Your Typical VPN Setup
For those currently using a VPN, the network structure may look like the following:
The diagram illustrates:
- An office network with a VPN capable router
- The office LAN subnet is 10.1.1.x
- Your PC desktop at work has an IP address of 10.1.1.100
A VPN connection is initiated from the home laptop through the home router to the office VPN router. This enables the laptop to access the office LAN. You will notice the VPN connection has its own VPN office router IP address of 192.168.0.2. That is the IP address for the WAN side of the office router. However, as far as working on your laptop is concerned, you only have access to the office LAN subnet of 10.1.1.x.
Creating A Static Route
There are two main steps to enabling the static route to the office VPN:
The result is that all office LAN traffic will go through the static route gateway, and all other traffic outside the home LAN will go through the home router gateway.
Free VPNs Can Impair Performance
If you have considered all the options in the market and youve decided against paying for a VPN, a free VPN may suffice. However, its expected that this may cause your internet to slow down in some circumstances.
Numerous free VPNs restrict the number of servers accessible to non-paying consumers. This may significantly increase the burden on the limited servers available to free users. Other servers are reserved for paying customers, who may get full-speed service in less busy places.
It is not always easy to notice a sluggish VPN connection. However, with the right tips and tricks, it is possible to overcome common obstacles and significantly improve performance.
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How Much Does VPN Slow Down The Internet
With proper server infrastructure and configurations, you shouldnt feel a difference. What does that mean?
Lets say you have a 100Mbps download speed and connecting to a VPN brings it down to 80Mbps.
For regular browsing you wouldnt even feel the difference. It would also allow you to stream comfortably. For downloading you might notice a change, but not by a lot .
Thats not always the case though. If you connect to a VPN server thats close by, you might see an even smaller change in your VPN speed.
So, your internet speed and VPN server proximity matter a lot. Heres a quick tip: try a wired connection as well as connecting to the closest server to you.
What Is VPN Latency
The time taken for a data packet to reach the server location when using a VPN, measured in milliseconds, is referred to as VPN latency.
The farther the VPN servers location from your actual location, the higher the experienced latency will be. Data transfer is measured in megabits per second and is referred to as the download speed.
A high download speed means that your data transfer rate is fast. The video quality that you experience when streaming is also determined by your download speed and bandwidth.
Knowing more about how a VPN works and other things like how does a VPN slow down the internet speed will help you achieve better results while connected to a VPN.
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Best VPN Against Throttling
There are a huge number of VPNs out there and knowing the one to choose is vitally important. One tip we would give is that its always worth spending some money on a VPN. A free VPN can be tempting, but the technology is complex and takes a lot of expertise to maintain and run properly.
Here are some of our recommendations:
Update Reinstall Or Switch Apps
VPN apps, like any others, can have bugs which only appear over time. Could your speed issue be one of the results? There’s an easy way to find out: uninstall the app, then reinstall the latest version.
If you’re only using the VPN on one or two device types right now, try installing it on others, see what happens. We’ve found this sometimes delivers real surprises, such as a VPN which took 30 seconds or more to connect on Windows and Android, for instance, but under 5 seconds with iOS.
If you only need a VPN to protect your Windows laptop, say, then sure, knowing it’s much faster on an iPad doesn’t help you much. It’s valuable information which could help your VPN provider figure out what the real problem might be, though, so you should report it, explain everything else you’ve tried, and see if they can help.
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Choose A Different VPN Server
As weve explained above, a VPN sends your encrypted data to an external server from where it is forwarded to the destination address. The further away the server is from your location, the longer itll take to transmit data to the external VPN server.
Hence, an easy way to increase your VPN speed is to switch servers and opt for one thats closest to your geographic location. Choosing the closest server reduces the distance your data has to travel and should improve your internet speed.
Most premium VPNs, like ExpressVPN and NordVPN, usually select the fastest VPN servers available for your coordinates. You should really only change the VPN server if youre looking to access content thats unavailable in your location or available only in a specific region.
Sometimes your speed may not improve despite selecting the server located closest to you. This can happen because of the high server load. In such situations, choose a different server thats less congested to get a faster connection. A server in another country also lets you access geo-restricted content.
How Much Speed Do You Lose With A VPN
VPN speed depends on a range of factors, including the size of its network, the servers distance from your real location, and the current load on each server.
Services with bigger networks can absorb more traffic and dont get slowed down by overloaded servers. VPNs like ExpressVPN are so fast that you barely notice any loss of speed at all.
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Configuring Your VPN Settings For Optimal Speed
If you already have a VPN and you’re feeling like it’s way to slow to be worth the trouble, don’t make any drastic decisions just yet. You should definitely have a mess around with your VPN’s configuration settings first, as this might solve your problem.
First things first, try connecting to a different server to the one you’re experiencing slow speeds on. That’ll let you know if it really is your connection or if you happen to have a problem with that specific server.
If you’re using the OpenVPN protocol, switching TCP to UDP protocol could secure you faster speeds. It’s not a guaranteed solution, but it’s worth a shot!
What’s the difference between TCP and UDP?
In short, TCP confirms the integrity of every data packet meaning that it’s best for downloading/torrenting and general web-surfing, whereas UDP doesn’t confirm the integrity, and so is generally faster and more suited to online gaming, streaming movies, etc. See our TCP vs UDP guide for more information.
What Affects Internet Speed
At its core, a VPN’s job is to encrypt your connection and send it through a secure VPN server. Because a VPN adds extra steps between you and the internet, its bound to slow down your connection somewhat. However, there are tips you can use to reduce the impact, and well even see cases later where a premium service like NordVPN can make your internet faster!
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Switch To A Faster VPN
Theres a chance, though, that despite tinkering with settingsor wisely not doing anything with them at allthat your VPN is still slow. In that case, it could very well be that you picked a poor service, in which case, we recommend that you make use of the VPN services money-back guaranteeif it offers oneto get a refund.
The fact is that most decent VPNs get good speeds with their default settings. Why settle for one that needs you to get under the digital hood?
There are a few VPN services that we like, but when it comes to speed, we recommend ExpressVPN. Many of us here at How-To Geek have used it for years. Its a speedy VPN with a large number of servers, and its backed by a trustworthy company thats been around for years. If you dont like it, you can always get your money back within the first 30 days.
Strategy #: Change Your VPN Connection Protocol
Better VPN connection protocols use higher bit encryption. Although this kind of encryption guarantees a greater level of security, it can also considerably lower internet speed.
Many of the best VPNs for streaming will provide you with multiple connection protocols to choose from . Better VPN connection speeds are possible with less-secure connection protocols.
The lowest connection protocol possible is PPTP which is, of course, the least secure.
If available, one of the fastest new protocols is called WireGuard. If this is an available option for your VPN service, its definitely worth a try.
In my experience, the WireGuard protocol has increased my VPN speeds by 2x-3x.
For a deeper dive into this subject, check out my explanation of various VPN connection protocols.
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Free VPNs Can Slow You Down
If you’ve looked at the various options options but decided you want to go for a free VPN, that may work well for your needs. But it won’t surprise you to hear that this can also affect your speeds in some cases.
Often, free VPNs will limit the number of servers accessible by non-paying users. This can create strain on those few servers, slowing them down for the free users. Other servers are available only to paying customers who can then get full-speed service in locations that are not under strain.
So, essentially, when it comes to internet speeds when using a VPN, it’s often the case that you get what you pay for.
Enable Split Tunneling If Available
If your VPN provider offers a split-tunneling feature, then try enabling it to see if you can boost your VPN speeds. Split tunneling allows you to send only the traffic you want through your VPN connection, while sending the rest unencrypted through your regular internet connection.
For example, if you’re using your VPN for streaming, you can allocate just your streaming traffic to go through the VPN, which won’t slow down your online gaming. This can help optimize your VPN speeds for certain activities, because all the excess traffic you don’t need running through your VPN won’t burden your bandwidth.
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Clear Your Browsers Cache
The browser cache is usually intended to make your browsing experience faster, but if it gets filled with unnecessary files, it can have the opposite effect. All internet browsers will have a way to do this, but it generally follows these three steps.
Click the three dots in the top-right corner to open a dropdown menu, then choose more tools and select clear browsing data.
In the clear browsing data window, make sure its clearing the cache and any cookies with the time range of all time.
You should now click the clear data button. This may take a few minutes but will delete everything youve selected.
Will Using A VPN Affect My Internet Speed
Due to how they work, encrypting data and sending it through a server, most VPNs will have some effect on your internet speed. The good news is that better services will have little to no effect, while the best services may actually increase your speed by overcoming any throttling that your ISP is imposing.
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Can A VPN Increase Internet Speed Sometimes Yes
One of the most common questions regarding VPN usage is: Can a VPN increase Internet speed? Yes, it can, but most of the time, it wont. I am going to explain when, why, and how it is possible.
We have performed a series of tests that show that a VPN may sometimes increase Internet speed. Lets see the results first, and then we will find an explanation.
What You’ll Learn
Lets Define Two Types Of Slow VPNs
To clarify this discussion, its necessary to define what is a slow VPN.
Slow VPNs can be understood from two dimensions. On one hand, a slow VPN refers to a VPN that takes a longer time to be connected with a VPN server. On the other hand, a slow VPN refers to a VPN that seems to slow down your Internet as soon as the VPN gets connected.
For the former situation, it is mostly correlated with the performance of a VPN service. If a VPN is slow to connect, its time to drop it. For the latter situation, its always complained about by VPN users. Therefore, whether a VPN causes slow Internet is what is to be discussed below.
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Choose A Server Closer To Your Actual Location
If you pick a VPN server thats further away from you, your data will need to travel that distance. This will slow your connection and, in turn, slow your upload and download speeds, causing some nasty ping.
Typically, your VPN provider will let you choose from several servers across the world – so make use of the feature! Simply select a server thats closer and run another speed test.
Find out more:
Does VPN Slow Down Your Wifi / Internet Speed
A VPN will inevitably slow down your internet speed at least a little. This happens due to how the VPN technology operates – it adds a few extra steps to the path that your web traffic has to travel. Three additional VPN steps that slow down your connection the most are:
- Connection to a remote VPN server
- VPN server workload
- Data encryption
Luckily, premium VPN services like VPN Unlimited can significantly mitigate the negative impact on your connection speed. And in certain edge cases, such a VPN can even make your internet faster!
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Whats The Fastest Free VPN
Sadly, you dont often find the words fast and free together in the same sentence when talking about a VPN.
Free VPNs are usually much slower than premium services. Thats because they cant afford the same infrastructure and innovation that makes the VPNs on my list so speedy.
Some free VPNs also limit the number of servers you can access, meaning their free servers become overcrowded and slow. Other free VPNs even restrict your speeds intentionally.
I will always recommend that you use a low-cost premium VPN like ExpressVPN insteadits the only way to get reliable, super-fast speeds.
Ipsec Vs Ssl VPN Performance
The two most popular encryption protocols used by VPNs are , which runs on the network layer of , and , which runs on the application layer. When choosing a VPN provider, customers will have to decide which protocol they prefer.
IPsec and SSL provide very similar rates, but the IKEv2/IPSec protocol provides slightly faster connection negotiation speeds, giving it a slight performance edge.
One caveat here is that SSL VPNs may perform better when there are involved. Since SSL VPN traffic is indistinguishable from normal HTTPS Internet traffic, it is less likely to get blocked or by a firewall.
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VPNs Offer Both Speed And Security
So, as you can see, the server location plays one of the main roles in speed performance and latency. If you use a VPN for simply browsing the web, you will experience little to no latency. If you use a VPN for watching video content securely, you might want to explore ways to make streaming faster. In this case, we recommend connecting to special servers optimized for secure streaming. You can also try out these tips on how to increase VPN speeds.
A VPN wont significantly increase your data usage, but this depends on the provider and protocol used. The usage usually increases by around 5 or 10% due to the encryption process. In terms of speed, your VPN can only be as fast as your inetrnet connection. In fact, slight drops of around 10-20% in speed are absolutely normal when using a VPN, since their main priority should always be security and privacy.
If you want to see for yourself how fast NordVPN is, you can today. Make sure you use a NordVPN coupon to get the best deal available.
Do you want speed and security online?
Get both with the world’s leading VPN
Can A VPN Speed Up Internet Connection
Virtual private networks or VPNs for short have the ability to improve online security and privacy. But a little known fact is that you can use VPNs to improve internet speed too. If youre wondering how can a VPN speed up Internet then youve come to the right place.
However, before we get into how can a VPN speed up Internet lets note that some VPNs can also compromise your Internet speed. This makes sense considering that youre adding more encryption and a proxy server to your existing Internet connection. So, it will buckle under the pressure and become slow.
But, theres also evidence to suggest that using a VPN can increase your browsing speed. This isnt the most common narrative. But its worth exploring considering that VPNs are becoming a common aspect of an online users life.
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