What is the WireGuard protocol?

What is the WireGuard protocol?

WireGuard - An open source VPN protocol that uses state-of-the-art cryptography and aims to outperform existing VPN protocols such as IPsec and OpenVPN. Initially, the WireGuard protocol was released for the Linux kernel, but now it is cross-platform and can be deployed on almost all popular operating systems. Although WireGuard is still under development, it can already be considered one of the most secure, fast and easy to use VPN solutions.

Features and Specifications

The codebase of the WireGuard protocol is significantly lighter than most VPN protocols (at least the open source ones). It is approximately 4,000 lines of code, while strongSwan/IPsec and OpenVPN/OpenSSL are 500,000 and 600,000 lines of code, respectively.

Compact codebase provides easy checking for security vulnerabilities. A complete audit of WireGuard can be performed by a single person, while auditing huge IPSec and OpenVPN codebases is a challenge even for a large team of experts. In addition, due to the relatively small code base of WireGuard, the attack surface that can be exploited by attackers is minimal.

WireGuard Security and Encryption

Modern cryptographic methods used in WireGuard consist of the following protocols and cryptographic primitives:

  • ChaCha20 for symmetric encryption, authenticated with Poly1305

  • Curve25519 for ECDH

  • SipHash24 for hash table keys

  • BLAKE2s for hashing

  • HKDF for key generation

The use of high-speed cryptographic primitives and the fact that the WireGuard protocol runs inside the Linux kernel ensures secure and high-speed networking. Due to its good performance, WireGuard is suitable for both small devices such as smartphones and busy backbone routers.

Another notable feature of the WireGuard protocol is that every few minutes there are handshakes during which new keys are transmitted. This is necessary to ensure the most secure and reliable data transfer. Handshakes depend on time, not on the content of the data packet. There is a built-in mechanism that ensures that the latest keys and handshakes are up to date and revise them if necessary. This mechanism uses a separate packet queue for each host, thereby minimizing packet loss during handshakes and providing continuous performance for users.

In other words, you establish a connection once, and then everything is processed automatically. You do not need to disconnect and reconnect or initialize your connection. Just enjoy a reliable and uninterrupted VPN connection!

WireGuard advantages and disadvantages


  • Open source

  • Compact codebase

  • Easy to check

  • Using modern cryptography

  • Maximum security

  • High connection speed


  • Still developing and expanding

  • May be blocked by network administrators

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