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Original author(s)Jason A. Donenfeld
Developer(s)Jason A. Donenfeld
Initial release2015; 9 years ago (2015)[1]
Stable release
1.0.20220627[2] Edit this on Wikidata / 27 June 2022; 2 years ago (27 June 2022)
Written inC (Linux, FreeBSD kernel modules, NetBSD, OpenBSD kernel drivers, Windows kernel drivers), Go (userspace implementation)
Operating system
TypeVirtual private network
Licensevarious free and open-source
Websitewww.wireguard.com Edit this at Wikidata

WireGuard is a communication protocol and free and open-source software that implements encrypted virtual private networks (VPNs).[5] It aims to be lighter and better performing than IPsec and OpenVPN, two common tunneling protocols.[6] The WireGuard protocol passes traffic over UDP.[7]

In March 2020, the Linux version of the software reached a stable production release and was incorporated into the Linux 5.6 kernel, and backported to earlier Linux kernels in some Linux distributions.[4] The Linux kernel components are licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2; other implementations are under GPLv2 or other free/open-source licenses.[5]

The name WireGuard is a registered trademark of Jason A. Donenfeld.[5]


WireGuard uses the following:[8]

In May 2019, researchers from INRIA published a machine-checked proof of the WireGuard protocol, produced using the CryptoVerif proof assistant.[9]

Optional pre-shared symmetric key mode[edit]

WireGuard supports pre-shared symmetric key mode, which provides an additional layer of symmetric encryption to mitigate future advances in quantum computing. This addresses the risk that traffic may be stored until quantum computers are capable of breaking Curve25519, at which point traffic could be decrypted. Pre-shared keys are "usually troublesome from a key management perspective and might be more likely stolen", but in the shorter term, if the symmetric key is compromised, the Curve25519 keys still provide more than sufficient protection.[10]


WireGuard uses only[11] UDP,[5] due to the potential disadvantages of TCP-over-TCP.[11][12][13] Tunneling TCP over a TCP-based connection is known as "TCP-over-TCP", and doing so can induce a dramatic loss in transmission performance (a problem known as "TCP meltdown"). TCP meltdown occurs when a TCP connection is stacked on top of another. The underlying layer may detect a problem and attempt to compensate, and the layer above it then overcompensates because of that, and this overcompensation causes said delays and degraded transmission performance.

Its default server port is UDP 51820.

WireGuard fully supports IPv6, both inside and outside of tunnel. It supports only layer 3 for both IPv4 and IPv6 and can encapsulate v4-in-v6 and vice versa.[14]

MTU overhead[edit]

The overhead of WireGuard breaks down as follows:[15]

  • 20-byte IPv4 header or 40 bytes IPv6 header
  • 8-byte UDP header
  • 4-byte type
  • 4-byte key index
  • 8-byte nonce
  • N-byte encrypted data
  • 16-byte authentication tag

MTU operational considerations[edit]

Assuming the underlay network transporting the WireGuard packets maintains a 1500 bytes MTU, configuring the WireGuard interface to 1420 bytes MTU for all involved peers is ideal for transporting IPv6 + IPv4 traffic. However, when exclusively carrying legacy IPv4 traffic, a higher MTU of 1440 bytes for the WireGuard interface suffices.[15]

From an operational perspective and for network configuration uniformity, choosing to configure a 1420 MTU network-wide for the WireGuard interfaces would be advantageous. This approach ensures consistency and facilitates a smoother transition to enabling IPv6 for the WireGuard peers and interfaces in the future.


There may be situations where, for instance, a peer is behind a network with 1500 bytes MTU, and a second peer is behind a wireless network such as an LTE network, where often times, the carrier opted to use an MTU that is far lower than 1420 bytes — In such cases, the underlying IP networking stack of the host will fragment the UDP encapsulated packet and send the packets through, the packets inside the tunnel however will remain consistent and will not be required to fragment as PMTUD will detect the MTU between the peers (in this example, that would be 1420 bytes) and send a fixed packet size between the peers.


WireGuard is designed to be extended by third-party programmes and scripts. This has been used to augment WireGuard with various features including more user-friendly management interfaces (including easier setting up of keys), logging, dynamic firewall updates, dynamic IP assignment,[16] and LDAP integration.[citation needed]

Excluding such complex features from the minimal core codebase improves its stability and security. For ensuring security, WireGuard restricts the options for implementing cryptographic controls, limits the choices for key exchange processes, and maps algorithms[8] to a small subset of modern cryptographic primitives. If a flaw is found in any of the primitives, a new version can be released that resolves the issue.


A review by Ars Technica found that WireGuard was easy to set up and use, used strong ciphers, and had a minimal codebase that provided for a small attack surface.[17]

WireGuard has received funding from the Open Technology Fund.[18] and donations from Mullvad, Private Internet Access, IVPN, the NLnet Foundation[19] and OVPN.[20]

Oregon senator Ron Wyden has recommended to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that they evaluate WireGuard as a replacement for existing technologies.[21]



Implementations of the WireGuard protocol include:

  • Donenfeld's initial implementation, written in C and Go.[22]
  • Cloudflare's BoringTun, a user space implementation written in Rust.[23][24]
  • Matt Dunwoodie's implementation for OpenBSD, written in C.[25]
  • Ryota Ozaki's wg(4) implementation for NetBSD, written in C.[26]
  • The FreeBSD implementation is written in C and shares most of the data path with the OpenBSD implementation.[27]
  • Native Windows kernel implementation named "wireguard-nt", since August 2021.[28]
  • AVM Fritz!Box modem-routers that support Fritz!OS version 7.39 and later. Permits site-to-site WireGuard connections from version 7.50 onwards.[29]


Early snapshots of the code base exist from 30 June 2016.[30] Four early adopters of WireGuard were the VPN service providers Mullvad,[31] AzireVPN,[32] IVPN[33] and cryptostorm.[34]

On 9 December 2019, David Miller – primary maintainer of the Linux networking stack – accepted the WireGuard patches into the "net-next" maintainer tree, for inclusion in an upcoming kernel.[35][36][37]

On 28 January 2020, Linus Torvalds merged David Miller's net-next tree, and WireGuard entered the mainline Linux kernel tree.[38]

On 20 March 2020, Debian developers enabled the module build options for WireGuard in their kernel config for the Debian 11 version (testing).[39]

On 29 March 2020 WireGuard was incorporated into the Linux 5.6 release tree. The Windows version of the software remains at beta.[4]

On 30 March 2020, Android developers added native kernel support for WireGuard in their Generic Kernel Image.[40]

On 22 April 2020, NetworkManager developer Beniamino Galvani merged GUI support for WireGuard in GNOME.[41]

On 12 May 2020, Matt Dunwoodie proposed patches for native kernel support of WireGuard in OpenBSD.[42]

On 22 June 2020, after the work of Matt Dunwoodie and Jason A. Donenfeld, WireGuard support was imported into OpenBSD.[43]

On 23 November 2020, Jason A. Donenfeld released an update of the Windows package improving installation, stability, ARM support, and enterprise features.[44]

On 29 November 2020, WireGuard support was imported into the FreeBSD 13 kernel.[27]

On 19 January 2021, WireGuard support was added for preview in pfSense Community Edition (CE) 2.5.0 development snapshots.[45]

In March 2021, kernel-mode WireGuard support was removed from FreeBSD 13.0, still in testing, after an urgent code cleanup in FreeBSD WireGuard could not be completed quickly.[46] FreeBSD-based pfSense Community Edition (CE) 2.5.0 and pfSense Plus 21.02 removed kernel-based WireGuard as well.[47]

In May 2021, WireGuard support was re-introduced back into pfSense CE and pfSense Plus development snapshots as an experimental package written by a member of the pfSense community, Christian McDonald. The WireGuard package for pfSense incorporates the ongoing kernel-mode WireGuard development work by Jason A. Donenfeld that was originally sponsored by Netgate.[48][49][50]

In June 2021, the official package repositories for both pfSense CE 2.5.2 and pfSense Plus 21.05 included the WireGuard package.[51]

In 2023, WireGuard got over 200,000 Euros support from Germany's Sovereign Tech Fund.[52]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Not all platforms may have a currently released version and some may be at beta.[needs update?]


  1. ^ Grauer, Yael (16 January 2021). "How one hacker's push to secure the internet became a crucial part of Mac, Linux, and Windows operating systems". Business Insider. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  2. ^ https://git.zx2c4.com/wireguard-linux-compat/tag/?h=v1.0.20220627. Retrieved 4 November 2022. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "Installation". WireGuard. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Salter, Jim (30 March 2020). "WireGuard VPN makes it to 1.0.0—and into the next Linux kernel". Archived from the original on 31 March 2020. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d "WireGuard: fast, modern, secure VPN tunnel". WireGuard. Archived from the original on 28 April 2018. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  6. ^ Preneel, Bart; Vercauteren, Frederik, eds. (11 June 2018). Applied Cryptography and Network Security. Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-93387-0. Archived from the original on 18 February 2019. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  7. ^ a b Donenfeld, Jason A. "Known Limitations - WireGuard". www.wireguard.com. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  8. ^ a b Donenfeld, Jason A. "Protocol & Cryptography - WireGuard". www.wireguard.com. Retrieved 14 May 2023.
  9. ^ Lipp, Benjamin; Blanchet, Bruno; Bhargavan, Karthikeyan (2019), A Mechanised Cryptographic Proof of the WireGuard Virtual Private Network Protocol (report), Research Report RR-9269, Paris: Inria, p. 49, hal-02100345
  10. ^ Donenfeld, Jason (2 May 2021). "WireGuard: Next Generation Kernel Network Tunnel" (PDF). Wireguard.com.
  11. ^ a b Donenfeld, Jason A. "Known Limitations - WireGuard". www.wireguard.com. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  12. ^ Titz, Olaf (23 April 2001). "Why TCP Over TCP Is A Bad Idea". Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  13. ^ Honda, Osamu; Ohsaki, Hiroyuki; Imase, Makoto; Ishizuka, Mika; Murayama, Junichi (October 2005). "Understanding TCP over TCP: effects of TCP tunneling on end-to-end throughput and latency". In Atiquzzaman, Mohammed; Balandin, Sergey I (eds.). Performance, Quality of Service, and Control of Next-Generation Communication and Sensor Networks III. Vol. 6011. Bibcode:2005SPIE.6011..138H. CiteSeerX doi:10.1117/12.630496. S2CID 8945952.
  14. ^ Donenfeld, Jason A. "Introduction & Motivation" (PDF). WireGuard: Next Generation Kernel Network Tunnel (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 March 2018.
  15. ^ a b Donenfeld, Jason A. (11 December 2017). "[WireGuard] Header / MTU sizes for Wireguard". Retrieved 13 January 2024.
  16. ^ Wireguard Dynamic IP Configuration Tool, WireGuard, 14 May 2023, retrieved 14 May 2023
  17. ^ Salter, Jim (26 August 2018). "WireGuard VPN review: A new type of VPN offers serious advantages". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 20 September 2018.
  18. ^ "Building a more secure, accessible and resilient WireGuard VPN protocol". www.opentech.fund. Retrieved 20 June 2022.
  19. ^ "Donations". WireGuard. Archived from the original on 28 April 2018. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  20. ^ "OVPN donates to support WireGuard". OVPN. 23 March 2020.
  21. ^ "US Senator Recommends Open-Source WireGuard To NIST For Government VPN". Phoronix. 30 June 2018. Archived from the original on 5 August 2018. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
  22. ^ Donenfeld, Jason (7 June 2019). "WireGuard: fast, modern, secure VPN tunnel". Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  23. ^ Krasnov, Vlad (18 December 2018). "BoringTun, a userspace WireGuard implementation in Rust". Cloudflare Blog. Archived from the original on 4 April 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  24. ^ "CloudFlare Launches "BoringTun" As Rust-Written WireGuard User-Space Implementation". phoronix.com. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  25. ^ Johansson, Janne (21 June 2020). "WireGuard imported into OpenBSD".
  26. ^ "wg(4) - NetBSD Manual Pages". 20 August 2020.
  27. ^ a b "Import kernel WireGuard support".
  28. ^ "WireGuardNT, a high-performance WireGuard implementation for the Windows kernel". 2 August 2021.
  29. ^ "WireGuard: VPN has never been so easy".
  30. ^ "Index of /Monolithic-historical/".
  31. ^ Mason, John (13 February 2019). "Mullvad Review". thebestwpn. 2. Strong Tunneling Protocols – OpenVPN & WireGuard. Archived from the original on 24 June 2019. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  32. ^ Mason, John (19 February 2019). "AzireVPN Review". thebestvpn. 2. Impressive Protocols and Encryption. Archived from the original on 8 May 2019. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  33. ^ Pestell, Nick (11 December 2018). "Introducing Wireguard". Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  34. ^ "WireGuard support added!". cryptostorm blog. 5 April 2019. Archived from the original on 9 December 2019. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  35. ^ "e7096c131e5161fa3b8e52a650d7719d2857adfd - pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/davem/net-next - Git at Google". kernel.googlesource.com.
  36. ^ "LKML: David Miller: Re: [PATCH net-next v2] net: WireGuard secure network tunnel". lkml.org.
  37. ^ "[ANNOUNCE] WireGuard merged to net-next, on its way to Linux 5.6". 9 January 2020. Archived from the original on 9 January 2020.
  38. ^ Torvalds, Linus. "index : kernel/git/torvalds/linux.git". Linux kernel source tree. Kernel.org. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  39. ^ "drivers/net: Enable WIREGUARD as module". 21 March 2020.
  41. ^ "merge branch 'bg/wireguard' (d321d0df) · Commits · GNOME / network-manager-applet". gitlab.gnome.org. 22 April 2020. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  42. ^ "WireGuard for OpenBSD Kernel Patches Posted". 12 May 2020.
  43. ^ "add wg(4), an in kernel driver for WireGuard vpn communication".
  44. ^ "[ANNOUNCE] WireGuard for Windows 0.3: ARM support, enterprise features, & more". 23 November 2020.
  45. ^ "WireGuard for pfSense Software".
  46. ^ Anderson, Tim (23 March 2021). "FreeBSD 13.0 to ship without WireGuard support as dev steps in to fix 'grave issues' with initial implementation". The Register. Situation Publishing. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  47. ^ Thompson, Jim (18 March 2021). "WireGuard Removed from pfSense® CE and pfSense® Plus Software". Netgate blog. Rubicon Communications. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  48. ^ Long, Scott (5 May 2021). "pfSense: WireGuard returns as an Experimental Package". Netgate - Secure networks start here. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  49. ^ Paxson, Audian (19 January 2021). "WireGuard for pfSense Software". Netgate - Secure networks start here. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  50. ^ "wireguard-freebsd - WireGuard implementation for the FreeBSD kernel". git.zx2c4.com. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  51. ^ Pingle, Jim (2 June 2021). "pfSense Plus 21.05-RELEASE Now Available". Netgate - Secure networks start here. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  52. ^ "WireGuard". Sovereign Tech Fund. Retrieved 26 May 2024.