VPNs can significantly slow down your internet speed, making activities like gaming and streaming difficult. Here’s what you can do to improve the situation.
Let’s face it: Using a virtual private network will slow down your Internet speed — often by 50% or more.
That’s the nature of how VPNs work, and there really isn’t any other way. However, there are a few things you can try to get the fastest possible speeds from your VPN connection.
VPNs add a layer of encryption to your internet connection as your traffic is routed through a secure server in a remote location. This is the process that is primarily responsible for the speed reduction. It takes time to encrypt and decrypt your traffic and for your data to travel to the VPN server and back to your device.
Other factors like the VPN protocol you’re using or the load on the VPN server you’re connecting to can also contribute to slowing down your connection speed.
The speeds achieved can be nearly imperceptible for normal Internet use when you’re on a fast VPN, but you’ll want all the speeds you can get for data-intensive activities. like gaming, streaming, or video conferencing. A delay of even a few milliseconds can make the difference between glory and failure in your online game. And slow VPN speeds can lead to a ruined video streaming experience, corrupted by persistent buffering and too many pixels. And if you’re using a VPN while on a Zoom call, you’ll want to do whatever you can to maximize the speed of your VPN to ensure calls go smoothly and without interruption.
If your VPN isn’t as fast as you need it to be, here’s what you can do to speed up your connection.
7 ways to improve your VPN speed
Connect to a server closer to your physical location
In general, the closer the VPN server is to your physical location, the faster your connection speed will be. Your traffic will have a shorter physical distance to cover when routed through a nearby VPN server instead of one halfway around the world. For example, if you’re in Boston, your VPN connection will be a lot faster if you connect to a VPN server in New York City or Montreal than to a server in Sydney or Tokyo.
This is not always practical if you want to stream content from a specific country or access a game server from a specific location. But when you need a faster connection, try connecting to some other VPN servers near where you are and see which offers the fastest speeds. Some VPNs will have speed testing built into their apps, but you can always use a speed testing site like Ookla Speedtest to test the speed of your connection.
If you’re looking for a VPN with loads of server locations, try ExpressVPN, which offers servers in 160 locations across 94 countries — so you’re bound to find a few that are relatively close to your location. his mind.
Connection to the server is not overloaded
When too many people are using a VPN server, the server can get overloaded and your connection speed can suffer. Some VPN providers display the current server load on their servers in the app itself or on the website. If you choose one with a lighter load, you’ll generally get faster speeds. If your VPN provider doesn’t show the current load on their servers, try connecting to several other servers to see which gives you the fastest speeds. Sometimes, it just takes a bit of trial and error.
Try connecting via a different VPN protocol
The VPN protocol is a set of instructions between the VPN application on your device and the VPN server that determines how to establish a secure connection. There are many different VPN protocols, and most providers give you the ability to choose between several different options. Different protocols have different advantages and disadvantages in terms of speed and security, so if you connect via one VPN protocol and not another, you are likely to increase your speed. your VPN.
Today, the gold standard VPN protocol is OpenVPN. It’s the most tested protocol, and it offers a great combination of speed, stability, and security — that’s why many VPNs use OpenVPN as their default protocol. More and more VPN providers are now also offering newer VPN protocols like IKEv2 and WireGuard that promise faster speeds along with great security. And some have even developed proprietary VPN protocols like ExpressVPN’s Lightway and NordVPN’s NordLynx, which claim to offer the best of both worlds.
Switching to one of these other protocols, if offered by your VPN provider, can give you faster connection speeds through your VPN. Just keep in mind that — while their security might seem solid — these protocols haven’t been as thoroughly tested in practice as OpenVPN, so they shouldn’t be your first choice for Important VPN uses.
If you just prefer to use OpenVPN, use UDP instead of TCP for the best speeds. While TCP is usually the more stable option, it tends to be slower than UDP because it needs to send the data packets in the correct order and will wait for an acknowledgment received from the receiver before sending the next packet. UDP doesn’t care about the order in which it sends data packets or gets any acknowledgments that they were received, so it tends to be faster and more efficient but less stable.
Most VPN apps allow you to change the protocol you connect to in their settings, so experiment with the protocol settings to see which gives you the fastest speeds.
Enable split tunneling if available
If your VPN provider offers split tunneling then try enabling it to see if you can speed up your VPN. 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 a VPN for streaming, you can only allocate your streaming traffic to go through the VPN, which won’t slow down your online gaming. This can help optimize your VPN’s speed for certain activities, as all the excess traffic you don’t need to run through the VPN won’t burden your bandwidth.
Use a wired connection
Using a wired connection will usually be faster than using your Wi-Fi. Chances are you have multiple devices connected to your home Wi-Fi network at the same time — all of them sharing and competing for resources on the same wireless channel. This can lead to an unstable internet connection and, therefore, slower speeds. If you have the right equipment, try establishing a wired connection by connecting your computer directly to the router via an ethernet cable, then connecting to your VPN.
Close unnecessary applications running in the background
If you have apps running in the background that you don’t use, they can take up resources on your machine and slow down your connection. Take a minute to check if there’s anything running in the background that you’re not using and close those processes. By clearing potential bottlenecks like this, you may notice faster connections.
Restart your router and other devices
When was the last time you rebooted your device? Just like anything else, technology like your computer and router sometimes needs a bit of R&R. When you restart your computer, you are giving it the necessary refresh, freeing up some RAM and making it work optimally. So, as cliché as it may sound, try turning it off and on again, then see how your VPN speed improves as a result.