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How to boost your VPN speed?

VPN provides added security to all your network traffic. There are several benefits of using a VPN, and it is considered one of the must-have tools for today's private browsing. Many users prefer using a VPN while getting connected to public Wi-Fi.

VPN not only improves security but also guarantees online privacy and anonymity. As VPN requires encryption on outbound traffic and decryption on inbound traffic, your network traffic may slow down. Depending on how you reach each destination, you may experience faster or slower responses from VPN network.

Experiencing constant buffering while using streaming services, extreme slowness in download speed, constant connection timeouts while accessing websites, or experiencing errors when loading website pages can be frustrating. A slow Internet speed while using VPN is an issue that most users face and lookout for ways in which one can boost internet speed while being connected through the VPN.

Can VPN increase Internet speed?

There are certain use cases where a VPN can improve your Internet speed or will at least not slow down your speed.

  • Bandwidth throttling: Net neutrality is still a topic of discussion across several geographical regions. Based on this, some ISPs throttle bandwidth while accessing specific services such as streaming applications.

    When a user is over VPN, all traffic is encrypted and hence the ISPs won’t be able to identify the traffic. This is one of the reasons, why ISPs won’t be able to throttle such traffic.
  • Traffic Routing: In certain cases, when you need to connect a faraway server, the ISP uses its own routing algorithm. The ISP might end up taking a longer route to reach the destination server by making several hops to distant intermediate servers. When you choose a VPN service that has several servers, VPN would route the traffic based on the proximity of location. Eventually, this might take lesser time and provide a faster internet speed.

Can VPN slow Internet speed?

Below are scenarios where you may experience a slower internet speed while using a VPN.

  • Server distance: Most top-rated VPN services provide multiple VPN server locations. The further the VPN server, the slower your internet speed will be. This will impact your upload and download speeds. Connect to a VPN server that is closer to your geographical location, unless there is a reason to choose a distant server location.
  • Server load: VPN is shared across multiple users. This will impact the server load as more users get connected on the same server. With an increase in server load, users will experience slowness while being connected to VPN services. To reduce this impact, top-rated VPN providers offer multiple servers. This can effectively reduce the load on the individual server while multiple users are connected.
  • Protocol: Most VPN services offer support for multiple protocols. While certain protocols offer substantial speed, there are certain others that slow down the traffic.
  • Encryption: VPNs encrypt and decrypt traffic. This requires additional processing time and may increase latency. Although not always, some users may experience slowness in internet speed while connected to VPN. Based on the complexity of the encryption, internet speeds may vary. While less complex encryption can provide higher speed, there is always a security risk involved with less secure encryption. Eventually, this boils down to a tradeoff between encryption complexity and internet speed over VPN.

How can you boost your VPN speed?

One of the common concerns for most VPN users is the slowness of the internet speed. There are multiple ways in which one can boost VPN speed. This is based on two parameters:

  • Throughput: This defines the amount of data that is transferred for a specific amount of time.
  • Latency: This defines the time taken between sending a request and receiving a response from a server.

While debugging VPN speed issues, throughput and latency plays a key role. By addressing issues related to one of these, you may see a substantial increase in VPN speed.

Below are a few ways you can boost VPN speed:

  • Internet connection diagnostic: Before troubleshooting speed of the VPN traffic, you may start out by testing speed without the VPN. There is a possibility that the internet speed itself might be an issue. If internet speed is an issue, then you can try exploring a wired-connection. A wired connection can provide considerable speed. To verify this, you can try a wired connection and check the internet speed as against Wi-Fi.
  • Firewall and other security software: Firewall and other security software can make your internet speed slower. These are utilities that constantly scanning incoming and outgoing traffic and filtering traffic, and this can result in slowness. To verify this, you can selectively disable some of this software while you are connected to VPN. This is a temporary solution wherein by making certain setting changes you can verify if this is causing the slowness.
  • Device switching: Certain older devices are not capable of providing high speed and could be adding to the slowness while being connected to the VPN. In such cases switching to another device can help in increasing the internet speed.
  • VPN server location: Certain VPN servers may tend to become congested based on the geographical location. Switching a server location can help boost VPN speed.

    Slowness in connection is also dependent on the distance of the VPN server. This is one of the reasons why most VPN providers suggest the closest VPN server to get connected.
  • Protocol: Most top-rated VPN providers support multiple VPN protocols such as OpenVPN, IKEv2, PPTP, L2TP etc. By exploring these options, you can determine the protocol that provides the most suitable speed. Switching between these protocols can help in boosting VPN speed. UDP provides a faster connection but has certain security risks. So before switching a protocol permanently, evaluate a tradeoff between speed and security. Before adjusting the encryption level, it's important to understand these protocols.
  • Restart: The most generic solution to slowness can be a device restart. Over a period, devices such as routers or modems tend to experience slowness. This can be due to issues in memory or cache. One way to fix this is by restarting the modem or router.

    A VPN on a router may also be a reason to experience slowness. In such cases, you can try adding a VPN on an individual device as opposed to adding on the router.
  • VPN provider: Certain VPN providers might be contributing to the slowness of speed. Read reviews before finalizing on choosing a VPN provider.

Conclusion

In most cases, switching to a closer VPN server and changing VPN protocol settings can improve your VPN speed. However, using a less secure protocol may compromise the benefits of using the VPN. Before making substantial changes to the VPN settings, its crucial to understand the various encryption standards.

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