What is a Double VPN — and why you should use one

What is a Double VPN — and why you should use one
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Over the past few years, increasing concerns surrounding our internet safety have given way to a huge surge in VPN popularity. Today, VPNs can come in many different forms. While traditional VPNs are most well-known, double VPNs are now also available on a number of different providers. But what exactly is a double VPN, and how can it protect you online?

What Is a double VPN?

If you’re using a typical VPN provider, such as ExpressVPN, SurfShark, or ProtonVPN, you’re likely having your internet data sent through and encrypted via one server. This means that your data is going through one layer of encryption only.

While this can still provide you with a high level of online security, it can be improved upon through the use of a double VPN. 

As the name suggests, a double VPN provides users with an extra layer of security by using two servers instead of one. So, when you connect to the internet via a double VPN, your data is being encrypted twice. Though this involves two servers, it isn’t the same as using two VPNs simultaneously. Double VPNs link two servers from the same provider, whereas you’d have to link two separate providers if you wanted to use two VPNs at the same time. 

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This creates a pocket of safety for your data, as it will be encrypted on both ends of the channel, meaning a cybercriminal will have a very hard time accessing any data that is yet to be encrypted. This process is also known as VPN server chaining, or cascade configuration, and can be a highly effective security measure. 

However, two encryption layers aren’t always present in a double VPN. While a number of VPN providers offer two layers with their double VPN feature, others do not (though your data will still be sent through two servers in such cases). But in any case, a double VPN is designed to heighten your security when online. 

However, double VPNs do come with one major disadvantage. 

The downside of double VPNs

If a double VPN can provide you with such a high level of protection online, using it is a no-brainer, right?

Well, not quite. Though double VPNs can keep your data supersafe, they come with one significant downside: poorer connection speeds. 

If you already use a regular VPN, you may have noticed that your upload or download speed decreases when it is active. Because your data is being sent and encrypted through a remote server when you use a VPN, you’ll often have to wait a little longer to connect. You may notice that web pages take longer to load, or that you’re experiencing more buffering than usual when streaming.

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Unfortunately, this is just how VPNs work, but the problem can be worsened further through the use of a double VPN. This is because your data is going through two servers instead of one, which takes even more time. If your connection speeds are already pretty sub-par without the use of a VPN, using a double VPN can cause a lot of issues, and may make your online experience very frustrating. 

But this doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your online security for better connection speeds. Double VPNs are more suited to those who require a very high level of online security for specific reasons. For example, you may be a journalist trying to protect your sources, or an individual in a country that has strict internet laws. 

Because double VPNs can be so detrimental to your internet speed, you should really only use one if it’s an absolute necessity. Of course, anyone who uses a provider with a double VPN feature can use one, but this may prove to be more of a frustration than a joy if your speeds are hit that badly. 

However, if you still feel a double VPN could be useful for you, there are many providers out there who offer this feature, including:

  • NordVPN
  • ProtonVPN
  • SurfShark 
  • Windscribe VPN

It’s worth noting that, when you use a double VPN, you likely won’t have the same number of servers to choose from. So, if you have a favorite VPN server that you often connect to, you may find that it is unavailable when your double VPN feature is active.

Double VPNs can be a great option for high-level security

If you’re in a position where you require ultra-high levels of security when browsing the web, a double VPN might be a useful addition to your regular VPN connection. This will allow you to circumvent tracking entirely and add an extra layer of encryption to your precious internet data.