Does a VPN Slow Down the Internet? In-depth Analysis

Arsalan Rathore

June 22, 2022
Updated on June 22, 2022
Does a VPN Slow Down the Internet? In-depth Analysis

We often hear someone blaming the VPN provider for slow internet speed. But does a VPN slow down the internet?

Well, if you are using a premium VPN with highly optimized servers like Astrill, then it seems this whole notion is a myth only. VPNs are supposed to encrypt your traffic and provide you secure connection and unlimited bandwidth. Taking it all into account, a VPN hindering internet speed does not sound genuine. 

However, there can be some exceptional cases where a user is connected to a VPN server and is facing lags. Why does it happen, and how can you counter it? Let’s dive into that! 

Why does my internet speed slow down when using vpn?

A VPN is supposed to provide you with a secure and highly optimized server enabling you to enjoy seamless browsing and streaming. However, there are usually four things that can affect your internet speed: 

Causes for decrease in internet speed

1. Distance to a server

The distance between your location and the server you are connecting to matters greatly. For example, if your actual location is Vietnam and you are connected to a New Zealand server, you might face some latency. 

This latency is because the distance for the data packet’s traveling is significant, which is why the latency may occur. If you try connecting to a server near your actual location, then you may not face any decrease in speed.

2. Load on a Server

The internet speed decreases when too many people are connected to one server. 

As the number of people using the same server increases, it affects the bandwidth, and the connection speed decreases. 

This kind of issue is prevalent with free and slow VPNs that only have a few servers, and they pack all the traffic on those servers, causing an overload. On the other hand, premium VPNs have a great variety of servers, which is why a load of traffic on servers is not an issue and users do not experience any lag.

3. Quality of encryption

VPNs rely heavily on encryption. It protects your web traffic from hackers and spying eyes, maintaining your privacy and allowing you to enjoy browsing anonymously. Every VPN provider handles different encryption protocols. If the encryption is not done correctly, it can result in latency.

Premium VPNs use AES 256-bit encryption, the robust block cipher algorithm. Some VPNs use 128-bit and 192-bit encryption as well. The higher the encryption level, the more reliable the data protection and the speed of data packet transfer.

4. Internet speed offered by your ISP

One of the most critical factors affecting internet speed is the bandwidth offered by your ISP. When you use a VPN, your bandwidth cannot be throttled by your ISP, but you are still dependent on the internet speed provided by your ISP. 

If you are using low-speed internet, then it is obvious that you will be facing latency. Also, if you are using a free VPN provider, the chances of facing sluggish speeds are high. Free VPN providers do not offer good bandwidth and speed, nor do they allow you to bypass ISP throttling. 

Can a VPN make your internet faster?

Yes, a VPN can make your internet faster, provided you are using a premium VPN such as Astrill, which has highly optimized servers and offers unlimited bandwidth. Also, with a premium VPN, you can bypass ISP throttling and enjoy seamless browsing and streaming. 

A VPN encrypts your traffic and provides your safety from external threats. It also provides you with a great variety of servers to choose from. This way, you can switch between various servers and select any server that suits your needs and offers the best speed. 

7 tips to make your VPN faster

When using a VPN, you can expect your internet speed to lower because your traffic is passed through various steps. However, there are 7 tips for enjoying faster internet speed when using a VPN: 

1. Check your internet speed

Check your internet speed before you connect to a VPN server; this way, you will know the speed you are getting over an unsecured connection. Then, connect to a VPN and check if the speed has dropped or improved.

If your internet speed before connecting to the VPN is low, then do not expect it to be better when you connect to a VPN. That is because the internet speed you are getting from your ISP is already not up to the mark, and there’s no way a VPN can help you in this regard. However, a VPN will improve your connection speed if you are getting a good speed or your bandwidth is being throttled. 

2. Adjust your protocol settings

Astrill VPN and other premium VPNs come with numerous security protocols, each significant for a specific purpose. If you face any lags while using the VPN, you can simply adjust your VPN protocol. It has various options like OpenWeb, Stealth VPN, and WireGuard

You can try switching between these modes to see which works perfectly for you. Every mode is designed for specific reasons, but that does not mean you cannot use it for anything else. All of these protocols provide extreme protection and unparalleled performance. 

3. Modify your encryption 

If you are using a VPN offering multiple encryption levels, then you can calibrate the encryption and see if it improves your internet speed. Astrill VPN uses 256-bit SSL, the most secure and fastest encryption protocol, and does not slow down your internet. 

4. Restart your router/modem and your devices

Another thing you can try is doing the traditional “turn it off and on” technique. Restarting the modem or your router may very well solve your speed issue. That’s because sometimes the internal memory of the router/ modem needs to be flushed. After all, it gets loaded over time. 

5: Change your server location

You may experience lags when you’re connected to a particular VPN server. Try changing your server and running a speed test. Sometimes the load on the server increases, causing a decrease in the speed. You don’t have to worry about it because Astrill offers VPN servers in 106 cities across 56 countries; you can connect to any server and enjoy browsing. 

6: Turn off the firewall and other local security software

Your anti-virus and your system’s firewall can also be a reason for sluggish internet speed. This is because all the outgoing and incoming data are being filtered through them. This filtration of data creates lags. 

You can switch off your firewall and anti-virus to test whether it improves your overall internet speed. 

7: Don’t use a free VPN

Free VPNs do not offer good bandwidth, nor do they have security protocols and reliable encryption. Also, the servers they offer are not well optimized and have a high traffic load. People tend to use free VPNs more, so you can imagine how much load on the servers of free VPNs will be compared to the premium VPNs. 

Also, there are a lot of connectivity issues with free VPNs, which is something that’ll keep bugging you constantly. Therefore, do not opt for a free VPN; instead, subscribe to a premium VPN offering fast-speed servers and unlimited bandwidth. 

How to make your VPN faster

Does a VPN Solve Buffering Issues?

The main reason behind buffering issues is ISP throttling, and you can bypass it by using a VPN. What happens is that ISPs keep track of your activity, and when they see you consuming a high volume of bandwidth, they start throttling it. 

Nevertheless, when you are using a VPN, your ISP loses that control over your bandwidth and cannot throttle it. This allows you to stream and browse freely without any lags. It will also debunk the question ‘does vpn affect internet speed’ once and for all. 

How to check your Internet speed With a VPN Connected?

Follow these steps to check your Internet speed with a VPN connected:

  1. Before connecting to a VPN, go to “https://www.speedtest.net/” and click “GO”
  2. Note the upload and download speed you’re getting over your unsecured network. 
  3. Now connect to a VPN server and go to “https://www.speedtest.net/” again. 
  4. Click “GO” and note the upload and download speed you get with a VPN connection. 

This will clarify whether you’re getting better internet speed with or without a VPN and also answer the question ‘does vpn slow down internet’. Let’s try this:

I’m currently located in Australia, and this is the speed I’m getting over here over my unsecured network:

Astrill vpn speed

After connecting to a server in the UK, this is the speed I’m getting: 

Astrill vpn speed

My overall speed has improved after connecting to the VPN server in the UK. As you can see, my Ping went down significantly, and my upload speed improved. 

Conclusion

By now, you would have had the idea that using a VPN may slow down your internet under a few particular circumstances, but overall it improves the speed. It also depends on which VPN you are using. If you are using a free VPN, then it will hamper your overall experience. 

If you are using Astrill, you will not encounter any latency issues, nor will you face any security issues. Astrill has highly optimized servers that protect your data through military-grade encryption and provide unlimited bandwidth. 

Author: Arsalan Rathore

Arsalan Rathore is a tech geek who loves to pen down his thoughts and views on cybersecurity, technology innovation, entertainment, and social issues. He likes sharing his thoughts about the emerging tech trends in the market and also loves discussing online privacy issues.

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