Online privacy and security are some of the primary concerns for everyone in the world today. You want to protect your privacy and security online, but you also need the internet to work fast. For regular users and people shopping for a VPN service, “Does VPN slow down the internet?” is one of their main concerns!
Currently, there is a lot of activities that we conduct online including sensitive ones. The internet is a scary place. It’s full of hackers, scammers, and identity thieves just waiting to get their hands on your personal information. Thus, many users have acquired VPN services to ensure their privacy and security are taken care of.
Many people are concerned about how much their internet speed will suffer when they install a VPN app on their computer or phone or set it up on a router. And then there’s the issue with finding the best VPN provider for your needs and budget.
What is VPN?
You are probably using a VPN service, but you don’t really know what it is and how does it work for your benefit. With the Internet becoming more crowded each day, people are getting increasingly concerned about their privacy and security online.
But there is hope! You can protect yourself with a VPN (Virtual Private Network). A VPN allows you to browse the web anonymously without anyone being able to see what you do online. This will help keep your sensitive data safe from prying eyes.
A virtual private network (VPN) extends a private network across a public one like the internet. It enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network while benefiting from the functionality, security, and management policies of the private network.
There are many reasons why people use VPNs such as accessing blocked content by geo-blocking websites or services; protecting personal privacy by hiding their IP address; bypassing censorship restrictions; securing wireless hotspots without sacrificing speed due to encryption overhead, and connecting multiple devices with single account credentials for businesses who have remote workers requiring access anywhere in the world among others.
Do I need a VPN?
Many of us want to be anonymous online and that is why we use VPN services. However, not everyone knows how a VPN works or what it does.
A lot of people are still confused about whether they need a VPN service and if so, which one to get. VPN services differ from provider to provider based on main features, benefits, pricing plans among other factors.
If the matter of privacy and security are important for you, your family, or your documents then you need a VPN. However, some may not need a VPN service if you do not need anonymity or you do not need to access documents or materials in a private manner.
You can install VPN on a router, computer, smartphone, tablet, and other devices. This will ensure that you get privacy on private and public networks.
Does VPN slow down the internet?
According to research carried out across several VPN providers and devices by our team, it is true that VPN can slow down the internet. However, the decrease in internet speed varies from one provider to the other, across different devices and also depending on the internet plan you are using.
Our findings reported a slow down in internet speeds by VPN services by 10% to 30% if your VPN server is nearby and by up to 60% if the server is very far. That is why most of the best VPN providers have invested in servers spread throughout the Globe.
A VPN service will slow down the internet because of the additional steps that your connection will have to go through before reaching your devices. This adds steps to your internet connection that were not there before.
The steps that the VPN service adds include rerouting the information to a remote server and encryption. This will however be hardly noticeable when you use a premium VPN. This is because they are designed to reduce the impact of internet latency.
Why does my internet speed slow down when using VPN?
Many people using a private VPN or work VPN report that it is slow at home. As discussed above, you should expect internet speed to slow down when using a VPN. This is because of the steps that your data passes through between the ISP and your devices and back.
Some of these steps include the encryption process and information passing through a remote server before reaching your devices and back. These steps ensure that you get privacy since the steps help to mask the location of the devices.
In addition, your VPN server might have bandwidth limitations. Whether the server you use has bandwidth limitations will also affect your internet speed especially when using some VPN providers.
Whether you have router VPNs or VPNs installed on your devices like laptops, phones, or tablets it is important to ensure you are getting the best provider. Thus a good provider will ensure you get fast internet in your home or office.
When choosing a VPN server- How far should it be?
Some of the VPN providers automatically choose the nearest VPN server for you. However, some VPN providers will give you the option to choose the VPN server location. This means you can choose a VPN server on the other side of the globe.
When you choose a VPN server on the other side of the Globe, it means that your location will be concealed fully but you will experience latency in your connection. The slowed speeds will limit real time activites more including live streaming, gaming, and online meetings.
Therefore, it is prudent to choose a VPN server located in a neighboring city or state. That way you are assured of privacy and better internet speeds especially if you are not too concerned about the location of the server.
How do the different VPN providers compare on effects on internet speed?
There are many VPN providers out there, each promising a great service with top speeds. However, as we all know too well; not every promise is kept. In fact, most of them don’t even deliver half of what they promise!
We’ve tested hundreds of VPN services over the years and found that the top 3 fastest VPN services in 2018 according to Speedtest.net – HideMyAss, NordVPN, and ExpressVPN offers the best combination of speed and security for normal usage (Netflix streaming or torrenting). The three are affordable options too.
These providers are excellent for most devices. However, you can choose the best router for ExpressVPN or an exceptional NordVPN router in order to enjoy the excellent speeds.
My VPN is slow, what can I do to make it faster?
We have talked about choosing the best VPN provider for a fast internet connection and also choosing a server that is in a neighboring city or state as two actions that can increase internet speeds when using a VPN. However, what other actions can you take to increase internet speeds:
Change of VPN protocol/ port
The VPN provider connects your devices to the servers using a specific protocol (UDP or TCP). The connection on the server uses a specific port number. Changing the port/ or protocol can help you to determine a combination that offers the fastest VPN connection. However, this will work for some networks since they restrict the speeds of certain ports or protocols.
Use of wired devices
Connecting your devices to a wired router or to the Ethernet ports of your wireless router can help to speed up your connection. This is because your Wi-Fi connection may be limiting your connection.
A wired connection is not limited by obstacles or range unlike Wi-Fi connections. You can therefore use wired connections to connect to the devices in your home requiring faster connections.
Change of devices
Some devices such as routers, NAS, older Android devices, and early generation iOS phones and tablets may not support fast speeds when connected to a VPN service. This may be because of the heavy encryption overhead of the VPN tunnel.
If you have such a device, you can switch to a device that can support a VPN service and a fast internet speed. This means getting a device with a capable processor or a newer model.
Restart the router/ Modem router and device
When you restart the router or modem ensures that the system is able to function optimally. This is because your router may be experiencing memory leaks, slowdown of the system, or cooling problems.
Therefore, rebooting the router may increase the internet speed at your home when using a VPN.
You can also restart the devices you are using the VPN on. This will ensure that the device is able to reboot and function optimally.
Ensure that the router firmware is updated
When your router’s firmware is not updated, it may slow down the internet connection. It also leaves your router vulnerable to viruses and malware attacks. It is therefore important to keep on checking if your router manufacturer has released a firmware update.
Some routers get automatic updates while others have to be updated manually. The update is able to initiate fixes to your system. In addition, firmware may improve the router performance when using VPN or not. These quality improvements may be tied to security or not.
In addition, you can check if your devices be it a laptop, tablet, or smartphone has a software update. If available it is great to keep the devices up to date.
Disable the firewall temporarily or the security software
When you are using an anti-virus or firewall on your router or devices, it may slow down the internet speed when using a VPN. This is because the antivirus or firewall slows down the VPN traffic. The action is done by filtering or scanning the outgoing data packets.
If you are experiencing a slow internet connection with your VPN, you can temporarily disable the security software on your devices. Do the test of internet speed and determine if the security software is slowing your connection.
We now know that the VPN service can slow down the internet connection in your home or office. However, the level of a slowdown is dependent on several factors including the encryption, server location, VPN type, and devices being used.
Therefore, it is good to consider getting a premium VPN service even though at a budget. In addition, you can consider the tips above to increase the speed of your internet when using a VPN.
For this to happen, you need to have updated devices including routers. This ensures that you get safety and privacy at home or office without much compromise on speed.