A double VPN is a feature offered by some VPN services that allows you to strengthen the security of your internet connection by passing through two VPN servers successively. Unlike using two separate VPNs at the same time, Double VPN offers a pre-packaged setup offered by the VPN provider itself.
To understand how a double VPN works, it’s important to go back to the basics: normally, when you connect to the internet, you connect from your home to a server of your internet service provider (ISP), then to the site website you want to visit. A VPN changes this configuration by redirecting your connection, so that after going through your ISP, you connect to a VPN server before accessing the website.
The purpose of this setup is twofold: your IP address is changed to match that of the VPN, which is useful for bypassing regional blocks as well as censorship, and the connection between the ISP and the VPN server is encrypted in a ” tunnel”, which means no one knows what you are doing online, provided you have used private browsing mode and signed out of all your online accounts.
A double VPN adds a second VPN server in the chain, so you go from your ISP’s server to a VPN server, then to another VPN server belonging to the same company, before going to the website of your choice. This cascading configuration, where one connection “falls” into another, is called “connection cascading”. In effect, for each new VPN connection, you add a new encryption tunnel.
However, there is one major downside to using a double VPN: your connection speed will take a significant hit. A single VPN connection already significantly reduces your connection speed, and adding a second hop will reduce it even further. We observed double VPN connections that were barely 10% of the speed of the original connection.
What are the pros and cons of a double VPN?
A double VPN offers increased security over a regular VPN connection, but it’s not always the best option for casual VPN users.
Here is an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of a double VPN:
Benefits of a double VPN:
- Enhanced Security : One of the main benefits of a double VPN is the extra encryption it offers. This gives users two layers of protection to boost their online privacy and security.
- IP address security : A double VPN also uses two IP addresses, which helps to ensure that your real IP address remains private.
- Anonymous location : The two IP addresses mean that your real location is masked twice, which makes it almost impossible to determine your real geographical position.
Disadvantages of a double VPN:
- Limited choice of servers : Since a double VPN uses two servers, this can limit the server options available.
- Incompatibility with Tor : Double VPN connections are generally too slow to use with Tor, even for basic browsing.
- Much slower connection speeds : Using a double VPN requires going through two different VPN servers, which can significantly slow down your internet connection speed.
- Restricted availability : Double VPN connections are usually only offered by high-end VPN services, which can make them expensive for some users to use.
- Variable reliability : Double VPN connections don’t always work well. There may be times when you are only connected to one VPN server or unable to establish a connection at all.
When should you use a double VPN?
Using a double VPN can be beneficial in some specific circumstances where increased security is needed.
Here are some situations where using a double VPN might be advisable:
1. Protect your sensitive data:
One of the best use cases for a double VPN is to ensure that your sensitive data is protected. In many cases, a single VPN is sufficient to protect your online activity, but in some situations, especially when accessing confidential or sensitive information, a double VPN may be necessary. By using a double VPN, your private data is encrypted twice, making it even more secure than with a regular VPN. While most VPNs are sufficient to encrypt your data, a double VPN adds an extra layer of encryption in case the initial encryption is intercepted and decrypted.
2. Circumvent censorship or government surveillance:
Another use case for a double VPN is when trying to circumvent government surveillance or censorship. Journalists and political activists can use a double VPN app to increase the security of their online connection and access censored information and websites. A double VPN can ensure that your identity, including your IP address, is secure as you avoid internet censorship. By using a double VPN, you can route your traffic to a server in an uncensored country with the first VPN, and then route it through a censored country with the second VPN. This means that your connection will appear to originate from the location of the first VPN server and allow you to bypass government restrictions.
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3. Secure public Wi-Fi connections:
Using public Wi-Fi networks can be dangerous for your data security. A double VPN provides an extra level of security when browsing the internet using public Wi-Fi networks. You may want to use a double VPN if you are using public Wi-Fi and accessing sensitive information. A double VPN can give you peace of mind when working with important or confidential information at the airport or on public transport.
When is a double VPN not necessary?
A standard VPN generally provides sufficient privacy for most of your internet browsing activities. If you want to protect your daily browsing history from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), access geo-restricted content, or hide your IP address, a double VPN probably isn’t necessary.
It is important to note that using a double VPN results in a significant reduction in the speed of your internet connection. If you need a fast connection for streaming, online gaming, or downloading large files, a double VPN might not be the best option.
It is also essential to choose a reputable and reliable VPN provider to ensure the security and privacy of your data when using a double VPN.
What are the best VPN providers with double VPN functionality?
If you are looking for a double VPN, it is important to find the right provider. Many VPN clients offer double VPN functionality along with other important privacy features such as a kill switch and a no-logs policy.
Here are three VPN providers we recommend, along with the cost of each VPN:
- Lowest price: €3.09/month for 24 months
- Number of double VPN servers: 82 servers
- Encryption methods: AES-256-GCM
- Lowest price: €2.49/month for 24 months
- Number of double VPN servers: 12 servers
- Encryption methods: IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN and WireGuard with AES-256-GCM
- Lowest price: €4.99/month for 12 months
- Number of double VPN servers: 2,000 servers (paid only)
- Encryption methods: AES-256
It is important to note that the prices indicated are valid as of September 26, 2022.
How to Use NordVPN Double VPN Service?
NordVPN is one of the VPN providers that offers a double VPN feature.
Here’s how to use NordVPN’s Double VPN:
- Open the NordVPN app.
- Go to the “Specialty Servers” section at the bottom of the server list.
- Select “Double VPN” to connect. You can also manually select specific servers that best suit your needs.
In most cases, a standard VPN is sufficient to protect your internet activities and allow you to bypass geo-restrictions. However, if you are looking for increased security and want to avoid government censorship, a double VPN can be useful. It is important to consider the reduction in your connection speed when using a double VPN.