Many people use VPNs to stream content or for downloading. If this is the case, then having a slow VPN is a big problem. If you are wondering “Why is my VPN so slow?” there are a few different things that could be causing these less than optimal speeds.
Essentially, the problem could be with your VPN, with your computer, or with your network. By using the tips below you should be able to isolate the problem and maximize the speeds you can get from your VPN.
Reasons Why Your VPN Might Be Slow
Using a VPN will usually result in a slower internet connection than when you browse without one. While it may be not noticeable during normal internet use, if you are downloading files, streaming video, or playing games you may discover that your VPN speed is not up to scratch.
There are a number of reasons why browsing the internet with a VPN can be slow. The first is the fact that your VPN encrypts all your data. While this obviously has many benefits in relation to security, all that encryption does come at a price.
Encryption takes time, and while it may not be much, it can certainly be enough to slow down your connection. How much slower is entirely dependent on the level of encryption you choose. If you aren’t that worried about security choosing a VPN with a lower level of encryption could improve your speeds.
VPN Server In The Wrong Location
The second reason that using a VPN may cause your internet to slow down is quite simply the fact that when you route your traffic through a VPN server it has travel further. When using a VPN instead of going straight from your network to the website server and back again, your data will leave your network, pass through your VPN server, travel on to the website server, pass back through the VPN server, before finally arriving at your computer.
How much slower the speeds you experience are will depend on the server you choose. For example, if you live in New York, use a VPN server in New York, and access a website whose servers are in New York, you likely won’t notice that much of a slowdown.
On the other hand, if you live in New York, use a VPN server based in Tokyo, and are accessing a website based in Sydney, the lag you experience will likely be much increased.
While these are the most common reasons that your VPN may be slow, the slowness you are experiencing may also be due to a congested VPN server, the equipment you are using or simply the fact that your internet isn’t very fast to begin with.
7 Tips To Make Your VPN Faster
1. Change The VPN Server Location You Use
As you will have seen in the above example, the server you use can make a big difference to the speeds you get from your VPN. To get the fastest speeds possible you should choose a VPN server that will reduce the distance your data has to travel.
Ideally, the VPN server you use will either be very close to you websites final destination or alternatively close to your current location. Now, as there is a fairly high chance that you don't know where the site is located, choosing a VPN close to your current location will likely be the best option. Most VPN providers these days have a large number of VPN servers that you can use and that are located throughout the world.
This means that if you are experiencing speeds that are too slow, you can always try connecting to different servers to see if any of them improve the speeds that you get.
2. Change The Security Protocol You Use
The other big difference to the speeds you get when using a VPN is the encryption level. If you want to improve your speeds you could always try a VPN that uses a lower level of encryption.
For example, instead of using OpenVPN you could try L2TP/IPSec. It should be noted though that using a VPN with a lower level of encryption will reduce the security of your data.
Because of this, if security is your top priority you should either try one of the other tips on this list or just accept the fact that when using a secure VPN your connection will be a bit slower.
3. Check Your Internet And Compare
While it is easy to blame a VPN for slow internet speeds, what if the problem is simply that your network speeds aren’t that fast anyway?
Before blaming your VPN, you can try things such as:
- Making sure that you have a good congestion-free connection
- Resetting your modem/router
- Simply connecting to your network via an Ethernet connection
By getting a speed boost on your end, you may discover that this also translates to better speeds when using your VPN.
To test out how much your VPN is slowing your internet down (if at all), you could use a website like speedtest.net. By performing a test both with and without the VPN you will be able to see where the problem really lies.
Speedtest.net In Full Flow...
4. Check Your Computer
Like with checking your internet, the problem may simply be with your device. If your computer is running slowly, this may cause your VPN to do the same.
There a number of things you can do including simply restarting your computer, running a virus check, and updating your VPN software.
One surefire way to check if the problem is with your computer is to install the VPN onto another device. For example, a smartphone or a tablet. If you get faster speeds when using the VPN on a second device, the problem is most likely to be with your computer.
5. Change Your Internet Protocol
Switching from TCP to UDP when using your VPN can make a difference to the final speeds you are able to get.
In general, when sending data, TCP requires confirmation from the website you are accessing that the data sent by your computer arrived before sending the next packet of data. UDP, on the other hand, doesn’t require this check which can make it faster yet less reliable.
As such UDP is generally faster so if you are using TCP it could be worth switching to UDP when using a VPN.
6. Change Your VPN Provider
The final solution is changing your VPN provider. Not every VPN is built equally and it could simply be the case that the VPN you are currently using isn’t very good. This is especially true if you are using a free VPN, in fact, on a free VPN your speeds may even be being purposefully throttled.
Most VPNs allow you to pay by the month and some even offer free trial/money back guarantees so if you aren’t happy with your current VPN you can always switch to another with relatively low risk.
7. Look At Your Computer’s Security Software
This is less likely to impact speed, but, devices such as firewalls can often slow down a VPN as it filters all your data to ensure there are no problems. Because of this, it could be worth seeing if this makes a difference to the speeds your receive.
As well as this, things such as browser add-ons from your security software can also cause your internet speeds to be slightly slower. Switching these off could improve the speeds you get.
Now, there is one problem with all this. If you are using a VPN, the chances are you are using it to improve your security when browsing the web. If this is the case, in all likeliness you don’t really want to be turning all your security software off when using a VPN. As such, you will probably be better off trying some of the other options on this list.
There are many potential reasons for a slow VPN connection. This could be to do with the VPN itself, with slow speeds on your end or with the settings of the VPN you are using.
Playing around with some of the above tips can help you find out exactly what the problem is and get the best speeds possible from your VPN.
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions about why your VPN speeds are slow, please let us know in the comment section below.