As great as VPNs are, there is one flaw even great VPNs sometimes have: they can slow your connection down significantly. The problem arises because of the way VPNs are made and how they work.
What VPNs do is encrypt the internet connection by routing your traffic through a remotely located server.
The VPN services allow you to do nifty things like unlock content not available in your country, bypass government restrictions, or protect yourself from the snooping of your ISP; the long-winded nature of this exchange often means your connection with a VPN is slower than it would be otherwise.
It is this extra step that also plays a role in slowing down your connection speed when using a VPN. Encrypting and decrypting data when traveling between the VPN server and your device is a time-consuming process.
Your connection speeds can also be slowed down by other elements, such as the VPN protocol being used or the amount of traffic passing through the remote server you’re connected to.
While this drop in speed is usually imperceptible during normal internet usage, high-intensity, rapid exchange activities like streaming videos or playing online can be affected.
Even a small delay in the transmission of data can result in a defeat in an online game, and a slow connection can kill the mood during online video streaming. If you want to know how to speed up your VPN-secured connection, here are some tips to help you speed up your connection:
Connect to a server closer to your physical location
While this may not be possible in all cases, such as if you want to unlock content from a specific country, if all you want is to secure your connection, you could choose a server that is physically much closer to you than your usual server is.
This is because the further away your server is, the longer it will take for the data to leave your device, go to the remote server, and from there, travel to the original site you are visiting before following the same route back to your device.
When your traffic is diverted through a server that is nearby as compared to one that is halfway around the world, it will have a shorter physical distance to travel. For example, if you are in New York, it will be faster to join a server in San Fransisco than it would be to connect with one in Australia.
While the process of exchanging data usually takes only a few fractions of a second with today’s technology, it would obviously take less time to exchange information with a closer server than it would to communicate with a more distant one.
Those tiny fractions of seconds can add up when it comes to large volumes of data that can translate into a difference in connection speed. So if you want to avoid a network slowdown, choosing a server near your location can help you keep speeds fast.
Connect to a server with low traffic
It’s not uncommon for connection speeds to drop when there is a large volume of traffic flowing through a particular server. A single VPN server may get overwhelmed if an excessive number of users are utilizing it, which will slow down your connection speed.
Some VPNs actually show the amount of load a particular server is under. To obtain higher speeds, try using servers with lower traffic passing through them. You should notice a significant improvement in your connection speed.
Try connecting through a different VPN protocol:
Nerd alert: This bit will get techy, but we will try to keep it simple for you.
A VPN protocol is the procedure a VPN uses to secure your connection. Think of it as an elaborate handshake that both the connecting device and the VPN perform at each exchange of data.
This protocol decides how secure the connection between the two sides is, but if they can affect the speed of the connection. The more elaborate/ safe the connection, the more time it may take for the data to get transferred.
Of course, that does not mean that the other protocols are not safe. But it does mean that if you want to boost your VPN connection speed, using a different protocol may help you in achieving that goal. Many VPNs let you decide which protocol you want to use.
You can try using different protocols to see which one offers the speed that is most suitable for you. A bit of trial and error will make you an expert in determining which protocol meets the balance between your desired encryption level and the speed you like best.
Use the split tunneling feature
Some VPNs offer a split tunneling feature that allows you to decide which data goes through a VPN and which does not. So, for example, if you just want to read the news, you can probably have it go through a normal internet connection rather than through a VPN, while when it comes to your streaming app, you can decide to use your VPN to encrypt it.
This will help because it will only pass necessary data through the VPN rather than all the data, thus allowing your device to exchange less data with the server and thus do it at a faster rate. Because there won’t be any extra traffic going via your VPN that you don’t need, this might enhance your VPN speeds for specific tasks.
Switch to a wired connection
Wired connections are generally faster when compared to wireless connections. There are many reasons for this. One is that despite our great advances in technology, passing information directly through a wire is still faster than going through a wireless connection.
Secondly, there are usually fewer devices connected to a wired connection than to a wireless one. Just take your home wifi as an example: it probably has all your devices connected to it simultaneously despite only a few of them being used.
While this is not harmful, it does unnecessarily divide your bandwidth between those devices. Due to the sheer fact that it is not easy to connect many devices to a wired connection, connecting your computer or TV to your router directly will likely increase your connection speed while using a VPN.