Many of us are looking to boost our online privacy as increasing reports of data leaks surface each day. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an indispensable and cost-effective way to achieve this. Speed is an important factor and one of the primary concerns for users deciding whether they wish to invest in a VPN.
While a VPN can go a long way in protecting your online security, if the speed your virtual network service provider gives is terrible, then you will not have an enjoyable online experience.
Stick around to find out what can affect your VPN speed.
What affects VPN Speed?
When you’re not using a VPN, your computer connects to your chosen website directly. On the other hand, if you have a VPN activated, your internet data is sent through an encrypted tunnel to a VPN server before it connects to the website you’re visiting.
Basically, this means that with a VPN, you are taking a detour, with extra steps such as encrypting and decrypting added to the process. It is, therefore, common that your internet speed slows down when you have a VPN active.
It should be noted that users that tend to stream and torrent or play games online may notice a drastic loss of speed regarding their internet connection. This is due to internet service providers throttling internet connections deliberately to discourage customers from using so much bandwidth.
So, with that said, let’s take a look at some of the main factors that can affect VPN speed.
Location of the VPN Server – we recommend connecting to a VPN server close to your location. The longer the distance between your location and the location of the server, the slower your VPN speed will be.
Level of Encryption – The same thing goes for encryption. Those VPNs that use 256-bit encryption are likely to be slower than those using 128-bit encryption. We don’t recommend choosing the lower level of encryption, though, as it results in a less secure VPN.
VPN Protocols – There are many different types of VPN protocols, including:
- OpenVPN TCP
- OpenVPN UDP
All of these protocols mean a change in speed. For example, OpenVPN UDP is typically faster than its OpenVPN TCP counterpart.
ISP Speed – A VPN can at best provide the same internet speed that you are allocated from your ISP. This means you should have a fast internet connection, to begin with, to achieve outstanding performance with your VPN.
Server Load – Your VPN speed depends on how many users are connected to your chosen VPN servers. If it is jam-packed beyond capacity, more often than not, your internet speed will slow to a crawl. To avoid this, look for a provider that offers information regarding their servers, including the bandwidth available and the percentage capacity.
How to Make Your VPN Faster
While choosing a server nearest to your location normally means you will have optimal performance, this isn’t always the case. If that server is located in a popular location such as New York, it might be overwhelmed with too many users.
Try connecting to a few different servers in neighboring countries. Also, don’t shy away from servers that might have higher latency or ping times as it doesn’t guarantee that the speed of your VPN will suffer.
Try a Wired Connection
Although Wi-Fi is greatly convenient, it can slow things down, particularly if you have neighbors that are competing for the same channels.
If you can, try a wired option as you will most likely experience a boost in bandwidth and speed.
Split your Tunnels
Most VPNs will encrypt all of your online traffic to ensure that there are no privacy leaks. However, you can split your browsing and other non-essential data so that it doesn’t go through the VPN tunnel.
By reducing VPN traffic you will be able to improve VPN speed, allowing you to securely access the internet when it comes to your sensitive data, but allow other apps to work outside of the VPN tunnel.
There are a lot of aspects that need to be taken into consideration when looking at VPN speed. One of the main factors is your initial internet connection speed. Others include the types of security protocols and encryption levels you choose, as well as the distance between your location and where your VPN server is.