An In-Depth Look at PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol

Miklos Zoltan

By Miklos Zoltan . 16 June 2024

Founder - Privacy Affairs

Justin Oyaro

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As a technology enthusiast and someone who values online privacy, I often explore various VPN protocols to understand their benefits and limitations.

One of the earliest VPN protocols I encountered is PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol).

While it has been largely overshadowed by more secure and advanced protocols in recent years, PPTP remains a notable part of VPN history.

In this article, I’ll delve into the details of PPTP, explaining its key features, how it works, and its advantages and disadvantages.

What is PPTP?

PPTP is one of the oldest VPN protocols, developed by a consortium led by Microsoft in the mid-1990s.

It was designed to encapsulate and encrypt Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) packets, making it possible to create secure connections over the internet.

PPTP gained popularity due to its simplicity and integration with Windows operating systems, making it a go-to choice for many early VPN implementations.

Key Features of PPTP

1. Simplicity:

PPTP is known for its straightforward setup and configuration. It is built into many Windows operating systems, which means users can quickly establish a VPN connection without needing additional software or complex configurations.

2. Speed:

Due to its relatively lightweight encryption, PPTP is capable of providing high-speed connections. This makes it suitable for applications where speed is more critical than security, such as streaming and basic browsing.

3. Wide Compatibility:

PPTP is supported by a wide range of devices and operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. This broad compatibility makes it accessible for many users.

How Does PPTP Work?

PPTP works by encapsulating PPP frames into IP packets for transmission over the internet. Here’s a step-by-step overview of how PPTP works:

1. Connection Establishment:

The client initiates a connection to the PPTP server using TCP port 1723. This connection sets up a control channel between the client and the server.

2. Authentication:

The client and server authenticate each other using PPP-based authentication methods, such as PAP (Password Authentication Protocol) or CHAP (Challenge Handshake Authentication Protocol).

3. Tunnel Creation:

Once authenticated, PPTP creates a GRE (Generic Routing Encapsulation) tunnel between the client and the server. This tunnel encapsulates the PPP frames, allowing secure data transmission over the internet.

4. Data Transmission:

Data is transmitted through the GRE tunnel. PPTP uses MPPE (Microsoft Point-to-Point Encryption) to encrypt the data, ensuring that it remains confidential during transit.

Advantages of PPTP

1. Easy to Set Up:

PPTP’s integration with Windows operating systems and its straightforward configuration process make it easy to set up and use, even for those with limited technical expertise.

2. Fast Connection Speeds:

Due to its lower encryption overhead, PPTP provides faster connection speeds compared to more secure VPN protocols. This makes it a good choice for activities where speed is more important than security.

3. Broad Compatibility:

PPTP is widely supported across various devices and operating systems, making it a versatile option for users with multiple devices.

Disadvantages of PPTP

1. Security Vulnerabilities:

One of the most significant drawbacks of PPTP is its weak security. MPPE encryption is not as robust as modern encryption standards like AES. PPTP has been subject to various security vulnerabilities over the years, making it less suitable for protecting sensitive data.

2. Obsolescence:

Due to its security weaknesses, many organizations and security experts recommend against using PPTP. Newer protocols like OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec, and WireGuard offer far superior security and are generally preferred.

3. Susceptibility to Blocking:

Because PPTP uses fixed ports (TCP 1723 and GRE), it can be easily blocked by network administrators and firewalls. This limits its effectiveness in restrictive network environments.

My Personal Experience with PPTP

In my early days of exploring VPNs, I found PPTP to be an accessible and straightforward option.

Setting up a PPTP VPN on my Windows machine was quick and easy, and the connection speeds were impressive.

However, as I became more aware of the importance of robust security, I transitioned to more secure VPN protocols like OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec.

While PPTP served its purpose for basic tasks, its security limitations ultimately led me to seek more secure alternatives.

VPNs That Use PPTP

Although PPTP is not as commonly recommended today, some VPN providers still offer PPTP as an option for users who prioritize speed and ease of setup over security. Here are a few VPNs that support PPTP:


ExpressVPN supports a variety of VPN protocols, including PPTP. While it emphasizes the use of more secure protocols like OpenVPN and IKEv2, PPTP is available for users who need it for specific purposes.


PureVPN offers PPTP among its supported protocols. It provides users with the flexibility to choose the protocol that best suits their needs, whether it’s for speed or compatibility.


VyprVPN includes PPTP in its list of supported protocols. It also offers more secure options like OpenVPN and WireGuard for users who prioritize security.

Did You Know?

Historical Significance: PPTP was one of the first VPN protocols designed specifically for creating secure connections over the internet, paving the way for the development of more advanced protocols.

Microsoft’s Role: PPTP was developed by a consortium led by Microsoft, which is why it is deeply integrated into Windows operating systems.

Legacy Protocol: Despite its security shortcomings, PPTP is still used in some legacy systems and specific scenarios where speed and ease of setup are more critical than security.


PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol) played a significant role in the early days of VPN technology, providing an easy-to-use solution for secure internet connections.

Its simplicity, speed, and wide compatibility made it a popular choice. However, the protocol’s security vulnerabilities have led to its decline in favor of more secure alternatives.

While PPTP may still be useful in certain scenarios, it is generally advisable to use more modern and secure VPN protocols to ensure the highest level of protection for your online activities.

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