Does A VPN Slow Down Internet Connection?


Sometimes, you must have noticed that after using the VPN option, the internet boggles down. But, at the same time, your sibling sitting next to you is enjoying the seamless VPN services freely. 

This situation confuses the internet user whether VPN slows down the internet or is it just a myth at best? Let’s delve into the nitty-gritty to know the right answer.

Know the Mechanism Behind this Slow Down!

In technical terms, this slowdown is caused by increased latency. Latency is defined as the time duration between user action and the resulting response. For example, the user clicks on a video, the browser plays the video after several minutes of being clicked. It means that the user’s action is experiencing a significant amount of latency. 

Quick Fact: Some VPNs do increase the latency owing to the following reasons. 

Remote VPN Server Locations

Latency is increased when VPN is using the servers far away from your physical presence. The remote location of the server puts in additional travel time for responses and requests. For Example, Sylvester is a corporate user in Cape Town, South Africa while he is using a USA-based VPN service. This way, every time he sends a request, the request travels through two continents, hits the servers located in Silicon Valley, and then the VPN server conveys that request to the original servers, and finally, Sylvester gets a response on his PC. 

The drill remains the same even if Sylvester tries to connect a server located in the data center at his building. Resultantly, the latency remains the same. Technically, this term is known as the Trombone Effect.       

Server Load

Another culprit behind this increased latency is server load. VPN servers often experience server load issues. Suppose, Bob is trying to connect the VPN server at the same time as 10,000 other users. Nevertheless, the server can cater to only 1,000 users. Other than the sanctioned 1,000 person workload, the other 9,000 will automatically be put on waiting, queuing, or refusing requests. This experience is a common occurrence with free VPN services. 

Encryption

The core function of VPN is encryption. These algorithm-based procedures take adequate time. The sophisticated and foolproof encryption requires more time considering the complex algorithms behind the scenes. Whatever the type of encryption, it adds noticeable latency to internet speed.  Simply, there is a tradeoff between latency and VPN encryption potency, as secure encryption protocols are always time-consuming.  

Know the Flip Rosy Side

Upbeat Fact:

In some circumstances, VPN can also speed up the internet speed. 

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) might throttle the internet speed if the client is consuming too much bandwidth. In this case, VPN helps you become invisible to the ISP. Now, the service provider does not know when to choke you. This extra kick is all because of mystic VPN. 

As now we have both sides of the argument at hand; it concludes that VPN is not the actual culprit. The problem lies with the mismatching VPNs only. 

So, you must sort out the problematic VPNs from your toolkit! 

How to Know if a VPN is Slowing Down Your Internet

Checking this fact is super simple and takes just a few moments to determine whether this particular VPN is affecting your internet speed or not. 

  1. First of all, you should connect to an internet speed test website. Many would easily be accessed with a single click. Run the first test without a VPN. You will get the baseline speed. 
  2. Now, connect to a VPN server, and run the test again. You will get some other results this time. 
  3. Now, compare the baseline and test results. The latency will erupt out on its own. 
  4. You can also opt in to some other experiments like connecting to VPNs that are further and further away. You will automatically observe a pattern where the remoteness of the VPN server results in speed bumps. 

How to Avoid VPN Internet Slowdowns

After knowing all this reality-check, the requirement of the VPN cannot be shunned right away. Some sure-fire tricks can help you avoid internet slowdowns aptly without any hassle. Try them out for the optimal user experience.  

Switch to the Nearest Server Location

As we have already described the tradeoff between the latency and remote location. The easiest way is to switch to the nearest server location. Different online applications automatically trace out the nearest VPN server in connection with your physical presence. 

Test a different protocol

As different VPNs encryption philosophy is different. All adopt different strategies to encrypt. Hoping on the encryption protocols will be helpful in this regard. For example, OpenVPN sacrifices resources to enhance foolproof security. So, you can switch to some other like IKEv2 to maximize the speed without compromising the security aspect. 

Mess with TCP-UDP

Some VPNs allow the switch between UDP (User Datagram Protocol) and TCP (Transmission Control Protocol). The switch allows upward fluctuations to see internet speed becoming faster. 

Check Multihop

Although not all VPN servers support this feature, some do allow the Multihop that connects two servers simultaneously. No matter, these two are located in two different physical locations, your slow internet problem can still be solved readily. 

How?

MultiHop intelligently selects the most viable VPN connection. It assesses the real-time traffic as well as server load for better infrastructure. Finally, your connection automatically redirects to the most suitable. 

Reboot the Device

There are some moments in life when a deep pause is necessary. Your PC, tablet, phone, or whatever you are using might be exhausted. Give it a healing touch by rebooting. This way, the software glitches die down on their own. 

Restart the Router

The hackneyed trick “Try Turning Off and On” is still relevant. The problem may lie at the Router’s end. Hence, you may try the turn-off-on trick there. It might also resolve the internet speed issue. 

Ditch some Problematic Software

Some software might not be compatible with your selected VPN or overall infrastructure. As some software consumes unnecessary bandwidth, it is crucial to switch off these programs. 

Get wired

Wi-Fi is convenient thanks to the premium on agility. Nonetheless, WiFi has its own set of compulsions as the connection is hitched through the multilayers. The multiple channels make the process a bit too tricky. Switching to the wired option increases the speed of the internet. So if it is an option available, do avail it. 

Disable Local Security Software

Antivirus software or Firewall can slow down the traffic by deeply scanning or filtering the outgoing packets. Disabling the security software might be helpful to thwart this type of anomaly. 

Install Device Updates

Device updates might be a hindrance to fast internet speed. If your device is not responding well without any cogent reason then the firmware updates may give a way out.

Move on from Free VPNs 

Free VPNs are a tempting option, but not all lunches are for free. Most VPNs that are free have restricted server space. This compulsion directly translates into slow speed, less security, and poor stability. On the other hand, charged VPN services provide a bit better quality. The business model is customer-centered and focuses on better service including swift speed. 

Check for Split Tunneling 

Split Tunneling is a relatively new feature that is introduced by some of the cutting-edge VPN services. Through this tool, the internet traffic can be divided into encrypted and unencrypted ones. For example, you can opt into the apps whose data is required to go through the VPN channel while the rest of the apps can directly connect to the internet. Implementation of this SOP automatically enhances the speed by reducing the traffic. 

Advanced options

Besides the basic steps of tinkering, there are some advanced options too. If the basic options do not work then you can resort to the advanced options. 

  • To detect the congestion that is delaying the traffic, you can run traceroute software. Tracerouting the host gives you a clear sketch of the path of VPN. Then, you can pick the path of your own choice that is clear from congestion. 
  • You can also try overriding the DNS with third-party DNS servers. These DNS servers stave off the possibility of privacy leaks. Resultantly, the performance issues can be solved to some extent. 
  • Adjusting MTU might be helpful too. However, you will have to research a bit about the performance of the best MTU. 

FAQs

What is considered a good speed for the internet? 

There is not a set criterion. The term good depends on your activities. However, on average, 25-30 Mbps is considered a good speed. Still, it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario. The usage also depends upon the number of internet-connected devices, types of internet activities, as well as requirements of live streaming. 

Which country has the fastest connection?

As of 2022, South Korea possesses the fastest average internet speed hitting the lightning speed of 26.7 Mbps. The global speed ticks in at 5.5 Mbps. In South Korea, an HD movie is downloaded in seconds rather than in tedious hours. Sweden ranks second (19.5 Mbps), followed by Norway, Japan, and the Netherlands. 

Summary

In sum, internet speed slows down when you are hitched with the wrong VPN server. Nevertheless, there are many ways out. These smart solutions can level up the speed issues. This way, you can enjoy security and confidentiality without giving a dent to the speed grade. So it is crystal clear that the problem lies with the wrong choice rather than the VPN service itself. 

You must also remember that only the quality VPN like Fast VPN will give you the performance you desire. Eventually choosing the right VPN makes all the difference

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