Does VPN Slow Down Internet? How to Speed Up Your Internet

Does VPN Slow Down Internet? How to Speed Up Your Internet. We live in a world where our online presence has become an integral part of our work, entertainment, and social lives. The scary thing is that there are other users, malicious intent, who are on the prowl for unsecured connections between us and our online resources.

One of the best ways of protecting our identity, our digital devices, and the data that is stored on them is by using a VPN. Unfortunately, this is not without a price – slower Internet connection speeds.

With the question whether VPN slows down your Internet, let’s begin with understanding what is VPN

What is a VPN?

The acronym VPN stands for a Virtual Private Network. It is an encrypted connection made over the Internet from a computer or mobile device.

How does a VPN work
How does a VPN work

It helps users protect their sensitive data from being intercepted as it is being transmitted by stopping unauthorized persons from eavesdropping on the packets. A VPN also allows users to connect to their remote networks without the risk of having malicious users or software listening in on the connection.

Benefits of using a VPN?

A VPN offers security. If you’re concerned about protecting your digital data from hackers – whether it is on your computer or your use that computer to access it online – you will need to use a VPN.

Other cases where you might need to use a VPN include accessing suspicious websites. Now, although the first bit of advice anyone should consider is to avoid such sites, there might be a reason why you need to access them, despite the risk.

In some countries, access to some websites – as legitimate as they may be – could be blocked due to political or censorship reasons. If you think that you need to access such websites, when you are in one of these countries, then you would be wise to use a VPN.

Finally, there are certain individuals whose work puts them under the surveillance of states or other political entities. Such people include investigative journalists and activists. To protect their work, they need to use VPNs.

When using VPN the data is encrypted, that adds additional benefit on top of security. Other on top features can  protect you from malware.

A VPN allows you to securely connect remotely.

It allows you to save money by finding better deals (cheaper software subscription or streaming services).

VPN can Spoof Your Location

A VPN can help by obscuring your ISP ( Internet Service Provider) address from your own ISP.

Note: while a VPN does provide you with a certain amount of security and anonymity, it isn’t 100 percent foolproof. Entities with higher computing powers – yes, we are talking about governments – can still track you. So, the best defense here would be to stay on the legal side of the law at all times. Or, you could try using a carrier pigeon.

Does VPN Slow Down Internet?

The short answer is, “Yes!

A VPN has three main functions – anonymizing you, encrypting your Internet connection, and finding a way to bypass a restricted path. As can be imagined, these processes affect the connection speed.

It is estimated that connection speeds drop by 10 to 20 percent when a VPN is used.

Factors to consider when choosing a VPN?

There are several options to consider when it comes to slow VPN connections. Let’s have a look at some:

Cost benefit analysis – is it worth it?

The simple fact that you are getting a critical service for free, should make it OK for you to experience a little lag in your connection.

Also, unless you are streaming a video in 1080p Full HD or moving a large file, the average VPN speeds should be enough. Common tasks like emailing and video calling can be performed using almost any VPN.

Pay for a fast VPN service

One thing you can be sure of is that free VPNs will slow your Internet connection down. After all, they are offering a service that must have a compromise – because they aren’t making money from it. So, our advice here would be to go premium.

Alternatively, you can either:

    • Find a fast, free VPN – a quick search online will yield numerous free VPNs. Some of them integrate into your web browser. Others can be downloaded as applications. And still others like Tor Browser come as standalone solutions that offer both browser and VPN server services. Or, 
    • Opt for trial periods – many VPNs can be used for free for a limited amount of time. While some don’t ask for payment upfront, others come with a money-back guarantee after a trial period. You can keep switching between these VPNs.

Again, it is up to you to decide whether you should pay for a premium VPN service – which is faster – or stick with a free one, and accept the slower speeds.

Connect to your nearest VPN server

The best VPN service providers are the ones that have a selection of servers for clients to connect to. This helps speed up the connection as your computer will be routed to a server that is nearer to your location.

Alternatively, you can choose a server that is closer to the destination website you are trying to access. In some instances, you might even need to connect to a server located in a certain country before you are allowed to connect to a geo-blocking service provider. A good example? Netflix.

Choose a less-crowded server

VPN service providers often have more than one server you can connect to. If you can find the sweet spot – a server that is less crowded, and still nearer to your location – then that will be the winning choice.

Increase your bandwidth

One way to increase your connection speed would be to compensate for the loss by subscribing to a faster package. With a faster Internet connection, you might not notice the lag as much.

Opt for a lower encryption

There are two main types of encryption algorithms – AES-128 and AES-256. While it is a good idea to use 256-bit encryption, it will come at a price – your connection speed will be slower. Therefore, unless you’re trying to send spook stuff, the Average Joe can stay protected using 128-bit encryption.

Select a faster VPN protocol

There are four VPN protocols – they are PPTP, IPSec IKEv2, OpenVPN, and WireGuard. They all serve different purposes and have their unique pros and cons. But, in general, using WireGuard offers the fastest overall performance. Therefore, using this communication protocol – and open-source software – results in faster connection speeds without compromising on security.

How to Speed Up Your Internet

ProtonVPN - The fastest free VPN for 2022

If you want our recommendation for the best free VPN in 2022 – and at the time of writing – we would recommend ProtonVPN.

Note: we are neither affiliated to nor endorsed by ProtonVPN – readers are advised to use ProtonVPN at their own discretion.

Some of the reasons for choosing ProtonVPN are:

    • It protects everything – PCs, Macs, smartphones, and routers.
    • There is no limit on the amount of data a free subscriber may use.
    • Although free users are limited to just a single simultaneous connection, they do have access to 24 VPN servers located in three countries – the USA, Japan, and the Netherlands to be more precise – spread across three continents.
    • A kill switch ensures users’ IP addresses are always protected – even when they lose connection to the VPN server.
    • The company is based in Switzerland, which means that strong privacy laws protect users from having their data being accessed by, or shared with, any third-party bodies including governments.
    • Also, the company has a zero logging policy meaning they do not keep their users browsing history or other online activities.

Close competitors include SoftEther VPN for personal use and Google Cloud Platform VPN (GCP VPN) for cloud infrastructures.

Does VPN Slow Down Internet? How to Speed Up Your Internet Conclusion

Every single time you go online, you stand the risk of losing data or your privacy. A VPN offers some protection against such breaches of privacy and data. We recommend you use a VPN that is fast, secure, and affordable.

But, apart from simply installing a VPN, there could be more measures you can take, especially in a corporate environment that will help keep your business and users safe. The best thing to do is hire professionals or a consultant to assess and remedy your security issues.

If you have network security concerns or need advice on you can ensure the privacy of your users, we can help – just drop us an email.

Avatar for Liku Zelleke
Liku Zelleke

Liku Zelleke is a technology blogger who has over two decades experience in the IT industry. He hasn’t looked back since the day, years ago, when he discovered he could combine that experience with his other passion: writing. Today, he writes on topics related to network configuration, optimization, and security for Cloud Infrastructure Services.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x