Users who wonder whether they can connect one VPN to another VPN think logically. If one VPN offers encryption and hiding of the real public IP address, adding another layer of protection would be more beneficial. We’ll spoil the answer a bit and tell you that they are on the right path. If the encryption breaks or the VPN service is hacked or decides to leak or sell data, it would only show data from the first server as that’s the first layer, which is encrypted anyway. Therefore, users would keep their privacy. However, there are some logistical, technical, financial, and performance downsides. We’ll explore them all as we answer, “can you VPN to a VPN?”
Is it possible to connect to two independent VPNs at once?
Yes, you can connect to two independent VPN services at once, but that will likely cause a lot of problems. If you installed two VPN software or applications on a desktop or mobile, then connected to one then the other, you would get routing errors, app crashing, slow or no Internet, and perhaps make them conflict and lose protection altogether. The reason for the inability to use two unaffiliated VPN servers at once lies in compatibility and technical capabilities.
The two VPN services likely use similar yet still individual VPN encryption, but employ distinct VPN protocols and have configured their VPN servers and VPN clients differently. Therefore, they are not meant to work in unison and will impact each other negatively. However, if you let VPN providers configure your connection, or if they already offer this service, you can use two VPNs simultaneously, i.e., connecting a VPN to a VPN would be possible. That feature is usually called Double VPN, Multi-Hop, or VPN chaining, depending on the specifics. We explain that next.
Can you connect one VPN to another compatible VPN?
Yes, you can connect one VPN to another VPN if they are compatible, i.e., configured to work together. The usage depends on what users want to achieve and how much of a speed loss they can suffer for increased security. You will typically see two types of connecting to two VPN (or more) servers:
- Double VPN. A process of connecting to two VPN servers between the source and destination, meaning your data is encrypted twice (or more, depending on the server number) before it gets to the destination. It may or may not involve VPN servers from the same provider.
- Multi-Hop or VPN chaining. A procedure of connecting to multiple VPN servers at once, routing data into inner and outer layers and bouncing traffic between VPN servers, commonly with one encryption. For compatibility and ease of use, VPN chaining usually employs servers from a single provider.
We will dive deeper into the processes in a moment. For now, you must understand that both methods cause Internet speed loss. We’re comparing that to a single encryption, one protocol, and a direct connection from the client to the VPN server. However, the security increases since your traffic is doubly encrypted (Double VPN) or hidden inside multiple layers under single encryption (Multi-Hop). In both cases, your real IP address is hidden by two or more public IP addresses of VPN servers.
How VPN to a VPN using Double VPN works
Most people use Double VPN to VPN to a VPN because of its versatility, ease of use, and balance between security and speed. We covered what is a Double VPN and how it works. It is an advanced VPN feature that routes your traffic through two VPN servers, doubly encrypting it between the source and the destination. However, the procedure can vary depending on what users need. Here are two common Double VPN methods that let you VPN to another VPN:
1. Cascade Double VPN
Cascade Double VPN, as the name implies, cascades two VPN servers from a single VPN service. Each VPN server provides an encryption layer and a new public IP address. In other words, your data is encrypted, decrypted, encrypted, and then decrypted again. Not all VPN providers have this service, and the customization varies.
For instance, some choose VPN servers automatically. That’s usually the case when their network isn’t vast or the interest in Double VPN is low. That is user-friendly but can be detrimental if the servers are not well-optimized or are too far away. This would decrease speed and increase latency. Other VPN servers let users configure the entry and exit points. That can happen in the client or via a command-line interface. That means users can choose two configured and compatible VPN servers that are close to each other, and near their real location. This option is the best-case scenario, as it lets users dictate the terms of Double VPN.
2. Nested chain Double VPN
Nested chain Double VPN is a variant that lets users sign up for multiple providers, and connect two independent VPN servers in different locations. This brings extra security if the first service sells data, the VPN server with data logs gets seized, or data leaks in another way. They would see the public IP address of the first server, and the traffic would still be encrypted. However, the two VPN servers must be set up to work together, more precisely one VPN on top of another.
Although the setup is usually complex and requires both providers to collaborate, there are simpler solutions. One noteworthy solution is using a VPS (virtual private server) on a virtual machine (VM). To achieve a nested chain Double VPN, you can install the first service on a computer or mobile. Then, install a VM on that device and set up another VPN server. All that’s left is to connect to the second server, and you get two tunnels and double encryption.
Using VPN chaining for servers or devices
Another way to connect two VPNs is VPN chaining or Multi-Hop. We have defined VPN chaining and distinguished it from Double VPN by the fact it connects to two or more devices concurrently with single encryption. Instead of several VPN servers, it uses a VPN proxy or proxy service or is configured to not encrypt data again on a server. Therefore, it’s a bit faster than Double VPN, but less secure.
However, like Double VPN, the method depends on the provider, and you’re encouraged to only use one. Some providers offer a VPN chaining/Multi-Hop service with several encryption layers. However, adding three or four servers doesn’t benefit regular users. It only makes sense to government agencies and people with sensitive data. After all, they must sacrifice speed for security.