What Is Double VPN and Do You Need It?

As of now, in 2020, more than 52% of the global population is connected to the internet. However, as the internet advances, so do cybersecurity threats. Most internet users are now aware of the concept of Virtual Private Networks, the online security tools that shield them from the ever-increasing threats to their online privacy and security. But sometimes, security-minded people want more. If you’re familiar with the popular phrase: “In this world only the paranoid survive,” you’ll understand why some VPNs take a step forward in providing an extra layer of protection to the already existing one. It’s what they call Double VPN. Still in the dark? Then here’s every single thing you need to know about what a double VPN connection is, how it works, and if you really need it.

What is Double VPN and Do you Need It?

Double VPN – The Name Does Not Say it All

A VPN reroutes your data through a remote server, encrypting it in the process. Well, Double VPN is the same process, but instead of routing your traffic through one server, it does it through two.

It’s basically a hi-tech solution that allows you to encrypt your data, not once, but twice, as well as increase the level of anonymity you get when you’re regularly connected to a VPN. It’s quite simple, actually. 

The VPN forwards your data to a specific server of your choosing. Then the connection goes through another server in a different location before it eventually makes its way to the final destination. During the process, the VPN alters your IP address, encodes your traffic at the first stop, and encrypts it again at the second server. Double VPN Process

You might be familiar with a VPN’s standard encryption, 256-bit AES. Well, contrary to popular belief and misconceptions, the Double VPN feature isn’t what some expect. To shed some light on the matter, you must know that under no circumstance is an AES 256-bit encryption going to ‘double’ into 512-bit encryption.

It’s just not how it works. VPNs that offer this feature only apply the same levels of encryption to a user’s data traffic twice. This functionality is not offered by many VPN providers. But rest assured, if a VPN does offer that, it’ll make sure to advertise it front and center.

So far, two VPN providers are known to have such technology – NordVPN and SurfShark.

Benefits of Double VPN

Double VPN, Multi-hop, VPN chain, no matter what you call it, you’re getting the ultimate security you’ve been looking for. Aside from that, Double VPN has a couple of benefits you can get. Check them out below:

  • Double Encryption: As mentioned above, a regular VPN offers unbreakable encryption. But having your data encrypted twice, it makes it next to impossible to make sense of your data.
  • Full Anonymity: Once you connect to a VPN server, it alters your IP address and assigns you a temporary one. With Double VPN, the second server won’t be aware of your real IP. Instead, it changes the newly-assigned fake IP one more time.
  • No ISP Tracking: While using two VPN servers, there is absolutely no way for your ISP to monitor or track your online whereabouts. But they might figure out that you’re operating using a VPN.
  • Mix VPN protocols. By doing so, your data goes through another set of routing, which increases your protection.

One big benefit of Double VPN is that users become less susceptible to traffic correlation attacks. While using a regular VPN connection, a cybercriminal/attacker might be lurking around observing both ends of your communication. Hackers use it on Tor all the time.

This is what we call traffic correlation as the attacker tries to find patterns in your traffic to match the sent/received data to deanonymize you. With Double VPN, this becomes a hard task for such malicious online entities. Your already-scrambled data is re-encrypted again, which makes it very difficult to track.

That One Drawback

There’s no denying that such technology will affect you in a negative way as well. When your data passes through two servers instead of one, that creates a lengthier path for the traffic to travel.

It’s well-known that a VPN connection tampers with your internet speed. And if you’re getting double encryption, rest assured that the speed throttling is also doubled along the way. Double VPN exists to enhance your privacy and security, but let’s not forget that most of you use a VPN to bypass regional restrictions.

If that’s the case, then Double VPN is not a good option. We’ve tested the speed drop between a conventional VPN and Double VPN. Here are the results:

  • First, we’ll take a look at our connection without using a VPN server. No VPN Double VPN
  • Next, we connected to a regular VPN server. In this case, the traffic goes to a server in the United States. The speed dropped almost a lot. You can see approximately a 90% drop due to single encryption.Single VPN
  • Finally, let’s show you what happened to our connection the moment we used the Double VPN feature. The data here is flowing through both a US server and a Candian one.Double VPN

Double VPNs do offer the enhanced security you’re looking for, but there’s a price to that, also in double. Your speed is drastically lowered when you’re connected. So, set your priorities straight before you use this feature.

But there’s also a fix to that. If you can find an option where you get to choose VPN servers located in different cities in your country, this might lower the chance of getting terrible speeds, as shown above.

Setting Up a Double VPN Connection

You might think that using the Double VPN feature is a bit difficult, but in reality, it’s as easy as connecting to a normal VPN server. Let us guide you through it. Please note that we used NordVPN as an example as it’s one of the few providers that offer this service.

  1. First, you must sign up with the VPN provider to get access to its services.
  2. Next, download and install their VPN application on your device.
  3. Sign in with your credentials. This will take you to the VPN’s home screen.
  4. On the button left of the screen, you’ll find the Double VPN option.NordVPN Double VPN
  5. Next, click on the three dots next to the Double VPN feature to view the server list.Double VPN servers
  6. Finally, choose the server you wish to connect to, wait a few seconds for the VPN to establish a connection, and you’re done.Double VPN Connection Established

The Verdict – Do You Really Need It?

Our answer is definitely yes, but not all the time. Double VPN is not required for every type of online activities. While it might be useful to enhance your security and anonymize your online browsing, even more, it might do you more harm than good in other territories such as streaming or torrenting (Speed-wise).

Security and your freedom of speech are important. That’s why users like journalists working in regions with strict censorship laws might need it the most to cover up their trail through two encrypted servers.

As for torrenters and streamers, we don’t recommend the feature as it will not result in a good experience. You can settle for one encryption provided by a reputable VPN, and that’s it.

It might be enough to eliminate the risk of being exposed by your ISP as well as grant you excellent speeds.

Double VPN Explained – Final Thoughts

Double VPN is an important feature that a few VPNs offer. It offers additional protection to your online browsing activities. However, it’s only designed for those who are looking for that extra-extra layer of protection. Other than that, the feature throttles your internet a lot.

As we mentioned, a single server from a premium provider will go above and beyond to give you the security you need at fast speeds. You now know everything there is about Double VPN. If you have any more questions, kindly drop them in the comments below.

Tania Becker

Tania's work at Whatismyip.network revolves around covering the latest cybersecurity news. She has also written several guides on how to bypass regional restrictions.


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