What is double VPN and is it really necessary?

A double VPN connection operates like that of a standard VPN connection, with the following notable exceptions:

  • Instead of a single VPN server, internet traffic is routed across two.
  • Double encryption is used to secure internet communication.

VPNs with two hops are sometimes referred to as multi-hop, cascade, nested, or chained VPNs.

Therefore, what are the advantages of a double VPN and when should you use one? How do you configure it, and which service providers provide it? This article will address each of these points.

What is a double VPN connection?

A standard VPN encrypts data transferred to and received from the internet, ensuring that it cannot be decrypted by other parties. The data is routed via an intermediate server in the user’s preferred location, which replaces the user’s IP address with that of the VPN server.

On a standard VPN, the mechanism for sending data is as follows:

  1. On the end user device, data is encrypted (smartphone, laptop, etc)
  2. The VPN server receives encrypted data.
  3. On the VPN server, encrypted data is decrypted.
  4. The destination website, app, or online service receives the data.

Incoming data reverses this process, with encryption occurring on the server and decryption occurring on the end-user device.

A double VPN has a second VPN server and an additional layer of encryption. Outgoing data is processed as follows:

  1. On the end user device, the data is encrypted.
  2. On the end user device, encrypted data is encrypted a second time.
  3. Data is encrypted twice before being delivered to the first VPN server.
  4. The first VPN server removes the second layer of encryption.
  5. The second VPN server receives encrypted data.
  6. The data is completely decrypted when the first layer of encryption is removed.
  7. The destination website, app, or online service receives the data.

Incoming data follows the same procedure as outgoing data. Each server is encrypted, and both are decrypted on the end-user device.

The “nested” twin VPN arrangement is the most secure and private. Certain VPN providers and administrators, on the other hand, do not encrypt data twice on the end-user device. Rather, outbound communication is encrypted using a single layer of encryption. Once it reaches the first VPN server, it is deleted and then subjected to a second round of encryption before being transferred to the second server. This solution provides just a single layer of encryption at any moment in time and enables both servers to observe unencrypted communication, which is why we do not suggest it. It offers nothing in the way of privacy or security.

Additional servers and encryption levels may be added to build triple or quadruple VPN configurations, a process known as VPN server chaining or VPN server cascading.

Which VPN provider best supports double VPN connections?

If you’re looking for a single service that supports double VPN connections, NordVPN is our top suggestion. You may simply choose a location for a double VPN server from the list inside the software. Double VPN is now accessible in eight countries, all of which are in North America or Europe, plus one in Taiwan.

Double VPN with two distinct VPN providers

If you want to enhance your anonymity, though, you need to utilize two distinct VPN services.

Why?

Although NordVPN does not maintain records, if it ever turns rogue and begins recording everything you do online, it will make little difference whether you’re using a second VPN. If one business controls both VPN servers, despite the enhanced protection, it may piece together your internet behavior. It’s worth emphasizing that we see NordVPN as a reputable supplier, and such an occurrence is quite improbable.

By using a double VPN with two different providers, you can ensure that no one entity can monitor both your IP address and online behavior.

When it works, using two VPN applications is not difficult, but it does need some setting and debugging. VPN applications may collide, particularly if they use the same protocol and virtual network cards. You may want to experiment with setting up a VPN on your smartphone and another on your wireless network or virtual computer.

For example, I was able to set up a double VPN using NordVPN and IPVanish on a single device, but some other combinations did not work as well. I just started both applications and connected to one before attempting to connect to the other. The server of one provider can see my device, and the server of the other provider can see what I’m doing online, but neither can do both, thus masking my connection.

Do I need double VPN? What are the advantages?

Most likely not. However, there are certain circumstances in which more security is helpful.

A double VPN connection increases the security of a VPN connection, however, it is mostly redundant. The concept is that if the security key for one server is hacked, the data will remain encrypted and unreadable to third parties on the second server.

The second significant advantage is that no one VPN server can observe both the source and destination of internet traffic. For instance, the first VPN server may see data arriving from your smartphone, but cannot know what websites you visit beyond the second VPN server. In contrast, the second VPN may monitor whatever websites you access, but the source is the prior VPN server, not your smartphone.

NordVPN strongly recommends its double VPN option to journalists, political activists, and others who live in areas with extensive internet monitoring.

What are the downsides of a double VPN connection?

Due to the additional server that your data must transit through, double VPN connections are much slower.

Additionally, it consumes more resources on your smartphone or laptop, since it must encrypt and decode any data twice. As a consequence, low-powered devices may see significant speed degradation.

Providers such as NordVPN, which provide double VPN connections, do not enable you to connect to any servers or locations. Because they are static settings, you will have a considerably limited range of predefined choices to pick from.

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