Have you ever used a VPN and felt it’s still not safe to go on the internet? If you have, you’re not alone.
Some users consider basic VPN connections insufficient. Although they encrypt your traffic and mask your real IP address, they’re not completely failproof.
But that’s what advanced features are for — like a double or multi-hop VPN. Let’s take a deeper look into what makes it so special!
What is a double VPN?
Double VPN (or multi-hop) allows you to route your traffic through two remote servers in different locations. Conversely, a normal connection works with one server.
Depending on your service provider, you may be able to tailor your multi-hop route or select from a pre-configured list.
Either way, your IP address changes twice. As your traffic goes from the first to the second remote hardware, it passes through a secure tunnel encapsulated by another level of encryption.
Want to know the best part?
Hacking this type of connection is nearly impossible. It would require guessing two fake IPs and peeling away a double layer of military-grade encryption.
It’s also perfect for dodging censorship in restrictive countries.
How does double VPN work?
Multi-hop generally works like a normal VPN connection. The only difference is your traffic has to go through two remote servers before reaching the internet.
Here’s how it goes:
- Your VPN software establishes an encrypted tunnel for your traffic.
- Your data reaches the first server, replacing your IP with its own and creating another layer of encryption.
- The second remote server converts your double-encrypted data into plain text and ties its own IP to it.
- The target website responds to the second server’s IP, remaining clueless about your actual location.
- The process repeats itself in reverse as your traffic travels back to your device.
Here’s an illustration of a double VPN connection:
In theory, you can involve three or more servers with VPN chaining. However, your connection speed will plummet with each additional hop.
Should you use a double VPN?
You should use a double VPN only when you really have to prioritize your privacy and security.
For example, it’s a great tool for avoiding censorship in highly restrictive environments. You can never be too careful as an investigative journalist, an activist, or a whistleblower.
Additionally, many governments control the flow of information and news available to their citizens. You can rely on a double VPN to hide your tracks when accessing prohibited or blocked sites.
Multi-hop also comes in handy when you want to access content on platforms with sophisticated security systems. They can easily identify normal VPN connections.
Still, there are situations where a double VPN is definitely overkill.
It’s not suited for casual web browsing. Even on public Wi-Fi networks, a normal VPN will be more than enough.
Moreover, double VPN and high-bandwidth activities don’t mix. When gaming, streaming, and torrenting, using this feature can be counterproductive. It drives down internet connection speeds too much.
How to use a double VPN?
Here’s how to use a double VPN with Surfshark as an example:
1. Go to Surfshark’s site to subscribe and set up an account.
2. Install its Android VPN app.
3. Launch your VPN software.
4. Proceed to Locations.
5. Go to MultiHop.
6. If you prefer creating your double VPN route from scratch, select Create connection.
7. Pick a city or a country as your entry location.
8. Choose your exit location.
9. Tap Connect and you’re done!
The steps for Windows, Linux, iPhone, and Mac can vary, but they’re generally similar.
In a nutshell:
Multi-hop VPN hides your traffic behind two separate servers. As a result, it cloaks your real IP twice for greater privacy. Although it has many benefits, it’s not ideal for bandwidth-heavy activities.
So, what is double VPN really used for?
It’s a neat solution for resisting advanced surveillance and state-sponsored censorship. So if you’re a casual internet user, you most likely won’t appreciate it. But if you take risks as an activist, you’ll find it a reliable tool.