For both personal and business use, a poor internet connection might have major drawbacks. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to work, stream videos, or use the internet when your Wi-Fi is moving so slowly that it is nearly impossible.
Slow internet can be detrimental to businesses that sell their products or services online. Slow internet can hurt the reputation of the company since customers may see slow internet speeds as an indication of poor service or unreliability.
It should, therefore, not come as a surprise that one of the primary concerns that many people have when deciding which VPN to use is the possibility that it may make their internet connection slower. But if that is true, by how much can you expect to be supported?
In this section, we will explain how VPNs have the possibility of slowing down the connection, and we will draw on the results of our own first-hand testing to determine whether or not any modern VPN providers will genuinely have an effect on the speed of your internet connection.
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Does using VPNs Slowdown Internet Speed?
In summary, the answer is “yes,” but the practice is extremely uncommon in modern times.
Using a VPN could slow down your internet speed, though how much it slows down depends on a number of factors. When you link to a VPN server, the internet traffic is encrypted and sent to its destination through an extra server. This additional step can slow down the internet speed by adding a delay to the connection.
However, some VPN providers provide quicker servers, and all of their services can be optimized to have as little of an effect as possible on the user’s internet connection. In addition, the degree of slowing might be affected by the particular online activity that is being performed.
It is difficult to determine whether or not you would notice the change in speed. When using certain virtual private networks (VPNs), depending on the circumstances, you might not even be able to tell the difference.
What slows the internet speed when using a VPN?
A VPN sends your Internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel to a server outside of your network. By rerouting your internet traffic through a VPN server outside of your network, you can make it safer and more private. This is because your ISP or the government would not be able to look at what you do online or find out your IP address.
But, because of the encryption and rerouting processes, the amount of time it takes for internet packets to go from your device to their destination is going to be longer. Because of this, when you use a VPN, your internet connection may become slower than usual.
As we mentioned earlier, the slowdown in the speed of your internet connection should not be too noticeable in most cases.
9 Methods to Speed Up Your Internet When Using a VPN
Most customers should see an improvement in their slow VPN connection speeds after implementing one or more of the below-listed methods. If you want to boost the speed of your VPN connection, you may need to experiment with a mix of two or more of the different approaches.
1. Connect to a server located closer to your actual location.
The distance between your device and the VPN server may also have an impact on the internet speed that you experience. Because of the greater distance between your location and the server, it may take more time for data to go back and forth, which will ultimately result in a slower connection.
The closer the VPN server is to one’s actual location, the quicker your connection should be. When your traffic is routed through a nearby VPN server, it will travel a shorter physical distance than if it were routed through a server halfway around the world. If you are in Boston, connecting to a VPN server in New York City or Montreal should be significantly speedier than connecting to a server in Sydney or Tokyo, for instance.
If, for example, you wish to watch a video from a particular country or use a gaming server from a specific region, this would not always be a feasible option for you. However, when you require a faster connection, you should experiment by connecting to a number of different VPN servers that are physically close to where you are and determining which ones provide the fastest speeds.
2. Connect to a server that is not too busy.
It is possible for VPN servers to become overloaded with traffic, which frequently occurs during high usage hours. This may result in a bottleneck, which will slow down the connection for all users who are connected to the server.
Most of the time, you will get faster speeds when you select one with a lighter load. If the VPN provider you have chosen does not show you how busy its servers are, try connecting to a few of them to see which one gives you the fastest speeds. Sometimes, you just have to try things out and see what works.
3. Use a different VPN protocol to connect.
There are numerous VPN protocols, and the majority of service providers allow you to select from a variety of options. Different protocols have different pros and cons when it comes to speed and security. If you connect to your VPN with one protocol instead of another, you may be able to speed it up.
The OpenVPN protocol is the one that VPN service providers use the most frequently. It provides high-level encryption to protect your activities while you are online. Nevertheless, such robust encryption would typically slow down your VPN.
Nonetheless, other protocols, such as PPTP and WireGuard, prioritize VPN connection speeds over security. The future-proof WireGuard protocol combines security with increased speed to give you the best of both worlds.
If you are seeking a VPN provider that offers compatibility with the WireGuard protocol, then you should go with NordVPN. Nevertheless, NordVPN also provides numerous protocols, so in order to achieve the best possible download speeds, you will need to learn how to change them.
4. Enable split tunneling if available
By default, the vast majority of VPN services tunnel and encrypt all internet traffic from all programs and apps installed on the device. If you seem to be running numerous applications, each of which uses a significant amount of bandwidth, the speed of your connection will typically be slow.
Split tunneling lets you send some of your internet traffic through a VPN while letting other traffic go around the VPN and use your regular internet connection. This can help reduce the quantity of data that needs to be encrypted and decrypted, which can lead to a faster connection.
For example, if you are using the VPN for streaming, you can designate only your streaming traffic to pass through the VPN, ensuring that your online gaming is not slowed down. This can make a big difference in how fast your VPN is for certain tasks since all the traffic you do not need will no longer be using up your bandwidth.
5. Close background apps that you do not need.
On your smartphone, at any particular time, there are usually a number of applications and programs working in the background without attracting much attention. Even though the user interface does not display these applications, the processing power and bandwidth they require are being used.
When you open a lot of apps or browser tabs at once, your device’s resources can be used up. This can slow down your internet connection. You can increase performance and free up resources by closing any applications or tabs that are not being used.
Using the Task Manager on Windows or the Activity Monitor on a Mac, you should be capable of ending any applications or processes that are running in the background. But be careful when you do this because some of these things are needed for your system to work well.
6. Switch from a wireless to a wired connection
If you are connected via a wireless connection, try using an Ethernet cable to connect the device directly to the router. A wired connection can be more stable and faster than a wireless one, and most wireless connections are slower than a wired one.
This is because radio waves are used to send data packets between your device and the router, and these waves can get messed up and cause problems. A loss of packets will slow down connections. Also, wireless connections send information to several devices at the same time over a shared channel, which tends to make your internet slow.
If your computer or other device has Ethernet ports, and you already have an Ethernet cable lying around the house, using a connected connection to the internet is likely to provide you with much-improved download and upload times.
7. Double-check your internet connection
If none of the measures described above have helped enhance the speed of your VPN connection, then the issue may be with the internet connection itself. Even if you pay for a premium VPN service, a poor internet connection will prevent you from getting fast download speeds.
By conducting a speed test, you will be able to determine whether or not the issue is related to your internet connection. If the speeds are lower than what you typically get or what your Internet service provider (ISP) has promised, then it is quite evident that your network connection is not operating as well as it should.
It’s possible that restarting your router will fix the problems with your connection and get you back to your old speed. If the issue continues to annoy you, you will need to either discuss it with your internet service provider (ISP) or move to a different internet plan that has higher bandwidth.
8. Reboot your router and other devices
When you restart your computer, you will give it the much-needed refresh it needs, free up some RAM, and get it functioning at its very best. You could try restarting your router on your computer or mobile device to see if it makes a difference in the connectivity issues you are experiencing.
Which VPNs are the fastest?
Big-name NordVPN uses a version of WireGuard called NordLynx, which is a refined version of WireGuard. NordVPN has been the fastest provider, consistently giving speeds of up to 880 Mbps when NordLynx is used, but only about 190 Mbps when OpenVPN is used. You can also get NordVPN free trial for 30 days and check it out for yourself.
Express VPN also gives excellent results with excellent speeds. This VPN is known for its fast and reliable connection speeds, with over 3,000 servers in 94 countries. ExpressVPN also has strong security features, including 256-bit encryption and a no-logging policy.
Surfshark, on the other hand, has quickly gained a reputation for its fast and stable connection speeds, despite being a relatively new VPN. It has over 3,200 servers in 65 countries and offers features like ad-blocking and multi-hop VPN. You can also check my article on how to get Surfshark free trial if you really want to try it out.
However, even modest VPNs are able to provide exceptional speeds by utilizing WireGuard. For example, Atlas VPN, which is best known for its free VPN service, is a famous and trusted VPN among users. It offers some useful features like malware blocking and an ad tracker blocker, but there are some limitations to its service.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1: Is it possible to increase the VPN connection speed?
A: Yes, there are multiple methods to increase or improve VPN internet speed, including selecting a server closer to your physical location, using a wired connection instead of Wi-Fi, and selecting a VPN service that uses high-speed servers and optimized protocols.
Q2: Are all VPNs the same in terms of reducing internet performance?
A: No, the speed of a VPN service is not fixed; rather, it is determined by a number of different factors, including the quality of the service itself, the encryption technique that is employed, and the physical distance between you and the VPN server.
Q3: Should I choose a VPN based on internet speed or security?
A: The answer depends on your preferences. Choose a VPN with robust encryption and privacy features if you value security. If performance is a top priority, you should seek out a VPN service that employs high-speed servers and optimized protocols.
Q4: Do paid VPNs outperform free VPNs in terms of internet speed?
A: Paid VPNs typically function better than free VPNs in terms of internet speed. Most of the time, people pay for VPN services to have faster servers, a stronger system, and more secure connections.
Q5: How do I monitor my Internet connection speed while using a VPN?
A: While connected to a VPN, you can do an internet speed test using a number of different methods. You can evaluate the speed of your internet connection by using online programs such as Speedtest.net, which can compare the speed of your connection both with and without a VPN.
Utilizing the built-in speed testing feature that some VPN services offer is another option. You can also manually test your connection by downloading a significant file while connected to the VPN and timing how long it takes to finish the download.
Using a VPN can slow down your internet speed to some degree because of the extra steps needed to encrypt and reroute your traffic. However, the degree of slowdown depends on factors such as the quality of your VPN service, its distance from you, and the speed of your internet connection.
It is important to remember that not all VPNs are the same. Some VPN services are designed to be fast and may slow down your connection less than others. Despite the potential slowdown, many people still choose to use VPNs for their privacy and security benefits.
If you use a VPN and it slows down significantly, you may need to transfer to a different service, select a server that is closer to you, or boost the speed of the internet connection. Whether you need to use a VPN or not depends greatly on your needs and priorities.