Double VPN is a more advanced security feature typically offered by premium VPN providers, that routes data through two different VPN servers. Typically, only one VPN server is used to route data. Double VPN technology routes data through an extra server, making it essentially twice as secure.
In most cases, each of these servers are located in separate countries. This has the unfortunate result of possibly increasing the connection latency and travel time significantly as well. However, it does make your point of origin even harder to trace.
How Double VPN Works
Double VPN works by having your data travel through one VPN server and then routed through another before heading to its final destination.
When you use a double VPN, this is what happens to your data:
- Your data is encrypted and sent from your device to a VPN server.
- The VPN server encrypts the data again.
- The data is then sent to another VPN server using the current server’s IP address.
- From there it heads to where you wanted it to go with the origin as the new VPN server’s IP.
As you can see, not only does your source IP change twice, but the encryption is done twice as well. Linking together two VPN servers in this manner increases your security and anonymity much more significantly.
Benefits of Double VPN
The core benefits of double VPN are a further boost in security and anonymity. Since all your data is protected with an extra layer of encryption, this makes it twice as hard for hackers to crack.
When Double VPN is used, the two VPN servers normally use a mix between User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP). This is a further step that helps increase the security level of the transmission.
The two VPN servers will also not be able to ‘see’ and ‘know’ both the original source and the final destination of the internet traffic. This complexity helps obfuscate the data trail, preventing anyone from easily monitoring the traffic flow.
Overall, the process adds layers to the flow which complicates the process. The end result is a much higher chance of anonymity for anyone using Double VPN technology.
Downsides of Using Double VPN
As mentioned earlier, one of the downsides of using Double VPN is the potential sacrifice of transmission speed and increase in latency. How fast a connection is perceived is heavily influenced by the distance which data needs to travel.
When using a Double VPN connection, being routed through two separate locations will potentially increase distance travelled significantly. Users also seldom get to control the exact two server locations used for most Double VPN connections.
This means you may choose a nearby server, but likely have no choice over the second server you are routed through. They may be located worlds apart, causing a massive time delay to the overall connection.
Another factor which needs to be taken into consideration is the overhead caused by additional layers of encryption. The process of encryption and decryption takes time and resources. If VPN servers are overcrowded, it may further increase your round-trip-time.
When do you need Double VPN?
Use Double VPN when…
- You need extra privacy when connecting to website in your own country
- Your complete anonymity (i.e. activists, politicians) on the Internet trumps all other concerns
- You are a journalist who’s protecting your sources
Don’t use Double VPN when…
- Torrenting (i.e. downloading and uploading via P2P networks)
- Everyday internet usage (i.e. visiting websites and reading different news sources)
- Streaming media online (i.e. Netflix, Disney+)
There are some who strongly believe that this functionality could be an overkill as having data pass through a basic single VPN connection is already almost impossible to compromise. This point of view of course depends on individual circumstance.
If your complete anonymity on the Internet trumps all other concerns then using a double VPN may be for you. For example, if you were an investigative journalist or a political activist in a totalitarian country, using a Double VPN would make sense. After all, your life would be at stake.
Top VPN Providers with Double VPN
There are not many VPN providers who offer this Double VPN feature and even when they do, they do not always offer the same levels of privacy protection across the board. Exercise caution when choosing one.
NordVPN Double VPN
Topping the list of preferred VPN providers we know of that offer this capability is NordVPN. It’s a solid all-round choice with excellent speeds and strong security. As of 2020, its Double VPN feature is available in eight locations across North America, Europe, and Taiwan.
Next would be Surfshark, a relatively newcomer to the VPN market. Despite that it has proven to be a solid performer and fast grower. Surfshark calls its Double VPN feature Multihop, which is essentially the same thing.
These VPN providers are good examples of strong, reliable choices that offer zero-log product that are highly secure.
While a single VPN connection from a reliable and trusted VPN provider would be more than sufficient for most users, it is true that using a Double VPN could best suit those of you who are ultra-concerned about online anonymity.
After all, doubling the VPNs simply means double the protection. However, please bear in mind that this Double VPN feature does very likely come with a connection performance hit.