A virtual private network (VPN) is a popular tool for hiding your digital footprint. It allows you to surf the web in incognito mode through data traffic encryption and Internet Protocol (IP) masking. You can find out more here .
For some users, the encryption layer and single instance of IP masquerading provided by a normal VPN is not enough. This is why double VPN is gaining traction.
So what is double VPN good for, and is it worth it?
We will answer all your questions.
What is Double VPN ?
Double VPN is a way of encrypting your online communications twice with the use of VPN Servers in different locations. It is also known as Multi-Hop VPN , Double-Hop VPN , Chaining VPN , Cascading VPN, and Nesting VPN.
Additionally, your virtual location also changes in two ways, hiding your true IP address.
This way, curious third parties have to work very hard to observe and trace your browsing activity.
How does double VPN work?
This is what the outbound traffic data flow would look like :
- The VPN client encrypts data on the device twice.
- Double-encrypted data goes to the first VPN Server .
- The first server removes the first layer of encryption and replaces your IP address.
- Data once encrypted bounces back to the second server .
- The second server decrypts the remaining scrambled data and changes the IP address again.
- The decrypted data is routed to the destination site, application or online service.
Incoming data takes the same path. Each server creates an encryption layer , and the full decryption happens locally on the device. However, some VPN providers may use a different approach.
The easiest way to enjoy the benefits a VPN to VPN connection brings is to use a provider that offers it. However, not all VPNs have this feature built-in.
Luckily, you can replicate the level of privacy on the internet , and Double Security VPN offers (at least to some extent) other ways.
Ongoing Multiple VPNs Simultaneously
If the provider you like doesn’t have a VPN double hop feature, just pair it with another one.
Launch two VPN apps from different providers at the same time before connecting any other programs to the Internet.
To make sure your IP address actually changes twice, perform a leak test after turning on the first and before turning on the second.
This strategy may not always work, however. Unless the configuration is perfect, the installation will probably fail, if not initially.
Combine VPN and Proxy
Routing your VPN connection to a browser-based proxy server can do the trick.
Similarly, you can hide your IP twice with a free VPN browser extension . Although called as such, it usually does not encrypt online communications on its own. That’s why security experts consider it more like a proxy than a VPN.
Using two VPNs with one VM involved
Running a VPN on a virtual machine created on a platform protected by another VPN is a clever way to anonymize your online activity.
Configure Onion over VPN
Accessing the Internet through the Onion Network while running a VPN is one of the safest ways to hide your identity while surfing the web.
Tor Browser (The Onion Router) emphasizes anonymity, while VPNs advocate internet privacy . Using both at the same time allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds. If you know what you’re doing, Onion on VPN can be a more powerful version of double VPN.
Benefits of Double VPN
What is Double VPN celebrated for?
The main arguments for using multiple VPN connections at the same time are:
Double VPN won’t make the scrambled version of your web traffic harder to decode. But double encryption acts as a safety net . The second layer can prevent your traffic data from leaking in its readable form if the first layer breaks.
Masquage IP double
Since there are two geographically separate VPN servers in the mix, your VPN provider may hide the first IP address intended to veil your physical location.
The OpenVPN tunneling protocol gives you the option to switch between User Datagram Protocol or Transmission Control Protocol modes. If you know them, playing with both can help you improve your security.
Disadvantages of Double VPN
Despite the useful benefits of double VPN, most providers have yet to embrace it. So what is double VPN bad at?
Limited server options
More often than not, you cannot mix and match servers for double hop VPN . Those that are optimized for it can come in tandem by design.
Some VPN providers offer this feature to help mitigate the dangers of high-risk jurisdictions. These vendors carefully select strategic locations for their specialized dual VPN servers .
Enabling double VPN is a bad idea if you want maximum connection speed . Having your traffic data travel through two- point encryption and using multiple VPN connections simultaneously can negatively impact your experience.
Increased energy consumption
Double VPN is resource intensive. This is less of an issue for plugged-in devices, but it can drain the battery of tablets and phones.
What is the difference between Double VPN and Onion Over VPN?
As mentioned, you can think of Onion over VPN as a form of double VPN.
To illustrate the difference between Double VPN and Onion over VPN , we’ll walk you through what your outbound online communications journey would look like with the latter:
- The VPN client encrypts data.
- the Tor browser encrypts it a second time.
- Double-encrypted data is sent to the VPN Server .
- The server decrypts the first layer of encryption .
- Tor encrypted data enters the Tor entry node.
- The Tor exit node decrypts the data on arrival.
- The site host receives the readable data and responds to it.
Incoming traffic goes through the same path in the opposite direction. encryption begins in the Onion network and decryption ends in the VPN client .
You can also do the reverse and do a VPN on Onion. This is where Tor outbound internet traffic passes first before the VPN. A few VPN providers (which don’t even offer multi-hop VPN ) support it.
However, the onion over VPN is more popular. You can set it up easier, do more, and get stronger internet privacy and security.
With Onion over VPN, your ISP will not be able to know that you are using Tor . If you use a trusted VPN provider, you can rest assured that they won’t store any records of your online activity.
Double VPN Services You Can Trust
Out of the dozens of VPNs we’ve reviewed , the services that come with one or more forms of VPN chaining are:
NordVPN is perhaps the most popular service on our shortlist of the best VPN on the market .
Double VPN is available in Windows, macOS ( OpenVPN version) and Android apps. You can activate it with one click or by manually selecting your pre-configured server pair.
NordVPN also has native support for Onion over VPN . This eliminates the need for a special browser. It’s great if you want to connect to the Onion network but aren’t tech savvy.
Windscribe offers the so-called Double Hop , which is actually a double VPN.
It is available only for desktop application users and does not offer any specialized servers. The provider recommends establishing two VPN connections at the same time to mask your physical location twice by combining its client software with its browser extension .
In this arrangement, you can only benefit from the second Windscribe IP address while browsing the web, but not while using another application.
ProtonVPN can establish multiple VPN connections through its Secure Core feature.
When activated, it connects you to a server hosted in a privacy-friendly location. It then sends your traffic data to a jurisdiction with overly restrictive internet regulations or notorious reputation for online surveillance.
The company deliberately developed Secure Core to strengthen your defense against network attacks and reduce the risk of connecting to a compromised server.
Secure Core is built into ProtonVPN’s Windows and Android apps. You can configure it manually on devices running macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android.
Trust.Zone has a selection consisting of seven interesting multi VPN server pairings :
- United States-Slovakia
- United States-Russia
- United States-Italy
- France-United States
- Canada-United States
This provider makes it easy to choose a pair of servers for a double VPN in its Windows, Android, and iOS apps, Firefox add-on, and Chrome extension.
Moreover, power users can also tinker with this VPN to VPN functionality. They can use OpenVPN , L2TP/IPSec , and IKEv2 tunneling protocols as well as a dedicated IP address.
Perfect Privacy not only supports double VPN; it’s actually quad- VPN capable.
Multi-hop lets you encrypt your online communications up to four times, effectively blinding your ISP.
Multi-Hop is just one of the many advanced privacy and security features you can get from Perfect Privacy.
Doublehop VPN is fascinating, but it can be a pain to use, especially when using a service that doesn’t support it natively.
Unless you’re extremely paranoid about having your digital footprint leaked and your identity exposed online, you probably won’t need it.
However, double VPN is nice to have in your back pocket . Consider using a service that can chain multiple servers as desired. After all, you can never be too safe, can you?