What Is Double VPN – (2020 Guide) + Statistics

It’s a feature that has been promoted by various VPNs over recent years but what is double VPN? And do you need twice the protection?  

Sometimes referred to as multi-hop or cascading VPN, it’s a service that is not offered by many. After some time collating the information, below is the list of the most popular VPNs and who offers double VPN as a service: 

Only 7 of the top 30 VPNs offer double VPN as a direct feature. Within that only NordVPN, Surfshark, ProtonVPN, Astrill and VPN.ac offer double VPN across all platforms and operating systems. 

Some of the VPNs featured here are looking into providing double VPN as an option in the future but as of now these are the most popular providers that offer this.  

It’s also worth noting that VPNs such as TorGuard do not offer a standard double VPN feature but do offer a VPN over stealth proxy which tunnels VPN traffic inside shadowsocks proxy server. 

Now, you might ask yourself why you need effectively twice the protection when VPN companies champion their encryption and security levels? It’s a good question and one that we’ll cover shortly but first let’s take a look at what exactly double VPN means to me and you. 

Let’s get started. 

what is double vpn

Double VPNs work by encrypting your traffic via a second (or multiple) VPN server(s) rather than just one as you would find on a normal connection. 

In real time a standard VPN connection would work as follows: 

  1. Your traffic is encrypted from your device / smartphone  
  1. This encrypted data is then sent to a VPN server 
  1. Once at the VPN server it is then decrypted  
  1. The decrypted data is then sent to the target website, stream, app, etc  

However, when a double VPN connection is used you can expect the connection to look as follows: 

  1. Your traffic is encrypted from your device / smartphone  
  1. This encrypted data is then sent to a VPN server 
  1. Once at the VPN server it is then encrypted again 
  1. The encrypted data is then sent to a second VPN server where it is decrypted 
  1. Your decrypted data is then sent to the target website, stream, app etc 

Is Double VPN secure?

The additional layer of security provides great protection but don’t make the mistake of thinking because it’s being sent to 2 or more servers then you get double the encryption. 

For example, if a VPN is running 256-bit encryption then using a double VPN does not mean you will have 512-bit encryption. It means that you will have the standard encryption levels afforded to you by the VPN of your choice but your data is re-routed twice rather than only once. This does mean however, that it will be twice as hard for any bad actors to decipher any of your data.  

That being said, using a double VPN will always be more secure than a single VPN connection if done correctly.  

The interesting thing about this setup is that it allows for more than 2 servers effectively making it a triple or quad VPN setup which is also known as VPN nesting or VPN server cascading which we’ll cover in another post shortly.  

Double VPN Benefits

Although you’re unlikely to need it (unless you’re a super criminal or spy), the benefits of using double VPN can be significant

Traffic is 100% anonymous

When you utilise an additional VPN server it makes it impossible for anyone, including your ISP, to see what you are doing online, they will only see that you are connected to a VPN.  

This is also the case if you are using multiple VPNs that you are using as only one of the providers will see the data at the start and the other will see the data at the end. Never at the same time.  

This also means that if one VPN is compromised then it will still not see either where the data has originated from or the end destination (provided the second VPN is not compromised either…).  

Avoid Government censorship

Countries such as China, Russia or UAE have a range of internet restrictions, censorship and targeted content. Double VPN can help with all of the above. By changing your server location twice, you can circumnavigate any restrictions while also maintaining anonymity from government spying. It’s a powerful tool for those who are faced with considerable danger when accessing anything that the government in question doesn’t want you to see. 

Double VPN Dawbacks

Although the benefits are significant, there is a major drawback when using a double VPN: 

Speed

It can come as no surprise that when you use twice the number of servers and encryption levels (and often to multiple countries or continents), the speeds you experience will be a great deal slower than single VPN connections which can sometimes be quicker (although uncommon). 

It also impacts on the amount of computing power required to send data to two or more servers which will have a serious effect on battery life as well. If you’re connection is poor to begin with then you may experience snail-like speeds on your devices so it’s important to start with. It’s up to you and your situation which you consider to be more important.  

Why use double VPN

For most people, this additional layer of protection won’t be necessary which is why the majority of VPNs don’t offer it directly as a feature mostly due to the notable drop in speeds.  

However, for those who have reason to be concerned about privacy such as those in countries with limited freedom of speech, investigative journalists or political activists then using a double VPN will be really beneficial.  

Of course, using a double VPN is not limited to journalists or activists but can be used by anyone but it is worth considering the benefits and drawbacks mentioned above and making a decision about the trade-offs.  

Which VPN should I use?

From the list above, NordVPN and Surfshark are really the only viable options. Both have solid features as well as double VPN, good speeds and come in at a decent price. For this feature I use NordVPN and you can find the review here or visit the site.  

Mutiple VPNs

If you want to go that extra step towards anonymity and privacy then you should also consider using 2 separate VPNs providers.

We’ve touched on this briefly but if (however unlikely) the VPN you are using is changes its policy and starts to keep logs then even if you are using the double VPN feature, your traffic will be visible and stored.  

A simple way around this is to use 2 VPN’s thus ensuring that if one is hacked then it will only partially see your data and be unusable