What Is SoftEther? (Complete Guide)

Last Updated: June 2, 2021

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an important tool for online safety and privacy. This technology makes it possible to transmit data traffic securely using secure servers. VPNs also help unblock restricted content online. Today, there are so many VPN providers available on the market.

All VPNs use sets of instructions or protocols in establishing a secure virtual network. These protocols have different capabilities, and some are more effective than others.

This article will look at a VPN protocol that started as a school project and how it’s being compared with some of the best, like OpenVPN. SoftEther is relatively new, but it already has an outstanding reputation.

If you’re familiar with VPN protocols, you’ve probably come across SoftEther at some point. However, if you’re not, stick with us to find out what SoftEther is all about. In this article, we’ll give you an in-depth look at this protocol, how it functions, its strengths and weaknesses, as well as how it performs in comparison to other VPN protocols.

What Is SoftEther?

SoftEther is a free, open-source VPN software. It was initially developed at the University of Tsukuba as a master’s project. However, it was released to the public in 2014. There are two sides to SoftEther. On one end, there is the SoftEther VPN Protocol which secures client-to-server communications while also providing high-speed connections. And on the other side is the SoftEther VPN Server which allows you to use several VPN protocols such as SoftEther, IPSec, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, and SSTP.

SoftEther uses its proprietary “SoftEther Bridge” to facilitate client-to-server and site-to-site communications. It is very secure and uses military-grade AES-256 encryption, as well as RSA-4096. These encryption keys are some of the best in use and are considered uncrackable. SoftEther also supports RSA certificate authentication and IPv4/IPv6 dual-stacking. Its security features prevent several threats, such as Man-in-the-Middle attacks.

The protocol is capable of bypassing firewalls with SSL-VPN Tunneling through HTTPS. To ensure you remain anonymous online, SoftEther doesn’t use static IP addresses. Instead, it uses its built-in dynamic-DNS and NAT-traversal functions. SoftEther also supports Deep-inspect packet logging.

Apart from its security and privacy features, SoftEther also provides fast connections. The developers say that they developed the protocol to focus on high performance and throughput. SoftEther’s throughput can reach speeds of up to 900Mbps, which is a lot faster than PPTP and OpenVPN.

It is available through a third-party application, and it is compatible with major operating platforms such as Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, and Linux. Now let’s discuss how SoftEther works.

How Does SoftEther Work?

SoftEther VPN protocol facilitates secure communications between you and the VPN server. It creates an encrypted tunnel to secure any traffic data being transmitted. The protocol allows for client-to-server and site-to-site communications. To facilitate that, it uses the SoftEther Bridge.

In terms of encryption, decryption, and authentication, SoftEther uses several processes based on OpenSSL. It uses high-standard encryption protocols such as RC4, AES, DES, SHA, Triple-DES, and MDS. SoftEther also provides several options for user authentication. All these help ensure the security of the protocol.

The SoftEther VPN protocol is available as software, so you’ll need to install the SoftEther VPN client. Even if you’re already subscribed to a VPN service, you’ll need the software. The software provides several incredible features such as:

Internet Connection Maintenance Function

This function comes in handy if you need the SoftEther client to maintain a VPN connection that matches the SoftEther VPN Server connection.

Voice Guide Function

This feature explains the processes of the software through a voice guide. If you’re new to SoftEther, this can make things a tad easier for you to understand. You simply have to select “Normal Voice Guide” in the “Voice” section of the client manager.

Simple Mode/Normal Mode

This is another thoughtful feature that makes SoftEther VPN Client Manager easy to use. Normal mode is the default setting of the app. Simple Mode would make the interface less complicated if you are a newbie or prefer it simpler.

Setting SoftEther varies slightly across operating platforms, but generally, it is easy to set up and use.

Advantages of SoftEther VPN Protocol

SoftEther is an advanced modern VPN protocol that has considered the shortcomings of other protocols and tried to improve on them. SoftEther has several advantages such as:

Security

SoftEther offers some of the best security systems through encryption and authentication processes. So far, none of its processes have been cracked or manipulated, making its connections very secure. 

Multi-Platform Support

SoftEther works on major platforms and works perfectly on all of them, unlike other VPN protocols that perform better on one platform than another. For example, SSTP works perfectly on Windows devices, but other platforms may experience issues. Also, SoftEther is easy to set up across all platforms, and they have similar setup processes.

High-Speed Connections

It is common to find out that certain VPN protocols are slower because of their levels of security. However, that is not the case with SoftEther. The protocol remains very fast despite its robust security system.

Superb Firewall Bypassing Ability

Firewalls and server administrators can detect and block VPN connections, depending on the kind of port the VPN protocol uses. However, SoftEther uses port 443, which gives it the ability to easily get past firewalls without being blocked.

Disadvantages of SoftEther Protocol

SoftEther is almost a perfect VPN protocol. It’s tough to find flaws with this protocol, but here are a few disadvantages:

Availability on VPN Services

Despite SoftEther’s outstanding capabilities, it is still considered a new protocol in the tech world, and at the moment, only a few VPN providers offer access to the protocol.

Device Support

SoftEther is yet to have built-in support on operating systems and devices. Although certain VPN providers use the protocol and are available on most platforms, you may have to install SoftEther VPN Client software.

SoftEther VPN Protocol Versus Other VPN Protocols

It is always a good idea to compare VPN protocols. Such comparisons help you understand what makes one better than the other, and it also helps you decide what protocol works for you. So let’s compare SoftEther with some other VPN protocols:

SoftEther vs. L2TP/IPSec

In terms of security, both protocols use 256-bit encryption and complex ciphers. However, SoftEther is more secure because it also offers support for SSL 3.0. It is also open-source, and many users trust open-source protocols more. Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing has also fueled speculations that the NSA has compromised L2TP/IPSec to grant them easy access when they want. So far, there’s still no evidence to corroborate that.

SoftEther is also more stable than SoftEther because it uses port 443, which isn’t easily blocked by firewalls. On the other hand, L2TP/IPSec can be blocked if port 500 and IP protocols 50 and 51 are detected.

SoftEther VPN protocol is hands-down faster than L2TP/IPSec. L2TP is slower because it uses the double encapsulation feature, and it takes longer to create a secure VPN tunnel.

The only major advantage L2TP/IPSec has over SoftEther is in terms of device support. It has built-in support on most platforms, and it is very easy to set it up. More VPN providers use L2TP/IPSec protocol. 

SoftEther vs. OpenVPN

SoftEther offers the same top-level encryption and data protection OpenVPN has. Also, both protocols are open-source, and as we mentioned earlier, users trust open-source protocols more. It is really hard to find any significant difference between the two, apart from the fact that OpenVPN is older than SoftEther.

In terms of speed, SoftEther has a throughput of over 900 Mbps, while OpenVPN’s throughput is about 100Mbps. The developers of SoftEther claim that the protocol is 13 times faster than OpenVPN.

It is also important to note that SoftEther has features that OpenVPN doesn’t offer, such as Virtual DHCP function, packet filtering, multi-tenants support, config file handwriting, and NAT traversal function.

Additionally, SoftEther and OpenVPN allow users to use their servers. The SoftEther VPN server supports multiple protocols such as SoftEther, SSTP, L2TP/IPSec, IPSec, and even OpenVPN. Meanwhile, the OpenVPN server is only capable of running the OpenVPN custom protocol.

In terms of platform compatibility, both protocols are available on the same platforms, but SoftEther often requires additional software. SoftEther has an easier setup than OpenVPN. However, more VPN providers use the OpenVPN protocol than the SoftEther Protocol, and this is because OpenVPN has been around longer than SoftEther.

Generally, SoftEther & OpenVPN are very outstanding VPN protocols, but if you’d like a more modern, lightweight, fast, and secure protocol, then SoftEther is the one for you.

Conclusion

SoftEther is a highly efficient, free, open-source VPN software that works as a VPN protocol and a VPN server capable of running several protocols. Although it’s one of the newest VPN protocols, people recognize it more because of its powerful encryption and fast speeds. It is better than most VPN protocols, but many VPN providers don’t offer its services yet.