Does Using a VPN Slow Down Internet Speed?

A virtual private network is a must-have tool for anyone who believes in unrestricted and private internet access, but some people experience slow speed, which makes a VPN undesirable. The internet speed is probably more important to you than to realize; most of us are pretty spoilt with just how fast it can be these days.

Virtual Private Network works to make your more secure and anonymous online. It does this by encrypting your personal information and sending it through servers in different locations, thereby making you appear elsewhere. VPN also provides you a new IP address, so your identity is hidden.

Since that means moving your information through more servers than usual and encrypting and decrypting information, it is logical that the process can impact your internet speed. But do not worry, it can affect it in a good way.

Does a VPN Slow Down Internet Speed?

It totally depends on the circumstances. You either run a VPN and notice no drop in online internet speed, or you might connect to a virtual private network to quickly see how your internet speed is taking a hit.

If you are connecting to a VPN server on the other side of the world, then the information has a lot further to travel, and with various server points, these can slow it down. However, you can get all the security of a virtual private network by connecting to your local servers, keeping you running fast.

In fact, some VPN services offer smart connections where it will work out the best server based on your location to provide you fastest internet speed possible.

Why Does a VPN Slow Down Internet Speed?

There are a wide variety of factors that you should consider when a VPN slows down the internet speed.

1. Location of the Server

Location of the Server
Location of the Server

The physical distance between you and your VPN server significantly influences the kind of VPN speed you will get. Why? Because it takes data packets longer to travel between you and the VPN server.

Simply put, the further you are located from the VPN server, the likelier it s your virtual private network speed will be a bit slower.

2. Server Bandwidth restrictions

If the virtual private network server you use has bandwidth restrictions, your speed might take a hit either when you go over your owed bandwidth or when the server is overcrowded. It is worth mentioning that the virtual private network server has a direct impact on your internet speed. The improved the quality of the server, the faster it can process things like encryption and web traffic, so the enhanced your speed will be.

3. Type of Encryption

Depending on how well-built the encryption of the virtual private network protocol you use is, it can cause your VPN speed to drop a bit. Do keep in mind this happens sometimes and other times. As a common rule of thumb, the OpenVPN protocol is the one you are likely to meet VPN speed drops with, while PPTP is the best one. However, PPTP is the riskiest protocol due to its lack of trustworthy encryption.

4. Firewall Interferences

Firewall Interferences
Firewall Interferences

Firewalls do not normally impact VPN speed, but they can get in the way if configured to interfere with VPN traffic or CPU performance. While we are on this blog, we should also mention that the power of your CPU can also influence your internet speed. If you have an old model, your internet speed might take a hit because the CPU has a more challenging time working on the encryption or decryption process.

5. Your Internet Speed

In the end, if your actual internet service provider speed is too slow, it is pretty much sure you will experience the same thing with a virtual private network. It is not much you can do in this case other than just getting a better connection plan from your internet service provider or switching ISPs if faster choices are available.

Can a VPN Speed Up My Connection?

A virtual private network can actually have you running faster online than a connection without the service. This is thanks to your ISP restrictions. At some times of the day, you may find that your internet service provider throttles connections. This can be because of some people online going up at that time of day. As a result, you may notice a fall in internet speed that could be as pronounced as your stream being lower quality. There are services available like NodeOne to boost and speed up the connection as well.

For example, using a virtual private network, your internet traffic will be routed through VPN, which means you bypass the speed restrictions your internet service provider has in place. In those instances, you could end up getting a faster internet connection and enjoying that video stream in all its full high-quality glory.

Free VPNs Can Slow You Down

VPNs Can Slow You Down
VPNs Can Slow You Down

If you have looked at the various choices but decided you have to go for a free VPN, that may work fine for your requirements. But it would not surprise you to hear that this can also affect your internet speed in some cases.

Often, free VPN will limit the vast number of servers available by non-paying users. This can create damage on those few servers, slowing them down for the free users. Other servers are available to paying customers who can get full-speed service in locations that are not under the stain. So, when it comes to internet connection using a VPN, it is often the case that you get what you pay for.

Can I test my internet speed?

Absolutely yes, There are a number of speed test softwares available online to check your internet speed. The best way to know if your VPN affects your internet is to test the speed while downloading a file both with your VPN off and on. You should be able to see right away how much your virtual private network changes your internet speed.

Can We do anything to increase Our internet speed?

If you are having difficulty with your internet speed, there are some practical things you can try to fix the issue before changing your internet service provider. Remember, a VPN will always slow your internet speed at least a little, but whether you notice the difference depends on various factors. Here is a list of few things you can improve your internet connection speed while using a VPN.

  • Restart your router
  • Restart your devices
  • Connect to a different VPN server
  • Use a wired connection
  • Select a VPN known for its high speed.

Best VPNs for Faster Internet Speed

All VPN services slow down your internet speed to some degree. It is a sacrifice you make for a safe and secure internet connection or for streaming your favorite movie from any location. TechNinjaPro will show you the top three fastest VPN services.

1. Surfshark

Surfshark VPN
Surfshark VPN

Surfshark is one of the fastest VPN services with the latest WireGuard protocol that results in significant speed improvements. Surfshark is a budget-friendly VPN that allows for an unlimited number of simultaneous connections with an average speed of 207 Mbps, making it a perfect choice for a family or group of friends with lots of devices.

It is excellent for streaming and can unblock HBO Max, Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, among others. Surfshark also provides 24/7 live chat support. Its apps are available for iOS, Android, Fire TV, macOS, Windows, and Linux.

2. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is another fastest VPN with an average download speed of 135 Mbps. While many VPN services jumped on the WireGuard technology to improve speed, ExpressVPN created its own open-source protocol dubbed Lightway, which has resulted in significant speed improvements, double and even triple bandwidth of OpenVPN without giving up digital privacy or security. ExpressVPN keeps no activity logs and provides 24/7 live chat support.

It effectively unblocks many streaming sites, including Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, HBO Max, and Netflix. ExpressVPN provides robust security features, including data leak prevention, strong encryption, and a kill switch.

3. NordVPN

NordVPN
NordVPN

NordVPN is one of the VPN providers that come close to ExpressVPN and Surfshark, pegging an average download speed of 115 Mbps. NordVPN improves its internet speed due to the launch of NordLynx, a custom VPN protocol built on WireGuard technology to deliver data more effectively without impacting privacy or security.

NordVPN also unblocks a broad range of streaming platforms, including Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Netflix. It also provides excellent security features, including untraceable military-grade 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and leak protection.

NordVPN apps are available for Fire TV, iOS, macOS, Windows, and Android.

Can a VPN Provide You improved Internet Speed?

A VPN service is not intended to provide you with improved internet speed, but there are two situations when using a VPN can enhance your internet connection speed.

Bandwidth Throttling

Suppose you are not aware of bandwidth throttling. In that case, internet service providers intentionally limit user bandwidth, which lowers connection speed. Internet service providers claim to combat network congestion at peak times to provide all customers a smooth experience.

Often, internet service providers throttle user bandwidth to pressure them into updating to a paid subscription or data plan. It does not usually happen daily, but it might happen weekly or monthly, Which is still noticeable. You are likely to become a victim of bandwidth throttling if you stream videos or download large files.

If you use a virtual private network and your traffic is encrypted, your ISP cannot monitor you. As a result, they cannot throttle your bandwidth. So, in this situation, you are liable to get excellent internet speed if you use a VPN.

Sloppy ISP Routing

Sloppy ISP Routing
Sloppy ISP Routing

If your internet service provider does not properly route your traffic, you might experience slow internet speed. Basically, the more significant and inefficient the traffic routing, the more noticeable the fall in speed. Luckily, if this the situation, a virtual private network can help you by hiding the starting point of your internet traffic and its destination.

Since your internet service provider cannot see where your traffic is coming from and where it is going, they could be likely to use a different routing path that might be more effective. This is more of an assumption, not a guarantee. However, it is the kind of situation when you can say you could enjoy excellent internet speed if you use a VPN.

Conclusion

Depending on various factors, a VPN may slow down internet speed for some users. However, there are numerous things you can do to improve your VPN speed. You can even use different VPN speed test tools to check whether you are getting a VPN speed or not.

Overall, TechNinjaPro provides a detailed guide about why a VPN slows down internet speed in this blog.

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