What is TCP and UDP and why is one better than the other?

TCP and UDP are the two protocols that define Internet-based information exchange. They are built on top of the IP protocol and have some similarities, but their peculiarities make them suitable for varied applications. These two protocols are by far the most extensively used for Internet user communication. Both protocols fulfill tasks, although they do so in distinct ways.

These protocols are used for the transport of data packets, also known as bits. Whether you use UDP or TCP, data packets are sent to the IP address. Because these packets are transferred from your device to their destination, they are treated similarly.


Through these network protocols, all of your data is sent from your device to the servers. These protocols are used while viewing online movies, sending emails, and exploring the Internet. The data packets include the IP addresses of the sender and recipient, the data you transmit, and some data that indicates the end of the data packet.

The transmission of data packets distinguishes TCP and UDP from one another. Using ports such as TCP and UDP, they transport data packets from your computer to the numerous routers until the packets reach their destination. These protocols likewise send packets to the IP address of the recipient.

What is TCP (Transmission Control Protocol)?

TCP is more popular than UDP. When you access a website on your computer, your system transmits TCP packets to the server’s address. These packets are a request to convey the website’s information and data. The server responds by sending a sequence of TCP packets. The browser distributes the packets in such a manner that all the packets are linked, and your device displays a web page.

  • Whenever you click on a different link on the page or visit a different website, you send data packets to the database, and your server sends you more TCP packets. TCP is not a one-way protocol. The browser transmits all data packets to the server, and the server sends data packets back to the browser.
  • The difference is that the user sends request packets while the server responds by providing the suitably stitched data packets to produce a functional web page. TCP arranges the packets so that the user gets them sequentially. When a recipient receives a package, the sender receives an acknowledgement. The request must be resent if the recipient does not get a response as the packet has not been received.
  • TCP quality is excellent. The packets are examined for faults to verify that the request is satisfactorily fulfilled. Monitoring TCP packets ensures that no intermediate data is lost. Packets of corruption are also evaluated, and as a result, files copied via TCP are accepted flawlessly despite network issues.
  • When the remote host is entirely offline, the system will cease trying to establish a connection and display an error message stating that the network cannot be setup.

What is UDP (User Datagram Protocol)?

UDP operates similarly to TCP in that it likewise delivers data packets. However, UDP does not perform error checks.

It removes the element of dependability and simplifies the process. It puts the packets in the right sequence, provides acknowledgments, and requests for resending, which takes a great deal of time and slows down the whole process.

  • UDP expedites data transfer by removing unnecessary processes. UDP is used by the sender to transfer the packets to the receiver. It is irrelevant whether the recipient has received it or not. It continues to transmit data packets. If any data packets were lost along the route, UDP would not be able to resend them.
  • There is no way to determine if the receiver received all the packets, and therefore lost packets cannot be recovered. It may seem like a loss, but UDP is now quicker than TCP. When performance is a major issue, UDP should not be used in communications.
  • UDP should only be used when speed is essential, although some packets may be lost along the route. UDP should be used for online gaming, broadcasting, and videoconferencing.


When using a VPN, the authentication choices may look quite confusing. It is possible to switch between the two protocols using a handy VPN client add-on. The first protocol is OpenVPN UDP, while the second is OpenVPN TCP. It is advantageous to always have a reliable VPN connection. UDP is often the fastest, most enjoyable, and most dependable protocol to use.

In fact, the degree to which TCP slows down the connection depends on a number of network conditions, distance being one of the most important. The greater your physical distance from your VPN server, the more TCP packets you must transport, and the slower your connection will be. You may not see any speed decrease when the server is nearby while benefiting from a more secure connection.

Final decision

It is up to the developer to decide whether an application uses TCP or UDP, and the choice will depend on the application’s requirements. Numerous applications require TCP error correction and resilience. However, certain applications need the decreased overhead and performance of UDP. Different packet sniffing applications, such as Wireshark, may help you comprehend the movement of data packets.

If you are searching for the best VPN service for your device, you should use NordVPN. It finally protects your online activity by encrypting data flow, preventing hackers from accessing your machine. No one will be able to track your online actions if you use a virtual private network service to conceal your IP address. Geo-restricted websites that are blocked may be unblocked.

Found this useful? Share with