- Two layers of encryption keeps your data even more secure
- Double VPN servers are normally in different countries, making it near-impossible to identify your real location
- Increased protection against traffic correlation attacks
- Two servers means two IP addresses, making your real IP even more secure
- Limited server choice
- Incompatible with Tor, as the speeds would be too slow for even basic browsing
- Much slower connection speeds
- Double VPN is generally only offered by premium VPN services
- Double VPN does not always work. You might only connect to one VPN server or fail to make a connection whatsoever
Double VPN decentralizes your data and encrypts it twice, which means it is worth using if you’re sending sensitive information and you’re not overly-concerned with choosing a server location
However, it will be expensive and your connection speeds will likely be too slow for torrenting and gaming. Streaming can be possible but it depends on the strength of your connection and the VPN you use.
A normal VPN connection is faster, more reliable, offers a wider server network, and can also encrypt your data. We only recommend Double VPN if you want to maximize your online privacy and security, especially against traffic correlation attacks.
Double VPN is far more secure than a normal VPN connection.
When using an ordinary VPN all of your traffic is routed through a single VPN server. Your incoming and outgoing traffic from this server could be monitored and used to expose your identity.
In contrast, Double VPN ensures a separation of personal data by splitting the content of your traffic between two VPN servers in different locations.
The first VPN server processes your originating IP address, but it does not communicate with your destination website. Conversely, the second VPN server communicates with the webserver on your behalf but does not have access to your original IP address.
This adds an additional layer of privacy and security, as both VPN servers would need to be monitored to identify your activity. Moreover, Double VPN effectively replaces your IP address twice, making it even harder to identify your real geographical location.
Here’s a summary of how Double VPN processes your personal data:
- Your data, including your public IP address, is sent to the first VPN server. The VPN server assigns a new IP address and forwards your traffic to the next server.
- The second VPN server receives your encrypted traffic and its new IP address. It cannot see your original IP address as it was replaced by the first VPN server.
- Your traffic is decrypted, assigned another new IP address, which belongs to the second VPN server, and sent to its destination website.
- The website receives your decrypted data and can only see the IP address of the second VPN server.
Introducing a second VPN server does, however, come at the cost of higher subscription fees and slower connection speeds.
Double VPN is an advanced feature that is only offered by premium, subscription-based VPN services. There are currently no free VPN services that natively support Double VPN. Even if there were, it is unlikely a free VPN service would have the necessary connection speeds to sustain multiple server hops.
In addition, VPN services usually limit Double VPN functionality to a handful of servers – typically in the US and Europe. If you’re looking to connect to a Double VPN server in a location outside of these regions, you can expect your connection speeds to be even slower.
When Should You Use Double VPN?
Double VPN is more secure than an ordinary VPN connection, but it’s not always the best option for casual VPN users.
Here’s a summary of when to use Double VPN:
- To improve security on public WiFi connections
- To bypass website restrictions in highly-censored countries
- To protect your data against advanced cyberattacks
We recommend enabling Double VPN in the following circumstances:
1To Bypass Government Censorship
Large-scale attempts at web censorship, such as China’s Great Firewall, involve blocking or restricting connections to specific foreign websites.
Double VPN can bypass this censorship by initially routing your traffic through a VPN server in an accessible country, then transferring your request to a second VPN server in a blocked country.
For example, if you’re in China and want to access an American website, you can use Double VPN to connect to Singapore, then connect to a second server in the US. The Government censors in China will only be able to see your connection to a Singaporean server and will not detect an American IP address.
A VPN might also have other obfuscation features that can bypass online censorship, such as Shadowsocks and Obfsproxy.
2To Protect Sensitive Data from Advanced Attacks
Normal VPN connections can be susceptible to traffic correlation attacks. This is when an attacker attempts to de-anonymize data by finding patterns in both ends of the communication channel.
By passing your data through two servers in two different locations, Double VPN can obscure one end of the communication channel and protect you against these attacks.
Even if your first server was compromised, your data’s endpoint would be hidden behind the second VPN server.
EXPERT ADVICE: An individual or institution with sufficient jurisdiction in the locations of both the first and second VPN server could still, in theory, successfully carry out a traffic correlation attack. This is an extreme example, though.
When Shouldn’t You Use Double VPN?
Using a VPN will almost always slow your connection speeds because your data has to travel further. This problem is amplified when you involve a second VPN server in the routing.
For this reason, there are some circumstances that will not benefit from an additional layer of protection. Here’s a summary of when not to use Double VPN:
- When streaming region-restricted content e.g. on Netflix
- When gaming or running other high-bandwidth applications
- When torrenting large files or other P2P-based activities
We recommend avoiding Double VPN in the following circumstances:
1Streaming Region-Restricted Content
You shouldn’t rely on Double VPN to access geo-restricted content like US Netflix, Disney+, or BBC iPlayer.
Fast connection speeds are essential for smooth streaming. Using Double VPN routes your traffic through multiple servers before finally connecting to the streaming site, which will increase your latency and cause the stream to buffer.
It’s also much harder to find Double VPN servers in a wide range of locations. Server coverage is essential for streaming, as connecting to a server in a different country allows you to unlock content exclusive to that region
If you want to access geo-restricted content regularly, try out a reliable VPN for streaming.
Online gaming requires fast connection speeds to matchmake, avoid lag, and maintain connection to a server or opponent.
Even the best gaming VPNs increase your ping which, in turn, causes your game to lag. Double VPN routes your traffic to a second server, raising your ping even higher.
One of our fastest Double VPNs, Surfshark, failed to connect to the online game server in our testing. In the image below, we registered a ping in the excess of 100ms when attempting a connection.
We were unable to get past the loading screen with Double VPN enabled.
Double VPN’s limited server coverage may force you to matchmake in a region far away from your real location. This would further worsen your lag, potentially causing you to disconnect from your game entirely.
3Torrenting & P2P Activity
Double VPN routes your traffic through two VPN servers before accessing the torrenting swarm. This significantly reduces both your download and upload speed which are essential for torrenting larger files.
We tried torrenting with NordVPN’s multi-hop feature and recorded an average speed of 5.5 MiB/s. This is a 15% decrease from NordVPN’s already middling torrenting speeds.
NordVPN’s Double VPN greatly reduced our download speed.
It’s not impossible to torrent on NordVPN’s Double VPN feature but there are faster alternatives available.
It is also unlikely that both of your VPN servers are optimized for P2P traffic and configured in a way to allow these types of connections.
A top torrenting VPN can conceal your IP address from the torrent swarm, encrypt your P2P traffic, and hide your torrenting activity from your ISP without sacrificing your torrenting speeds.