Does using a VPN cause your Internet to slow down? While a VPN may slow down your Internet connection, the difference in speed is typically negligible, and the benefits may outweigh any speed loss.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can protect your Internet traffic from being snooped on or tampered with by outsiders. This is accomplished by encrypting the traffic between you and your VPN provider. Additionally, because your traffic appears to connect to the Internet via the VPN provider’s computer rather than your own, a VPN can mask your IP address, preventing tracking and enabling you to bypass geo-blocks. At Malwarebytes, we’ve witnessed a worldwide increase in VPN usage.
Despite the technology’s benefits, some users are hesitant to use it because they feel VPNs degrade the performance of their Internet connection. Thus, does a VPN reduce Internet speed?
Indeed, it does. Your Internet speed may be impacted by the encryption procedure, the distance to the server, and the VPN protocol used by your VPN. However, this is not the entire tale.
What matters most is whether or not the slowdown is evident. A good VPN will slow down your Internet connection slightly, but only slightly. The majority of customers of cutting-edge VPN services believe that a little performance penalty is justified by the benefits, assuming they perceive it at all.
VPN performance evaluation
The most accurate approach to determine the extent to which a VPN is slowing down your Internet connection is to run a VPN speed test. A VPN speed test compares your normal Internet connection to your VPN connection. The bandwidth of your Internet connection is often measured in megabits per second (Mbps).
Here is a quick and simple method for performing a VPN speed test:
Deactivate your VPN connection.
Enter “Internet speed test” into your preferred search engine.
Conduct a speed test on your Internet connection and record your download and upload speeds.
Activate your VPN connection.
Establish a connection to a VPN server.
Repetition of step three will yield comparable results.
Keep in mind, however, that you are not a computer and that what matters to you is not the quantifiable lag in your Internet connection (referred to as latency), but how you perceive that lag (known as perceived latency). In many cases, you will not notice a slight slowdown. In other cases, such as when you’re waiting for something critical to finish, such as a credit card transaction, you’ll be more sensitive to changes in latency that you wouldn’t typically notice.
While objective speed testing might be helpful, there is no substitute for actually using a VPN in the real world and observing how it affects the things that matter to you.
How can I increase the speed of my VPN?
Change the server
In general, the longer your traffic must travel to reach the servers of your VPN provider, the slower your VPN will be. Speed is also affected by the power of the servers and the number of concurrent users, but all other factors being equal distance matters.
Select a server that is closer to your location to get a quicker connection. If it is overburdened with traffic during peak hours, go to a nearby server to boost your Internet speed. To ensure a fast connection, it’s a good idea to subscribe to a VPN service that has numerous servers in dozens of locations.
Choose a VPN that makes use of WireGuard.
A VPN protocol is a set of instructions that defines how data is sent between your device and the VPN server. A VPN protocol has an effect on your connection’s speed, security, and stability. Numerous service providers have migrated from OpenVPN to the WireGuard protocol due to its increased security, newness, and efficiency. WireGuard has consistently outperformed its competitors, including OpenVPN, in numerous studies.
Certain Internet Service Providers (ISPs) intentionally slow down popular data packets during peak hours to alleviate the server burden. Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, for example, discovered that ISPs throttled streaming services such as Netflix during their investigation. A high-quality VPN service can assist you in bypassing bandwidth throttling by preventing your ISP from inspecting data packets.
What can I do to speed up my VPN?
The Internet is a vast and dynamic network that connects billions of devices by routing data packets. When the computers are responsible for routing this data fail, certain pathways become inaccessible and traffic must be temporarily rerouted via an alternate path, resulting in congestion on the new route (much like a road traffic system). As a result, speed concerns are frequently transient and will correct themselves as new routes are created, repaired, and optimized.
A VPN is reliant on the speed of your Internet connection. Whatever the connection’s speed, the VPN cannot be faster. Indeed, you should anticipate a slight decrease in performance while connecting to any VPN service, as the software must encrypt each packet of data. This loss should be minimal, often between 10% and 20% when compared to a connection without a VPN.
Consider the following troubleshooting procedures if you are experiencing a persistent performance issue.
Generally, selecting a server that is geographically close to you results in improved performance (due to lower latency). Additionally, depending on the proximity of the congestion to your location, switching to a server in another location may sidestep any congestion concerns. Our server status page contains a list of our server locations.
Modify the VPN port/protocol
Your VPN software establishes a connection to our servers using a specified port number (e.g. 443) and protocol (e.g. (UDP or TCP). Certain networks impose speed limits on specific ports or protocols. Alternate between ports/protocols until you find the quickest combination. View instructions on how to alter ports and protocols.
Utilize a tethered connection.
Your connection’s Wi-Fi speed may be limited. Wireless connections share a channel to transport data between numerous devices, which might result in greater latency and slower speeds. Wired connections typically allow substantially higher data transfer rates and are always preferable if available.
Devices for switching
Certain devices are incapable of offering high speeds due to the VPN tunnel’s significant encryption overhead. Routers, NAS, older Android devices, and early version iOS devices are frequently included in this category. If you are currently using one of these devices, your only option is to upgrade to a more competent processor.
Restart your modem/router if necessary.
Your modem or router may slow down over time owing to memory leaks or other issues. Restarting your modem/router may improve the connection and hence the VPN’s speed.
On some networks, OpenVPN connections may be blocked or throttled. By utilizing WireGuard, you may experience a quicker connection. WireGuard is available on macOS, iOS, Windows, Linux, and Android via our native apps.
Disable local security software temporarily
By filtering or inspecting outgoing packets, a firewall or antivirus software might slow down VPN traffic. Disable your security software temporarily to discover if it is causing the performance issue.
Restart your Computer
Many devices eventually “fatigue” owing to a lack of available memory or resources. Restarting your device may improve the speed of your connection.
Update your device to the newest version
Update your device to the newest version Check for available firmware updates for your device – they may include numerous fixes and improve the overall performance and quality of the connection after installation.
Establishing a connection from another place
It is possible that there is a problem with your ISP connection. This can be easily verified by connecting to the Internet from a different place, such as a coffee shop or a neighbor’s house.
Options for advanced users
Conduct a traceroute to determine the source of the congestion or network hop that is delaying your flow. Traceroute to the host you’re attempting to reach with and without the VPN turned on.
Utilize third-party DNS servers to override the default DNS. We constantly recommend that customers utilize our DNS servers in order to avoid DNS privacy leaks. You may choose to test, however, to determine whether our DNS servers are causing your speed issues.
Make necessary adjustments to the MTU. You’ll want to educate yourself on how to find the optimal MTU for your network. If you change the network from which you connect in the future, keep in mind that you may need to adjust the MTU again.
Is it possible for a VPN to speed up the Internet?
Is it possible for a VPN to increase Internet speed? VPNs can boost the speed of certain services in certain circumstances. ISPs occasionally restrict, or artificially slow down, certain types of traffic; for instance, several large ISPs have throttled streaming entertainment services such as Netflix.
How can I prevent my VPN from slowing down my internet connection?
What can I do to speed up my VPN?
Modify the VPN port/protocol.
Utilize a connected connection.
Restart your modem/router if necessary.
Disable local security software temporarily.
Reboot the device.
Does a VPN cause a slowdown in internet speed?
Does using a VPN slow down your internet connection? True, however, you’re unlikely to notice if you’re using a solid VPN. The amount by which your connection is slowed should be insignificant enough that it has no effect on your online activities. Additionally, there are several instances where using a VPN can actually increase your overall speed.