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ProtonVPN iOS app now supports the OpenVPN protocol

Posted on May 7th, 2020 by in Service Updates.

Illustration of OpenVPN on the ProtonVPN iOS app.

 

Your ProtonVPN iOS app is now better equipped to fight censorship and offers more flexible connection options with the launch of OpenVPN for iOS.

The OpenVPN protocol is one of the best VPN protocols because of its flexibility, security, and because it is more resistant to blocks. You now have the option to switch between the faster IKEv2 protocol and the more stable and censorship-resistant OpenVPN protocol.

The rollout of OpenVPN for iOS is part of a larger push at Proton to provide more tools to bypass censorship. As more people turn to online tools that keep their personal information safe, some governments and companies have taken more steps to undermine that privacy, including censorship. That’s why we have invested in features like alternative routing and OpenVPN for Android to help you stay securely connected to our servers no matter where you are.

OpenVPN has many benefits over other protocols

There are multiple VPN protocols, and each has benefits and drawbacks. We have previously compared the different VPN protocols in depth on our blog. 

Aside from having no known vulnerabilities, the OpenVPN protocol is great for two main reasons: It’s flexible, and it’s more difficult to block.

Flexibility

OpenVPN’s most useful feature is that it allows you to choose between two transport protocols: Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP). We explain the difference between TCP and UDP in more detail elsewhere, but basically UDP is faster and TCP is more stable. 

OpenVPN connects via UDP by default, but if you have a weak Internet connection you might have better luck switching to TCP.

Bypass censorship

That flexibility also serves to mitigate censorship and local network blocks. The IKEv2 protocol, the other option on our app, uses UDP on a well-defined port, which is easier to block and is not necessary for web browsing without a VPN. Your employer or school may also choose to block certain ports to restrict VPN usage on their network, and governments can exploit this limitation for censorship.

TCP, on the other hand, can use numerous ports. We configured our TCP connection to use several ports, including the port that handles HTTPS-encrypted Internet traffic. This makes it more difficult to block without cutting off access to the Internet.

With OpenVPN, you can toggle between UDP and TCP, giving you more freedom to access the Internet unrestricted.

Next steps

Eventually, we want to make it easier for you to connect to the best protocol. Our Smart Protocol feature will help with this by automatically switching to the best protocol for your situation. This feature is already implemented in the Windows and Android apps, and soon it will also be available on our iOS and macOS apps.

We look forward to increasing ProtonVPN’s resilience and accessibility as part of our mission to create a safer Internet. This work would not be possible without your support. Thank you.

Follow us on social media to stay up to date on the latest ProtonVPN releases:

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To get a free ProtonMail encrypted email account, visit: protonmail.com

Ben Wolford is a writer at Proton. A journalist for many years, Ben joined Proton to help lead the fight for data privacy.

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17 comments

  1. t

    Is there anything like a Proton chat app? If not, how do you suggest one can set up an environment for secure chatting?

  2. François Reboud

    Je vous l’ai déjà écrit, je suis un vieil ignorant… et vous vous adressez à des gens qui ne me ressemble pas. Par exemple : – Vos explications sont en anglais, langue que je ne maîtrise que très imparfaitement !
    – Je ne sais pas ce qu’est VPN et à quoi cela sert… même si je pressens une utilité au delà de ProtonMail. Alors j’aimerais bien en savoir plus, en français, même si je prends le risque de me voir traité d’idiot…
    Mais, tout de même, merci d’exister !

  3. Verda

    Thanks Ben. Your blog info is helpful.

  4. Nikki

    I just wanted to give a shoutout to everyone who has made a huge impact on all your customer’s. No I don’t know anyone who works for your company. But I am a VPN user and a email customer. I truly appreciate everything each and every single one of you are doing to provide a much needed safer internet access world. Let’s face it!! We all benefit from your commitment to doing what it is that you all do. I just learned that my email my ( Gmail ) email was seen on the dark web by my credit reporting agency. Unfortunately I have no idea what to do about it. I am not technologically knowledgeable about this stuff. I happen to be a senior citizen who needs my grandchildren to help me with things, that I am sure most of you take for granted. So here I am trying to learn new things. Your never to old to learn. I pray that everyone who works here and uses your application s. Stay healthy and safe. That includes all your loved ones and all those who are dear to each of you. Regardless of who you pray too or what you believe in. Thank everyone for being so thoughtful to all of us you’ve never met.

  5. Nick

    Thanks for keeping our privacy private.

  6. Philippe

    Tout est en anglais !
    Vous êtes pourtant à Genève…
    Merci de penser aux francophones monolingue

  7. Vadim FEDOROV

    Спасибо за поддержку, но хотелось бы более широкого доступа и более высокой скорости.

  8. Celia

    Thanks for this article very informative. Love ProtonVPN & ProtonMail. Great help.

  9. John

    Thank you for doing what you do to help keep the internet and it’s use private and open.

  10. Björn Sackemark

    Nice! Thank you for making great security apps. Encrypted email and VPN services are not exactly mainstream (and the wow factor might be low for an average user).

    You are making approachable products, though. The complexity of encrypting email communication, for instance, is handled excellent by you, while your app looks and behaves like most other email apps.

    Your services require a solid foundation of trust from your potential users. I think you must communicate clearly with potential customers in order to earn that trust. Like why you, as a service provider, can be trusted. What you’re doing and what you’re not doing. What’s different about you vs. most other companies.

    I think you’ve succeeded in doing that. I like that you’re not only talking about your products and which features are new. You’re also comparing technologies, publish tutorials and provide step-by-step instructions.

    Thank you for that. My thanks was becoming a customer (I will also recommend your VPN to friends and family).

    How you’re comparing OpenVPN with other technologies was the particular thing that made me buy ProtonVPN. This is so important to me, having basic understanding of things I use. (Well, that and having access to Netflix’s U.S. catalogue in Sweden…)

    — celebritarian

  11. Lucie

    Can we use this VPN on an amazon fire stick?

  12. prd

    THANK YOU ALL SOOO MUCH for EVERYTHING you do!!! You ARE SUCH a tremendous help & SO GREATLY appreciated!!! GOD BLESS YOU!!!

  13. Lars

    Waiting patiently for the iOS VPN App. Approximately when? Have used the email for 3 years now and continue to spread the word. Thanks for giving us, what I hope, is a more secure and non-invasive product. Once you have the Calendar, I’m totally gone from Gmail. I will make a donation.

  14. Poyee mok

    Thank you so much helping hk . We will keep fighting .

  15. Jack

    1. Does OpenVPN and IKEv2 run on same server without seperation? Doesn’t it harm overall privacy/security?
    2. Do you self-compile each software so that the vendor gets less chance to repack everything with backdoor then making it downloadable?

  16. Chanson

    Oh yes, OpenVPN on iOS has been outstanding so far, as it works well, and OpenVPN TCP has enabled me to prevent my ISP and certain websites from blocking and slowing my ProtonVPN connection.

  17. Chanson

    Dear Proton: Your news about your technological advances to combat censorship and maintain privacy and security is exciting and laudatory news. However, I am concerned about alternative routing and think it jas merit. But if it could allow the like of Google, Amazon, etcetera, or the Great Firewall of China to see one’s IP address, it has dangers for privacy and security in certain circumstances. While a legitimate user in a democracy using alternative routing to avoid the blocking of a website or his ISP but having his IP adress revealed will, at worse, result in him being commercially exploited, in China, it could result in vicious and brutal repression, once the Chinese government identifies that user by his IP address.

    Therefore, I am glad that you intend to make alternative routing an opt-out feature, because there are definitely situations, where it shouldn’t be used, when the alternative route is a third-party route that might reveal a user’s IP address.

    Sincerely,
    Chanson

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