes the perfect balance of performance, privacy, and ease of use. Sporting over 2,000 servers in 94 countries worldwide, you’ll be spoiled for choice when tailoring your VPN connection. Not happy with the performance of your present server? Run the built-in speed test to find a better option on the fly. In our testing, performance was solid across ExpressVPN’s network–this is in no small part due to their sophisticated encryption methods, which employ near-unbreakable 256-bit AES encryption without excessive compromise to your natural Internet speed. Couple this with unlimited bandwidth and server switching, plus guaranteed zero speed caps or throttling, and you’ve got the makings for an incredibly efficient VPN solution.
ExpressVPN is just as rich in security features. The provider uses 256-bit AES encryption, which protects your data at all times. More importantly, ExpressVPN has a wide range of protocols available to users depending on the case. These include UDP and TCP via OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, and SSTP. Regardless of the one you choose, all are equally easy to set up and the entire switching process takes just a few moments. Whether you would like to use a VPN on a smartphone, computer, or even router or smart TV, ExpressVPN has dedicated apps for a wide range of devices and operating systems.
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- Super fast servers
- Torrenting allowed
- No personal information logs kept
- Live Chat Support.
- Expensive month-to-month plan.
Read more about the benefits of using this service in our full ExpressVPN review.
NordVPN is a service that stands out for having the biggest server network in the industry. With 5,230+ nodes in 62+ countries, you will have the widest range of connection options, both in terms of speed and location, out of all other VPN providers. What’s more, there is an impressive array of specialty servers tuned for specific functionalities like onion over VPN, anti-DDoS, P2P, grabbing a dedicated IP address, and even obfuscated connections. Rounding it all out is military-grade 256-bit AES encryption, which guards each packet leaving your device while veiling your identity. Protocols include UDP and TCP via OpenVPN, plus PPTP, L2TP, and SSTP for blasting through censorship methods.
ordVPN’s no-logging policy is one of the best industry and covers everything from traffic to IP addresses and browsing history. Furthermore, an in-built automatic kill switch and the DNS leak protection will ensure that you know when the connection is interrupted. NordVPN is available on Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, and many other devices and operating systems. The service allows up to 6 simultaneous connections, so you can browse, stream, and shop securely on all your devices.
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- Extensive server park of over 5,100 different servers
- Allows up to 6 devices to be connected at once
- Based in Panama
- Money back guarantee policy.
- They can take 30 days to process refunds.
For more information, check out our full review of NordVPN.
PureVPN stands out for many reasons. Their server network isn’t the single largest in the industry by sheer numbers, but it just may be the most expansive: over 2,000 servers exist in 140 countries. You can find some real rarities to connect to, such as Kuwait, Mauritania, and Turkmenistan. No matter where you are, you can rely on PureVPN’s powerful 256-AES encryption to protect your privacy. What’s more, you’ll have your pick of protocols tailored to the task at hand, including UDP and TCP via OpenVPN, L2TP, IKEv2, PPTP, and of course, SSTP. Should you ever run into issues with setting up the VPN or connecting to a server, there is 24-hour live chat support with representatives that will walk you through the issue.
Not enough? PureVPN also packs an entire cybersecurity suite in its slick software, including app filtering, DDoS protection, dedicated IP addresses, a NAT firewall, anti-spam filtering, and antivirus software. A solid no-logging policy allows you to rest easier knowing no records are kept to be hacked or subpoenaed down the line. As an all-in-one security app, you’d be hard pressed to find more value than PureVPN.
What is SSTP and how does it work?
SSTP is the update of the PPTP protocol, which was developed by Microsoft in the 80s. The idea behind SSTP was quite simple: it was meant to allow users to connect to servers worldwide without compromising on security. Increasingly, businesses and employees are geographically dispersed, and SSTP was designed with this use-case in mind. Every version of Windows since Vista has come with SSTP built into the operating system, making it quite accessible for even the average PC user to set up and use.
So, how does it work? In a nutshell, SSTP is a protocol technology through which PPP or L2TP traffic is sent over an SSL channel. When using SSTP, users must connect to the TCP (Transmission Control Port), which kickstarts the main server’s authentication procedures. Encryption keys are then sent to the user’s system, and this forms the foundation for the SSTP tunnel. Once this basis is formed, data can be securely sent directly to the server.
What are the benefits of using SSTP over other protocols?
The way SSTP works is ideal for pairing with a VPN provider. A VPN service has the capabilities to provide a vast proxy server network and the client itself, while SSTP takes charge on the level of security, using encryption strong enough to send and receive data securely. Below, we have listed some of the main benefits of using SSTP over other VPN protocols, which will help you decide whether it’s worth selecting it or not.
Bypassing most firewalls
SSTP has the power to break through the most intense firewalls and censorship methods. It works by piping PPP traffic through SSL or TSL via port 443, a method with proven results bypassing a vast majority of Internet restrictions. Being proprietary, SSTP is usually limited to Windows devices. However, with a VPN provider, you can bring this functionality to any device you own, making it especially useful for frequent travelers, journalists, and other users traveling or living in places with low Internet freedom.
High level of security
SSTP is considered to be one of the most secure VPN protocols in the industry. It offers a reliable way of unblocking streaming sites and bypassing firewall restrictions with SSL-based encryption, which is considered to be the industry’s gold standard. Furthermore, like all of our recommended VPN providers, SSTP supports AES-256, which is a military-grade encryption protocol with no known vulnerabilities to date. Specifically, even the world’s strongest supercomputer couldn’t crack it in a million years.
Integrated into Windows
As mentioned earlier, SSTP was fully developed and is owned by Microsoft. This also means that it is integrated into every Windows device since Vista and is ideal for those using a Windows PC. While many believe the protocol to be best for Windows users only, any one of our recommended VPN providers that have the option to use the SSTP protocol will allow you to set it up with minimal effort on your end. This will allow you to avoid the complex manual set up with external services and still use the reliability and speed of the protocol to your advantage.
Is SSTP suitable for me?
For those looking for a quick answer to the question concerning the use of SSTP, this is the breakdown. Many claim that even though SSTP offers a similar connection to OpenVPN’s protocols, it is much more oriented towards people using Windows. While it’s true that SSTP is integrated directly into Microsoft’s Windows, which makes it much more reliable and easy to set up for Windows users, a quality VPN will allow you to choose the SSTP protocol without requiring a complicated setup on a different device. OpenVPN’s UDP and TCP tend to be popular (and often default) choices, but switching to SSTP with any one of our recommended VPN providers will only take a few moments.
There is one drawback that has been brought up many times by users in the past. SSTP is owned by Microsoft, and while this can be advantageous, it can also be perceived as a limitation. The code is not available for security researchers, so there is no way to check the potential risk that comes with using SSTP on other devices and operating systems. Many have also been skeptical about using this VPN protocol due to the history of its predecessor. PPTP was weak in terms of security and has been, on several occasions, decrypted by the NSA. However, Microsoft took a massive leap forward with SSTP, making it much more reliable and secure. Furthermore, when SSTP is combined with a VPN’s military-grade encryption and no-logging policy, you can rest assured your privacy is protected as well as possible.
To conclude, SSTP is definitely an impressive and useful protocol. It allows users to bypass firewall restrictions and connect to corporate networks whether you are in or out of the office. While many believe SSTP to be quite limiting in the fact that it is primarily integrated with Windows (all versions after Vista), any one of our recommended VPN providers will allow you to select SSTP as a VPN protocol within moments. No need for any complicated setup – any one of our top providers have you covered with minimum effort and maximum benefits.
What was your experience with using the SSTP protocol? Leave us your comments and suggestions down below!