Double VPN and when should you use it?

multi-hop VPN
26 July, 2021 by
Double VPN and when should you use it?
James Huang

Double VPN is a feature that uses two VPN servers instead of one. Also known as multi-hop, this VPN server chaining method gives extra security and privacy. Despite that, the majority of VPN providers don’t have this option. (Therefore you should build your own)

What is Double VPN?

As its name says, Double VPN is a feature that allows you to use not one but two VPN servers. Such a multi-hop connection comes with double encryption and extra security for your IP address. One important difference from a regular VPN connection is that often you don’t get much choice between servers and have to pick from the available pairs.

Double VPN is not a common feature. Actually, the majority of providers don’t have it.  Double VPN can be a valuable option, especially for certain groups of people. If you’re a journalist writing on sensitive topics, extra security is always a good idea.

The pros of Double VPN

In general, Double VPN gives you extra security and privacy.

Double-encryption. Two VPN servers encrypt your traffic, making it virtually uncrackable.

Extra IP. The second server hides the IP of the first server that hides your real IP address.

Blinding your ISP. While your Internet Service Provider will know that you have turned the VPN on, the target website will remain an enigma.

Whereabouts unknown. Double VPN servers are usually in different countries to better mask your traffic. Multi-hop puts more layers between your virtual location and your real one.

Protocol cocktail. You can further enhance your security by mixing the TCP and UDP versions of the VPN protocol.

How does Double VPN work?

The main idea behind Double VPN is to hide your IP address better and encrypt your traffic two times. Technically, one can extend the VPN server chain by adding more servers and thus creating triple or even quadruple VPNs. 

When we turn on Double VPN feature:

  • A VPN app encrypts your traffic and sends it to the 1st VPN server

  • The 1st server encrypts your traffic again and hides your IP

  • The 1st server sends double-encrypted traffic to the 2nd VPN server

  • The 2nd server decrypts your traffic and sends it to the designated target

  • In the reverse process, you get the response from the target

As a result, your traffic gets encrypted two times, and the destination website or service sees your second VPN server’s IP address.

Is Double VPN safer than a regular VPN connection?

Double VPN is safer than a regular VPN connection even if the provider doesn’t use double-encryption. To start with, your IP address is hidden behind not one but two VPN servers. What’s more, double-encryption makes any brute-force attack virtually pointless.

Another reason why Double VPN is much safer when compared to a regular VPN connection is the data split. When you’re connected to one VPN server, it has your IP address and traffic destination. With Double VPN, one server has the IP but not your destination while the other has your destination but not the IP.

In the end, Double VPN is as safe as your VPN is. It should have a strict no-logs policy; otherwise, there’s no reason to use two logging servers when you can use one. That’s why we build our own. 

When do you need Double VPN?

Securing public wifi. While a regular VPN connection is good for that, Double VPN is even better. A public wifi hotspot has weak protection and many users. That’s why hackers love them. Therefore, encrypting your traffic not once but twice is a good idea.

Avoiding surveillance. Some governments spy on their citizens. You don’t want your traffic available to any third-party, and Double VPN helps prevent that. After all, getting caught visiting blocked sites or downloading illegal content is not at the top of anyone’s priority list.

Journalism. If you write about sensitive topics or take political action to change the status quo, chances are some people or organizations would like to see you fail. To shatter their dreams, you should protect yourself, your colleagues, and your sources online.

Running two VPNs at the same time is not a bad idea. While it will cost you more, this gives you the power to keep your eggs in really separate baskets. That’s unless both VPNs are in the same country, which makes it easier for the government or another third-party to snoop on your traffic.

More VPN features for maximum protection

As mentioned above, Double VPN alone won’t guarantee your security and privacy. If you are not building your own, your chosen provider has to have a true no-logs policy and no affiliation with governmental institutions. Furthermore, it has to make sure that no one can tamper with its servers.

Another feature you should look for is Tor over VPN. While using it together with Double VPN might be a bit too much, it’s a great alternative in case you cannot use the latter.

Therefore, if you live in a country where internet freedom is restricted, or you’re a journalist writing about a sensitive topic, then Double VPN may be your best bet on staying anonymous. Even if you “have nothing to hide,” turning on this feature when on public wifi is recommended.

Double VPN and when should you use it?
James Huang
26 July, 2021
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