ExpressVPN

5 Best VPNs for L2TP/IPsec

As we discuss in some detail in this article, the L2TP/IPSec VPN protocol/encryption method is a highly secure means of connecting a personal computer or device to a VPN server. Although these days OpenVPN is usually the preferred method, thanks to the fact that it is lighter (IPsec encryption encapsulates data twice, making it less efficient than SSL solutions such as OpenVPN), and  it can be configured to use any port, including TCP port 443 which is used for standard SSL (shttp://) traffic (unlike L2TP which must use UDP port 500 and is thus easier to block), L2TP/IPSec is built into just about every internet enabled device and operating system ever built.

What this means is that it’s fairly easy to set up L2TP/IPsec on any platform without the need to install any third party software. This is unlike OpenVPN, which is native to no platform and always requires a third party client. In addition to this, until around the beginning of this year (2013), neither Android (unrooted) nor iOS supported OpenVPN, although this has changed with the appearance of OpenVPN for Android and OpenVPN Connect (iOS). Unrooted Android users with versions of the operating system lower than 4.0 are still out of luck however.

For this reason most (but certainly not all) VPN providers support L2TP/IPsec, and provide guides on how to set it up on various platforms. Although not difficult, IPsec requires that a ‘pre-shared encryption key’ be entered during the setup process, which is often a long string that includes a mix of capital and non-capital letters and numbers, and which can be particularly tricky to enter on mobile devices (we currently have guides for setting up L2TP/IPsec available for Windows 7, Windows 8 and Samsung Galaxy S3 (Android 4.1).

Best L2TP VPN Summary

Rank Provider Starting Price Grade Link

1

ExpressVPN_Logo $8.32/mo Read Review > Visit Site >

2

$6.99/mo Read Review > Visit Site >

3

logo $7.00/mo Read Review > Visit Site >

3

logo $4.95/mo Read Review > Visit Site >

5

logo $9.95/mo Read Review > Visit Site >
Winner

ExpressVPN

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  • PROS
  • Easy-to-use software
  • Excellent speeds
  • Good customer service
  • CONS
  • Bit pricey, but worth it for the features

With apps across all platforms and software that blows the competition away, ExpressVPN secures our vote as the L2TP VPN. The download speeds are impressive and the software is straightforward to use. We really love some of the features like automatic protocol selection and server location recommendations.

ExpressVPN boasts round-the-clock customer support and an ultra reliable VPN network spanning 33 countries and hundreds of servers. They are also adding new locations all the time. These guys have done a pretty awesome job in building what we believe to be the best VPN service out there.

The pricing is not the cheapest, but you do get what you pay for. ExpressVPN also offers unlimited bandwidth and supports your mobile device (Android/iOS) for no extra charge.

Click the button below to sign up to ExpressVPN now! With their 30-day money back guarantee you really can’t go wrong.

Try out the best L2TP VPN today!

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30 day moneyback guarantee

2nd place

CyberGhost

  • PROS
  • No logs
  • Fast
  • Great VPN client with internet kill switch (OpenVPN only)
  • Good free service (OpenVPN only)
  • 30 day free trial
  • P2P: yes
  • CONS
  • Does not accept Bitcoin

This groovy Romanian VPN provider offers a very good free service, although unfortunately for this article it is only available using CyberGhosts’ OpenVPN only client. Premium users however (including those taking advantage of the very generous 30 day free trial), can also use L2TP/IPsec if they wish. The setup guides are easily found using the well implemented search function in the Help & FAQ section, and are well-illustrated with screenshots. These guides are available for Android, iOS,  OSX and Linux. CyberGhost otherwise offers a great ‘no logs’ service that we are fans of, with good download speeds.

 

» Visit CyberGhost


3rd place

Kepard

logo

  • PROS
  • Great VPN client (especially for Android)
  • Logs only kept for 3 days
  • 15 day free trial
  • P2P: yes
  • CONS
  • Logs kept for 3 days
  • Not amazingly fast

We can’t really make up our minds about Kepard. On the one hand we love it’s easy to use mult-protocol Windows client (as well as its OpenVPN only Android app), 15-day free trial, and generally high level of service, while on the other hand we aren’t very keen on its policy of retaining logs for three days. Of course, three days is not long (probably not long enough to pose a risk to most users) it is still three days too long in our view. The multi-protocol client really is a joy to use, and makes switching between OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec and PPTP a breeze, although it does leave us wondering why Windows users would bother using anything other than OpenVPN. Kepard also supplies manual configuration guides (with accompanying screenshots) for setting up L2TP/IPsec in Windows (XP, Vista & 7), Linux, OSX, Android and iOS.

 

» Visit Kepard


4th place

ibVPN

  • PROS
  • Cheap
  • No logs (but many caveats)
  • Accepts payments via Bitcoins
  • P2P: yes
  • CONS
  • Painfully slow on a regular basis
  • Many caveats to ‘no logs’ claim

Despite good initial impressions, ibVPN disappointed in longer term use thanks to some appalling connection speeds that regularly made the service unusable. Add to this that we later realised the promise of a ‘no logs’ service needed to be taken with a fair a pinch of salt (although it is nowhere near as misleading as some other provider’s similar claims), and it’s fair to say that we are no longer fans of ibVPN. That said, they are the cheapest service we have yet reviewed, and provide good support for L2TP/IPsec. In addition to step-by-step guides with screenshots for Windows (XP, Vista, 7 & 8), OSX, iOs and Android, ibVPN has multi-protocol clients for Windows and iOS (the iOS app comes with a 15-day free trial), which allow easy changing to L2TP/IPsec. As with Kepard’s client though, we are not sure how much use this really is for most users.

 

» Visit ibVPN


5th place

IPVanish

  • PROS
  • Fast
  • Lots of server locations
  • CONS
  • No logs’ policy is bollocks
  • P2P: no

We initially thought that IPVanish, a fellow US based company, might be a match for the mightily Private Internet Access with its neat multi-protocol (including L2TP/IPsec) Windows and OSX (10.6.8+) clients, presence in over 90 countries, fantastic speedtest.net results (particularly on the upload speeds), and  stated ‘no logs’ policy. However, within 48 of using its service we received a cease and desist on pain of termination of service email regarding our use of P2P torrent downloading, which we feel makes a joke of IPVanishes ‘no logs’ claims, and removes all trust in their service. In addition to the multi-protocol clients, IPVanish supplies comprehensive visual guides for setting up L2TP/IPsec in Windows (XP, Vista, 7 & 8), OSX, iOS and Android.

 

» Visit IPVanish


Conclusion

Admittedly, although a good technology, L2TP/IPsec is losing ground to OpenVPN, and many of our favourite VPN providers do not support it (usually offering PPTP support for devices that are incompatible with OpenVPN). Of those that do, Private Internet Access and CyberGhost have our full endorsement and are considered the best L2TP VPN services. Those who like the idea of a multi-protocol client, or who are attracted to the 15 day free trial, should certainly give Kepard a look, but for the reasons stated we think that ibVPN and IPVanish should be given a miss.


And here’s the summary once more:

Best VPNs for L2TP/IPsec Summary

Rank Provider Starting Price Grade Link

1

ExpressVPN_Logo $8.32/mo Read Review > Visit Site >

2

$6.99/mo Read Review > Visit Site >

3

logo $7.00/mo Read Review > Visit Site >

3

logo $4.95/mo Read Review > Visit Site >

5

logo $9.95/mo Read Review > Visit Site >

Pete runs Best VPN and wants to get detailed information to the readers. He is dedicated to being the best and providing the highest quality at anything he does. You can also find him on Twitter or Google+

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