Internet privacy has almost become a trend, and those working in the tech sector live by the security and privacy that is offered by using a VPN. If you’ve ever browsed through different VPN options when selecting one for yourself, you must have come across the term “Double VPN”. Whenever you do find a VPN that offers this feature, you’ll also notice that it’s a point of focus when the provider is discussing the features of the VPN.
The name is the first indication of what a Double VPN is. Basically, your data is routed through two different VPN servers as it flows between your device and the internet. All the information going to and from your device will be encrypted twice at different points in the chain of information flow, and you also change the data source IP address twice along the way. Chances are that both these tasks will happen at different geographical locations, and maybe even in two different countries altogether.
Offering enhanced VPN security, the entire process results in increased security measures and provides a double barrier to any surveillance. For normal VPNs, the process flow starts when your device encrypts your data and transmits it along the chain to the first VPN server where the data is decrypted and your device’s IP address is switched to the IP address of the first VPN server, and the data is encrypted again and transmitted to the intended destination.
Double VPNs go a step further and the first VPN sends the data (along with the first VPN’s IP address) to the second VPN where the data is once again decrypted, the IP address of the first VPN server is switched out for the IP address of the second VPN server, after which the data is then transmitted to the ultimate destination. The second VPN server only knows the IP address of the first VPN server and has no idea of your device’s original IP address, resulting in an added layer of security and a second barrier to any unauthorized surveillance.
Also, as the data traveling through both VPN servers is encrypted, anonymity is better maintained and THAT is the true goal of a Double VPN. Most people opt for a double VPN for this heightened level of anonymity and considering that they are effective in maintaining your privacy, it is completely understandable.
The biggest advantage of a double VPN in the restriction it places on your visibility to others. Tracing virtually becomes impossible as nobody can really see where your location truly is or where your data truly ends up. For example, your ISP would think the final destination is the second VPN server and would not have any visibility beyond that.
Even if someone were to monitor your activity, they would not be getting an accurate picture. For example, let’s say you were to access a VPN server in the United Kingdom (which would be your second VPN server in this case) while sitting in Canada, through another VPN server located in India (which would be the first VPN server in the chain). If you are being watched in Canada, the surveyor would simply see you were accessing data in India. Whereas anyone tracking your activity in the United Kingdom would think you were accessing data from India.
These two relay points in the chain, along with the switching of IP addresses at both points, don’t really allow anyone to properly track your activity and location. Add to that the encryption protocols the VPN may have in place, the level of security and privacy goes up significantly.
If you were to solely look at the heightened security and privacy that double VPNs offer, then it’s a no-brainer and you should opt for a VPN that has this feature. However, a look at the bigger picture shows that double VPNs have their drawbacks as well. The one that stands out the most is the effect double VPNs have on internet speed.
Even regular VPNs are known to compromise internet speed, and this would include t=even the best VPNs in the market today. With double VPNs, the activity usually involved in regular VPNs doubles and, therefore, the impact on internet speed is much stronger than regular VPNs. The first factor which affects the speed of your internet is the extra distance that your data needs to travel from the first VPN server to the second VPN server.
Another factor that affects internet speed is the congestion you would find especially when more users are logged on to the VPN. This congestion would potentially double if there’s another link in the chain of flow. There’s also the encryption and decryption process, which happens twice in double VPNs, meaning a lot more bandwidth is being used in the process, which would lead to reduced speed.
Also, every issue or bottleneck that you face when using a regular VPN potentially doubles when using a double VPN. So it should be no surprise that internet speed takes a hit. This makes double VPNs less than ideal when it comes to usage for the purposes of streaming, torrent downloading, and gaming, as all these activities require a significant amount of speed and bandwidth available to be able to function properly.
However, the above does not necessarily mean that the entire experience is compromised. You are simply limited to the activities you can indulge in when using a double VPN. Your internet will still function properly and will have state of the art encryption and security in place leading to a safer overall experience. Experts recommend that the ideal connection speed of your ISP should be 30 Mbps if you’re going to use a double VPN. Anything below that and you’re bound to face speed issues.
Examples of VPNs with double VPN feature
The three best VPN providers that offer a double VPN feature are NordVPN, SurfShark, and ibVPN. First and foremost, all thereof these providers are based in privacy-friendly countries, meaning there are no data retention laws, no government surveillance, and the right to privacy is upheld in reality (as it should be), unlike some other countries which only scream privacy when it suits them.
Secondly, all three VPN providers have a strict and verified no-logging policy, meaning your activity logs are never saved, which means nobody can ever access them! This no-logging policy, along with the level of encryption and security double VPNs offer, make them the ideal tool for maintaining anonymity and preserving data protection.
Lastly, all three of these VPN providers build the cost of the double VPN into the default price of the service, meaning you don’t have to pay anything extra. It should be noted that none of these VPNs operates on the double VPN model by default and the feature has to be activated in order for it to work. By default, all three operate as regular VPN would, plus the specific functionalities and features that each of them offers.
Expert opinions on double VPNs
Experts are mixed as to the usefulness of a double VPN. Some consider double VPNs as the standard that every provider should follow, while others think that any advantage that a double VPN could potentially provide is only theoretical. Due to limited awareness, reactions are mixed among general users as well.
From the perspective of security and encryption, experts argue that there isn’t much a double VPN could build on top, especially considering that basic 128-bit encryption (which any respectable regular VPN would have in place) would take billions of years to crack. Therefore, having double encryption doesn’t really make much of a difference as the basic encryption practically ensures that your security remains uncompromised.
However, from the perspective of maintaining privacy and anonymity, experts agree that double VPNs can be useful. When your data goes through two different servers and is attached to three different IP addresses (original device, first VPN server, and second VPN server), anyone would have a difficult time tracking you down. While a double VPN may not contribute any more to your security, it most definitely ensures that your privacy is not compromised at any point in the chain.
As you can see, double VPNs are absolutely beneficial when it comes to maintaining your privacy and online anonymity. However, as far as security is concerned, there is little to no difference made.
Furthermore, there is the fact that double VPNs take a significant toll on your internet speed, rendering it useless for any heavy bandwidth activity such as streaming, gaming and downloading. Considering all of this, it may not be the best option for those who use the internet as a source of entertainment only.
For those whose work is sensitive and involves a significant amount of internet usage, a double VPN may very well be beneficial as it would maintain privacy. Alternatively, if your work does not involve internet usage and is not sensitive, then a double VPN may work for you if ensuring your privacy and anonymity is the most important aspect of your internet experience and you’re happy to compromise on the speed of your internet