OpenVPN vs WireGuard – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons)

OpenVPN vs WireGuard – What’s the Difference ? (Pros and Cons). Online protection is crucial from all sorts of unauthorised access. Therefore a VPN is the way to do it. This article introduces OpenVPN and WireGuard. Both solid Virtual Private Networks. But how do these two protocols work, and which is best for your needs? The first software is OpenVPN. Allows  your remote computers to securely connect to private networks over the Internet as if they are physically connected to the same local network. Leads to improved privacy, security and the ability to bypass censorship and restrictions.

On the other hand, we have WireGuard’s communications software. This network aims to increase productivity and efficiency, and is secure and scalable than traditional VPN solutions. Uses a simple and minimal code base, making it easy to audit and maintain.

This article teaches us about these two software products along with with an in depth comparative analysis.

Shall we start with OpenVPN vs WireGuard – What’s the Difference ?

What is OpenVPN?

First open source connection protocol is used to establish a secure tunnel between two points in a network. Gives us a  reliable technology, used by many virtual private networks or VPNs. Ensures that all data transmitted over the internet is encrypted and private.

Also, it supports a variety of encryption algorithms and is highly customizable. Making it a popular choice for businesses and individuals alike. Runs on a variety of operating systems including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS. 

Is OpenVPN Free?

Surely, OpenVPN is free and open source software. Anyone can use and modify it free of charge under the terms of the GPLv2 license. In addition, a commercially supported version of OpenVPN with additional features and support is also available. However, using the open source version of OpenVPN is completely free.

How does OpenVPN work?

Primarily it works by creating a Virtual Private Network (VPN) between two or more computers over the Internet. Hence, when users connect to a VPN, their internet traffic is securely routed through an encrypted tunnel to a remote server. Remote server acts as an intermediary, redirecting the user’s traffic to the Internet and returning the response to the user through an encrypted passage.

Here’s how the process works in more detail:

  • User starts the OpenVPN client software on the device and initiates a connection to the remote OpenVPN server.
  • The client and server establish a secure and encrypted connection using the OpenVPN protocol, which encrypts the transmitted data using SSL/TLS or DTLS.
  • Once the connection is established, the user’s Internet traffic is routed through an encrypted tunnel to the remote server.
  • The remote server acts as an intermediary. It then redirects the user’s Internet traffic to the correct location on the Internet and returns the response to the user through an encrypted tunnel.
  • All of your internet traffic is encrypted and protected from tracking and unauthorized access to ensure confidentiality and security.

This process allows users to securely access the Internet as if they were physically connected to a private network. Even when using a public or unsecured Wi Fi connection. Basically, OpenVPN is used to bypass censorship and geo-restrictions, protect against security threats, and maintain online privacy.

Features of OpenVPN

There are several key features that make virtual private network (VPN) solutions popular: Some of them are:

Support for multiple protocols – including UDP, TCP, and SCTP. Allows administrators to select the protocol that best suited to their specific needs.

Flexible configurations – customizable, allowing administrators to tailor and customize the VPN solution to their specific needs.

Scalability – supports thousands of concurrent connections, making it suitable for large scale deployments.

Military grade encryption – uses industry standard encryption protocols to secure data transmission over the Internet.

OpenVPN Pros

  • Readily vetted and open source.
  • High 1024-bit encryption levels.
  • Great community support.
  • Supports perfect forward secrecy.
  • This free tool is available on mobile platforms, stable and reliable. Not detected any leaking of personal data like true IP address while used.
  • Very easy to use, its installation is fast and simple with excellent documentation and support of your community. 
  • Almost every VPN provider has OpenVPN protocol and most of them provide both TCP and UDP. Fast, reliable and secure.

OpenVPN Cons

  • Needs third party software for setup.
  • Blocked by some proxy servers.
  • Lengthy and complex setup.
  • Setting up an OpenVPN is complex and lengthy process, as it involves lots of instructions and configuration aspects. 
  • Contains many options that is confusing to many. Especially for the newbies. However there are many blog posts and forums that help using the OpenVPN solution.

Up next with OpenVPN vs WireGuard – What’s the Difference ? we introduce WireGuard.

What is WireGuard?

Second tool is a free and open source virtual private network (VPN) software. Well, it aims to provide a fast, safe and easy VPN experience. Focuses on simplicity, performance and security with state of the art cryptography and the latest core technologies. WireGuard uses a new and lightweight VPN protocol compared to other existing VPN protocols. Thanks to that, it is used on many devices including mobile phones, routers and servers.

Why WireGuard is important?

The solution is important because it is a modern secure virtual private network (VPN) protocol, that offers improved performance and ease of use compared to older VPN protocols. Designed to be faster, simpler and more secure with a smaller code base and less attack surface. Additionally, WireGuard was designed with a focus on mobile devices and embedded systems, making it suitable for use in these scenarios.

For companies, using WireGuard secures sensitive data and protect against data breaches, whilst providing employees with a fast and convenient way to access corporate resources remotely.

How does WireGuard work?

It works by creating a secure encrypted tunnel between two or more devices. Uses a Virtual Private Network (VPN) protocol to encrypt data transmitted over the Internet and protect it from eavesdropping and other security threats.

Additionally, it uses a simple and lightweight code base, which makes it easy to implement and has fewer security vulnerabilities. Above all, it uses public key cryptography for authentication and encryption. Afterwards it assigns a unique public/private key pair to each device.

Before a device communicates with another device, it sends a communication request containing the public key to the other device. The other device verifies the public key and, if recognized, sends a response containing its own public key. The two devices then use the shared public key and corresponding private key to establish a secure connection.

Once a secure connection is established, data is transmitted through an encrypted tunnel, providing a high level of security and privacy. Altogether WireGuard supports both IPv4 and IPv6 and is used for a variety of use cases including personal VPNs, site to site VPNs, and end-to-end encrypted networks.

Features of WireGuard

WireGuard is known for several important features that make it a popular VPN choice:

Cross platform compatibility – ideal for businesses and individuals as available on a variety of platforms including Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS and Android, 

Easy configuration – designed to be easy to use and requires less configuration than traditional VPN protocols, so vastly accessible to more users.

Speed – offers faster speeds and lower latency than previous VPN protocols.

Privacy – does not store logs or network traffic metadata, giving users greater privacy and data leakage protection.

Security – uses strong encryption algorithms and public key cryptography for authentication, providing a high level of security for data transmitted over the network.

Integration with existing systems – easily integrates with existing networking infrastructure, allowing businesses to add VPN capabilities to their existing network.

WireGuard Pros

  • Smaller attack surface – fewer lines of code means fewer places to hide security vulnerabilities.
  • Fast – uses predefined configurations and fewer resources when retrieving data. Theoretically, runs faster than other protocols.
  • Light – 4000 lines of code (100,000 lines for OpenVPN) make testing and operations easier, including hiding existing flaws.
  • Growing app support and a time saving functionality.
  • Easy to use on multiple devices simultaneously.
  • Exceptional VPN speed, ping and throughput functionalities.

WireGuard Cons

  • Doesn’t obfuscate natively – not a real issue for VPN providers since we set up this capability ourselves.

It’s still young – The more tested a piece of software is, the safer it can be, and WireGuard hasn’t been around as long as other encryption protocols like OpenVPN.

  • Built in firewall – unlike other VPN protocols, WireGuard does not include a built in firewall. This means that users need to implement their own firewall rules to protect their network.
  • Potential for security issues – although WireGuard was designed with security in mind, it is still a relatively new technology, so security vulnerabilities are likely to be discovered in the future.

It is time with OpenVPN vs WireGuard – What’s the Difference ? to look at their differences. Please follow on.

OpenVPN vs WireGuard – What’s the Difference ?

OpenVPN and WireGuard are both popular VPN protocols, but they have several key differences that you should consider when choosing between them:

Codebase Comparison

OpenVPN has been developed over many years and has evolved to support a wide range of use cases and configuration options. This diversity is reflected in the size and complexity of our codebase. As a result, OpenVPN is more susceptible to bugs and security vulnerabilities than WireGuard.

WireGuard, on the other hand, was designed with simplicity and security in mind. Because it has a smaller codebase, it makes it easier to maintain and secure, as there are fewer places where bugs or security vulnerabilities can occur. This is one of the reasons WireGuard is considered more secure than OpenVPN.

Performance Differences

Here, OpenVPN has a more complex architecture and uses a more traditional cryptographic stack. This results in slower VPN connections and higher latency compared to WireGuard. However, you optimize OpenVPN’s performance by tweaking the configuration and using hardware acceleration. As a result you get good performance for your specific OpenVPN use case.

On the other hand, WireGuard has modern cryptography and is designed to be lightweight and optimized. This results in faster VPN connection speeds and lower latency compared to OpenVPN. Designed to also handle many simultaneous connections with minimal overhead, making it a great fit for high bandwidth VPN use cases.

Legacy support

Developed over many years and has evolved to support a wide range of use cases and configuration options. This diversity is reflected in support for older devices and operating systems. OpenVPN runs on many older devices, even those that are no longer supported by their manufacturers.

Uses newer encryption technologies that may not be compatible with older devices. This is because WireGuard was designed with security and performance in mind, and the use of modern cryptography is a key component of this design. As a result, WireGuard may not be compatible with older devices and operating systems.

Security Issues

On one side OpenVPN is a well established and widely used VPN protocol providing strong security features. Uses your existing encryption stack, including SSL/TLS, and supports a wide range of security options including certificate based authentication, two factor authentication, and full forward secrecy. Additionally, OpenVPN is regularly reviewed for security vulnerabilities, and there are many tools and resources available to secure your OpenVPN installation.

Oppositely, WireGuard uses state of the art encryption technologies including Curve25519, ChaCha20 and Poly1305 and provides an optimized and easy to use VPN solution. With smaller codebase, it is easier to secure and maintain as there are fewer places where bugs or security vulnerabilities are introduced. WireGuard also uses a streamlined authentication process that is more resistant to attack than traditional VPN protocols.

Configuration Options

OpenVPN offers a wide range of configuration options, including support for different encryption algorithms, authentication methods, and VPN topologies. This diversity though is reflected in the complexity of the setup process, which is daunting for some users, especially those new to VPNs.

The setup process is much simpler with a focus on ease of use and minimal setup time. Configuration of WireGuard is based on a single configuration file that is easy to understand and modify. What is more, it also provides a simple and streamlined VPN setup process, making it perfect for newcomers to VPNs or users with limited skills.


Comparatively, OpenVPN provides a wide range of configuration options and support for different VPN topologies. Easier to scale in other situations. Additionally, OpenVPN is well supported and widely used, so there are many resources and tools available for scaling and optimizing OpenVPN deployments.

However, WireGuard has fewer configuration options and support for different VPN topologies compared to OpenVPN, which is more challenging to scale in some situations.

Thank you for reading OpenVPN vs WireGuard – What’s the Difference ? We shall conclude the article. 

OpenVPN vs WireGuard – What’s the Difference ? Conclusion

In summary, choosing between OpenVPN and WireGuard depends on your specific requirements and needs. Factors such as performance, legacy support, security, configuration, and scalability may be more or less important depending on your use case. Also, depending on your configuration and settings, use WireGuard if you want the fastest speeds, or regularly switching between WiFi and cellular networks. Use OpenVPN if you need highest degree of privacy and you don’t like the extra logging.

Ultimately, both OpenVPN and WireGuard are good VPN protocols, and choosing one or the other will depend on your personal needs and preferences.

Do explore more of VPN content in our blog by navigating over here

Avatar for Kamil Wisniowski
Kamil Wisniowski

I love technology. I have been working with Cloud and Security technology for 5 years. I love writing about new IT tools.

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