Which VPN connection protocol should I choose?

A VPN protocol is how the VPN encrypts data that the app sends to its servers.

Based on your type of device (Android, iOS, Windows, Mac) and version of your Hotspot Shield, there may be different protocols available to choose from. Always update to the latest version for the most current list of options.

By design, Hydra, our award-winning proprietary protocol, is built to be the fastest and most secure option. We recommend using Hydra or Automatic whenever possible, the latter of which will choose the best option for your network. If Hydra is blocked or you’d like to try another protocol, here’s how you can choose the protocol.

Go to Settings > VPN protocol. Then select the protocol you want to use.

Here’s a brief summary of each protocol: 

  • Hydra (proprietary) - best overall performance with strong privacy (looks like regular encrypted web traffic) and difficult for censors to block.
  • Openvpn TCP - has high security but is slow and easy to block.
  • Openvpn UDP - has high security, easier to block than OpenVPN TCP, easy to throttle, but faster than Openvpn TCP.
  • Wireguard - has high security, is new, fast, and easier to block than Hydra.
  • Ipsec (ikev2) - has high security, fast, is easier to block than Hydra, high security.