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vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

What Is Double VPN (Multi-Hop) and Should You Use It in 2024?

Kelvin Kiogora Updated on 20th February 2024 Cybersecurity Researcher

A double VPN (also called multi-hop) is an advanced VPN feature that encrypts your traffic twice, providing extra protection when handling highly-sensitive data. Routing your data through a single VPN server is usually enough to keep your online activity confidential. However, certain professions and companies dealing with classified information may require an additional layer of security.

Not many VPNs offer this advanced security feature. And those that do have complicated configurations. I tested multiple VPNs that double-encrypt your data and found only a few that are easy to use and won't decrease your connection speed by a massive amount.

Based on my findings, I recommend Private Internet Access. It emerged as the winner because it uses a VPN-proxy combo to conceal your IP address and keep your data safe without any complicated setup. It also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee that lets you try PIA risk-free. If you don’t like it, the VPN will give you a 100% refund. Editors' Note: Private Internet Access and this site are in the same ownership group.

Get Double VPN Protection Now

Short on Time? Here Are the Best VPNs with Double VPN in 2024

  1. Private Internet Access — Routes your traffic through 2 locations with military-grade encryption and server obfuscation to combat the ever-increasing threats to your online privacy. Plus, you can try it free for 30 days using its money-back guarantee.
  2. Proton VPN — Sends your traffic through its highly secure servers in privacy-friendly countries for maximum data protection but has no live customer support.
  3. hide.me — Allows you to choose your preferred entry and exit servers for more control over your virtual location, but its plans are a bit expensive.

What is Double VPN (Multi-Hop)?

With a VPN, an encrypted tunnel is created between your computer and the VPN server. Your data is protected, and your IP address changes based on the server location the VPN connects to. A double VPN adds another secure tunnel and VPN server to the equation.

Ideally, all your traffic is then encrypted and re-routed through both these secure tunnels consecutively. This is known as VPN server cascading or chaining — the core idea behind double VPNs.

Multi-Hop VPNs are another form of VPN server cascading and have become synonymous with double VPNs. With a multi-hop VPN, you aren’t restricted to just two simultaneous VPN connections but can actually have multiple VPN connections at the same time. However, this may significantly slow down your device.

True to its name, a multi-hop VPN sends your traffic hopping through multiple servers before it exits onto the public internet. Instead of two servers, your traffic can pass through three or four servers — each additional server adds a new layer of encryption and another IP address.

2 Types of multi-hop VPNs

  1. Cascade: Uses one primary VPN service and two or more of the service’s VPN servers. At every hop, your IP is changed, and your data is decrypted and re-encrypted before being sent along.
  2. Nested chain: Two or more different VPN services are used, with an assortment of locations. Even though this offers more robust protection, the setup is complex and requires running one VPN on top of another.

Some VPNs, such as Private Internet Access, use a server and proxy combination to route your traffic through 2 hops. In this case, the VPN encrypts your traffic and sends it to the server. The server decrypts the traffic, masks your IP, and sends it to the proxy, which doesn’t add encryption.

Instead, it changes your IP again and sends it to the destination website, which only sees the proxy IP. The server-proxy combination keeps your traffic private, but it’s simpler and slightly faster since it encrypts your data once.

Is Double VPN Necessary or Is It Overkill?

It largely depends on what you need it for. There are some circumstances where the extra security and privacy a double VPN offers can be highly beneficial:

  • Safe access to websites: You can use a double VPN for YouTube, Facebook, or WhatsApp when traveling to countries with strict geoblocks, like China, and browse without limitations. Just note that non-government-approved VPNs are banned in China, so familiarize yourself with the country's rules and regulations before visiting.
  • Political activism: Being involved in political work can place a target on your back, so keeping your identity safe is essential. Since a double or chain VPN masks your IP address and encrypts your data multiple times, it's harder for anyone to monitor or track you.
  • Journalism: For journalists working on sensitive stories, there’s always a risk of censorship, sabotage, and personal harm. A double VPN provides the additional security and privacy you need to keep your personal information (and those of your sources) confidential.
  • Public WiFi: Even though a singular VPN can usually protect your privacy while browsing using free hotspots, a double or multi-hop VPN ensures hackers and spies can't get their hands on your data.

For the average user, a multi-hop VPN is neither necessary nor worth the typical performance tradeoffs. A standard, single-hop VPN with strong encryption, DNS leak protection, and other privacy tools (malware protection, ad blocker, etc.) will provide plenty of security. A premium VPN with impressive speeds, like ExpressVPN, is a better alternative for lag-free streaming, gaming, and torrenting.

What Are The Advantages of Double VPN?

The most significant benefit of a double VPN is that it gives you stronger security and better privacy. Below are other advantages of a double VPN:

  • Added anonymity: Anyone monitoring the traffic on your home network will only see the first connection to the VPN server but will not know the IP address of your destination. Additionally, the second VPN server will not know your real IP address since it will be hidden by the first VPN server. Even if this second VPN server is compromised, there is virtually no way for your traffic to be traced back to you.
  • Protects against sophisticated attacks: Double VPN can protect you against correlation attacks in which the metadata of incoming and outgoing traffic is processed to reveal your IP. The multiple hops from server to server provide layers of anonymity that help protect your online identity. With every hop, the new VPN server only gets the previous VPN server’s IP address.
  • Virtually uncrackable security: Your traffic is encapsulated with an additional layer of encryption for each hop it makes. No traffic, even if leaked, can be read or correlated with incoming traffic that may be observed.
  • Bypassing tough geoblocks: The ability to bounce traffic between servers in different geographical locations greatly benefits anyone wishing to get around geo-restrictions. For example, if you connect to a server in Israel and then through a second server in the US, anyone watching your traffic in China will think you’re accessing Israeli sites, and anyone doing similarly in the US will think you are in Israel.
  • Internet freedom: A double VPN is also helpful if you are in a country that only allows connections to a domestic IP address. First, connect to a server in that country. Then select another server outside the country through which your traffic will exit.

What Are The Disadvantages of Double VPN?

Despite its superior security and privacy, a double VPN configuration has some drawbacks that can make it unsuitable for everyday use, including:

  • Expensive: Double VPNs are usually only offered by the most comprehensive, top-level VPN packages. These VPN options also tend to be the most costly.
  • Compromise speeds: There is almost always a significant drop in speed when using a double VPN. Your traffic is encrypted and decrypted with each VPN server hop, and the geographic distance between servers is often large.
  • Limited server choice: Most double VPNs don't allow you to choose your entry and exit server locations. Even if they do, the choice is usually limited.
  • Resource-intensive: Since it has to encrypt and decrypt your data twice, a double VPN puts a huge toll on your processor. This may lead to reduced performance and quickly drain your battery.

If you choose to go with a VPN offering chained VPN connections, it's important to understand that not every VPN provider offers a fully encrypted cascade.

Many providers offering a double VPN will just forward your traffic to another VPN server without an added layer of encryption. You'll still be vulnerable to the traffic correlation attacks mentioned above. That's why it's vital to ask VPN providers exactly how their double VPN works.

Best VPNs With Double VPN — Full Analysis (Updated in 2024)

Not all double VPNs offer the same level of security. After testing 30+ providers, I found only a few that help you avoid surveillance and tracking, making them less vulnerable and more secure.

With my list of top-rated VPNs, you'll have access to a double VPN and excellent privacy protection tools. Plus, they won't take a massive toll on your speed and are easy to set up. I also confirmed that they all have a reliable money-back guarantee, so you can try them confidently.

1. Private Internet Access — Easy VPN-Proxy Combo Setup for Top Online Privacy

Editors' Note: Private Internet Access and this site are in the same ownership group.
  • The multi-hop feature is straightforward to activate and use
  • A kill switch and IP/DNS leak protection prevents accidental data exposure
  • MACE ad blocker stops ads, trackers, and malicious websites
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections to secure all your devices
  • Can unblock: Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, and more

To activate PIA’s multi-hop feature, simply go to Settings and select the Multi-hop tab. Choose between Shadowsocks and SOCKS5 and configure the proxy. Click on “Ok” and then choose your preferred server. Your traffic will be routed through your selected server and the proxy. When I tested PIA, I found Shadowsocks gave me the fastest speeds. This is because Shadowsocks isn't available in all locations, a strategy used to minimize latency caused by multiple hops between the user and VPN server.

Screenshot of PIA settings panel showing the Multi-Hop feature and the option to choose between Shadowsocks and SOCKS5 proxy

The proxy also obfuscates your connection, hiding the fact that you’re using a VPNOne of the biggest benefits of using a VPN-proxy combo is you get an added layer of security without the massive drop in speed you can expect from a double VPN. Even though the VPN only encrypts your data once, it uses military-grade (AES 256-bit) encryption making it impossible for anyone to know what you're doing online.

On top of that, a reliable kill switch disconnects you from the internet should the VPN drop. This ensures your real location will be kept secret. You can activate the Advanced Kill Switch, blocking all traffic until PIA is connected. I also tested for DNS, WebRTC, and IP leaks and detected none.

The VPN directly handles your DNS requests without any third-party exposure. The connection between you and the PIA server is encrypted and authenticated, so hackers, marketers, and ISPs can't access your data.

I was concerned when I discovered the VPN is based in the US, the heart of the 5-Eyes Alliance, which has strict data-sharing and retention laws. However, PIA doesn't collect or store any information that can identify you as it follows a strict no-logs policy. Its privacy policy has been independently-audited and verified in court.

Long-term plans with the multi-hop feature are very pocket-friendly, starting at $2.19/month. I recommend the 2-year option, as you'll get 82% off your subscription.

Additionally, you can use PIA free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee. I requested a refund via 24/7 live chat, and the process was straightforward. I just needed to provide a reason for canceling, and my request was processed immediately. It took less than 3 days for the money to be paid back into my bank account.

May 2024 Update: PIA doesn't usually have deals or discounts (it's already so affordable), but right now you can get a new subscription for a crazy 82% off!

2. Proton VPN — Secure Core Servers in Remote Areas for Added Anonymity

  • 60+ double VPN servers in 20+ countries to avoid online surveillance and tracking
  • High-level encryptions, leak protection, and a kill switch to keep your data safe
  • Protect up to 10 devices simultaneously
  • Can unblock: Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, and more

Proton VPN’s double VPN routes your traffic through servers in countries with strong privacy laws. The Secure Core entry servers are in Sweden, Switzerland, and Iceland. This gives you more control over your virtual geolocation. Plus, it's based in Switzerland (outside the data-sharing pact of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliance) and adheres to a strict no-logs policy, increasing the security of your data.

Screenshot of Proton VPN showing some of the available double VPN server pairs.

Proton VPN allows you to choose from over 60 server pairs for increased data privacyIts double VPN is also compatible with WireGuard. This modern, lightweight VPN protocol is designed for safer and faster connection speeds. When I tested Proton VPN with Secure Core connected, my average speeds were 27.2 Mbps against 30 Mbps base speeds, representing a 9% drop. This was impressive, considering my traffic was traveling through 2 servers.

Enabling the feature is hassle-free. Click on the Secure Core tab and select Secure Core On. Scroll through the available server pair and click on the connect button.

The VPN is also compatible with Tor over VPN, which is handy if you need the highest level of protection. Tor over VPN routes your traffic through a VPN server and multiple anonymous Tor nodes, with the traffic undergoing encryption at each point. This makes it very difficult for anyone to know where your traffic is coming from or see what you’re doing online.

My only concern with Proton VPN is that it doesn’t offer live support. However, it has an extensive knowledge base that covers most of the issues you might encounter.

Proton VPN's cheapest plan is $4.49/month. I chose this option as it has all the features of shorter subscriptions but costs less.

The VPN also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to try Proton VPN risk-free. True to its word, the VPN refunded my money to my PayPal account within 5 days of making a refund request via email.

3. hide.me — Choose Your Double VPN Server Locations For Complete Geo-Control

  • Choose your entry and exit server locations to bypass geo-restrictions
  • 10 simultaneous connections for protection across multiple devices
  • AES 256-bit encryption and Stealth Guard leak protection to keep your data private
  • Can unblock: Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, and more

hide.me’s dynamic server selection gives you total control over your virtual location by allowing you to manually pick the entry and exit servers. This way you’re not limited to predetermined pairs. You get extra security without having to compromise on the country you want to connect to.

Screenshot of hide.me showing the option to pick entry and exit servers for Double VPN

Let the VPN pick your entry and exit servers for the best speed-security combinationLike PIA, it also uses AES encryption and an automatic kill switch to keep your location hidden no matter what. With 2,600 servers in 90 different countries, it’s an excellent choice for getting around geo-restrictions. When I tested hide.me with Stealth Guard enabled, I didn't detect any data leaks — my real IP address remained private.

Not only does hide.me have a reputable no-logs policy, but they are headquartered in Malaysia. This provides additional protection against hackers or ISP because the country is outside the 14-eyes alliance.

Enabling the double VPN feature can be done with a few simple steps. First, click on Location and navigate to the Multi-hop tab. From there, select Add Multi-hop and choose your desired entry and exit servers. After adding them, you will see a pair of servers appear on the screen. Finally, click on the pair and select connect to activate the double VPN feature.

hide.me subscriptions are a bit expensive. However, its long-term plan is available at only $2.69/month. I recommend the 12-month option for the best savings.

You can try hide.me for free using its 30-day money-back guarantee. You can simply request a refund if it doesn't meet your needs. I put this to the test by canceling via its 24/7 support service. The agent asked no questions, and they processed my claim within 8 days and refunded the money to my credit card.

Quick Guide: How to Set Up a Double VPN in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Get a VPN that supports Double VPN. I recommend PIA for its simplicity and fast speeds by routing your traffic through a server and proxy combo using military-grade encryption.
  2. Switch on the Multi-hop feature. While VPNs differ slightly, most follow a similar process. Go to "Settings," click "Multi-Hop," and choose your preferences. For example, select PIA's Shadowsocks for faster speeds.
  3. Start browsing securely. Now, connect to a server in your chosen location and surf the web anonymously.

What’s the Difference Between Double VPN and VPN Over VPN

The main difference between double VPN and VPN over VPN is the number of providers. Double VPN means you’re using 2 servers from the same provider. With VPN over VPN, you still connect to 2 servers, but they’re from different VPN providers. You basically run 2 VPNs at the same time, each connected to a different server.

Using 2 VPNs at the same time gives you a broader server selection. You’re not limited to the server pairs offered by one provider. You can pick any of the locations each VPN offers. This makes VPN over VPN a better choice when you want extra privacy and control over your virtual geolocation.

Moreover, utilizing VPN over VPN does not impose a restriction on the number of providers you can use. You can opt for as many as you desire, provided you have sufficient bandwidth. However, it's important to note that this approach can considerably decrease your internet speeds.

VPN over VPN is theoretically safer than double VPN because different companies own each server. Even if the government compels one provider to hand over data about your online activity, you’re still safe since they don’t have access to the other server. It is even more secure when using providers based in different countries.

A major drawback of using a VPN over VPN is that the 2 VPNs need to be compatible. Otherwise, they’ll interfere with each other and block your connection. This is not a problem with a double VPN since it’s a built-in feature. You can work around the compatibility problem by installing one VPN on your router and another on your internet-connected device. However, this can be complicated, and some VPNs may not work with routers.

Another disadvantage is that it is generally more expensive than a double VPN. With a double VPN, you only need to subscribe to one VPN provider. VPN over VPN requires you to have subscriptions with 2 or more providers, which drives up the costs.

How to Set Up 2 VPN Providers Simultaneously

You can use 2 different VPN providers (a VPN on a VPN) for maximum security. However, the process is a bit complicated. Follow the general guide below to help you do it.

  1. Install a virtual machine on your computer/device: Get a copy of a free virtualization tool (e.g., Hyper-V, Virtual Box) and use it to install a second operating system on a virtual machine. The operating system of your computer and the virtual machine does not have to be the same.
  2. Install your VPN on both systems: Install your VPN on your computer/device and your virtual machine. As this may count as two devices according to your provider, make sure you have not exceeded the number of devices supported by your VPN.
  3. Establish your own double VPN: Launch your VPN and connect to a server in one country. Then turn on your virtual machine. If you use hide.me’s IP checker within a browser on your virtual machine, you should see the location of the first server as that of your IP. Next, launch the VPN on your virtual machine and choose a server in a different country.
  4. Use your double VPN: Any traffic sent from the virtual machine will now travel through the first VPN server and then the second VPN server.

Which is Safer, Double VPN or Onion Over VPN?

Both are very secure; it depends on what you need them for because they serve different purposes. Double VPN adds an extra layer of security to your connection by routing your traffic through 2 servers and encrypting it twice. Onion over VPN helps increase security when accessing the Onion (Tor) network.

Onion over VPN can refer to 2 different things: using a VPN with Onion or a unique VPN feature. You can simultaneously use a VPN with the Tor (Onion) browser to access Onion sites for increased online protection. It may also be called Tor over VPN — Tor being the browser used to enter the network. However, “Onion over VPN” can also be a built-in feature that some VPN providers offer for additional protection when using the Onion network.

Technically, using Onion with a VPN is more secure because you’re using the VPN with the Onion/Tor network, which already encrypts your data. Onion over VPN routes traffic through a VPN server and multiple Tor nodes, encrypting it over 4 times. This makes your connection more private and less vulnerable to traffic correlation attacks. The higher number of “hops” and nodes, the harder it becomes to tell where your traffic is coming from.

Using Onion over VPN also expands your options for selecting a VPN, as nearly any VPN can work alongside the Tor browser. This is in contrast to the double VPN feature, which is not offered by all VPN providers, thereby limiting your choices to only those that include this feature.

FAQs on Using a Double VPN

Is a double VPN safer than a standard VPN connection?

Generally, a double VPN offers higher privacy compared to a standard VPN connection. It fortifies your security by sending traffic through 2 servers, usually encrypting it twice. This makes it incredibly difficult for anyone to intercept or steal your data. In addition, each server only has a partial picture of your online activities.

Can I use 2 VPNs at the same time?

Yes, it’s possible to use 2 VPNs simultaneously if they are compatible. Otherwise, they’ll conflict with each other and interfere with the connection. You can work around this by installing one VPN on your router and another on your internet-connected device. However, a much simpler approach is to use one of the VPNs that already support double VPN.

What’s the difference between a double VPN and obfuscated servers?

Double VPN sends traffic through 2 servers, while obfuscated servers mask your VPN traffic, so it isn't easy to identify that you're using a VPN. Obfuscated servers are great for avoiding bandwidth throttling and bypassing VPN-blocking firewalls, like that of Netflix. However, if you're looking for additional data security and privacy, you're better off with a double VPN.

Can I use a double VPN on Android or iPhone?

Yes, it’s possible to use a double VPN on Android or iPhone. However, you need a VPN provider that offers the feature on mobile devices. If your preferred provider doesn’t offer the feature, you can use a VPN over VPN connection by installing one VPN on your router and another on your Android or iPhone.

​Get the Best VPN With Double VPN Today

Although double VPNs provide an extra layer of anonymity for those who require heightened protection, a single-server VPN from a reputable premium provider will exceed the requirements of the majority of users.

However, if you think a double VPN is necessary for your job or online activities, PIA is my top recommendation. It routes traffic through a VPN and a proxy server for extra privacy without massive slowdowns. It’s also backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try PIA without risk. If you’re not satisfied, you can claim a full refund.

To summarize, the best VPNs with double VPN are…

Rank
Provider
Our Score
Discount
Visit Website
1
medal
9.5 /10
9.5 Our Score
Save 82%!
2
9.2 /10
9.2 Our Score
Save 55%!
3
9.0 /10
9.0 Our Score
Save 73%!
Privacy Alert!

Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!

Your IP Address:

Your Location:

Your Internet Provider:

The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.

VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.

Visit ExpressVPN

We review vendors based on rigorous testing and research but also take into account your feedback and our affiliate commission with providers. Some providers are owned by our parent company.
Learn more
vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

About the Author

Kelvin is a writer and cyber-safety researcher at vpnMentor, whose expertise in the latest online security tools aids readers in keeping them safe from hackers and online snoops.

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