VPN services come with amazing benefits that are mostly centered on ensuring that your internet surfing is secured from malicious hackers. However, the question of how these services affect speed has become one of the biggest queries to VPN subscribers. Unfortunately, it’s not a simple question to answer as there are multiple factors that may influence VPN speeds. The most significant factor being the level of security, but that’s far from the only thing at play. There are actually some elements of the equation where you may see an uptick in your VPN speed. Below are a list of things to consider when deciding the best VPN to purchase.
VPN Protocol & Encryption
The most popular protocols used with VPN service providers are SSTP, PPTP, OpenVPN, and L2TP/ IPSec. Each of these protocols come with unique advantages as well as differences that affect which is the fastest VPN protocol. For example, OpenVPN is reputed for its state of the art encryption, which is sometimes detrimental to speed levels. SSTP, on the other hand, offers moderate encryption with fast connection speeds. However, SSTP is available only on Windows Vista and above. For purely speed considerations, PPTP is the fastest VPN protocol due to its relatively weak encryption. Quite simply, higher levels of encryption and security will slow down your internet speeds. It’s generally recommended to find a VPN provider who offers multiple protocol options so that you can maintain privacy when needed (like checking email) or opt for speed when desired (like for streaming).
VPN Server Proximity
The distance between a user and a VPN server plays a significant role in influencing internet speeds. What this implies is that the closer you are to the VPN server the faster the connections will be. For example connecting from Japan to a Server in California may yield very low connection speeds and even disruptions. This slowness in connection is attributed to the fact that a data packet has to travel over longer distances to and from the servers. For ultimate VPN speeds find, we could recommend seeking a VPN service provider with servers close to you or your country.
It should be noted that it is possible to improve pings or speed in very niche situations based on server proximity. For a particular service (or say, an online game) you may be getting routed to a particular server that’s farther away from you than another server. Using a VPN could get you onto that faster server to improve overall speed, but this mostly comes up when said service is poorly optimized.
VPN Server Load
This factor is related to the number of users connected to a particular VPN Server. If the number of users connected to a certain server is too high, then there is going to be significantly lower connection speeds. This problem is mostly common to free VPN subscribers. In such cases, you are advised to try connecting to another server in the same region. However, free VPNs have no real control as they rely on third parties to provide their services. These free VPNs are quickly overrun and more importantly, cannot be considered near as safe as commercial services. Typically more servers will mean a better distribution of the server loads, and this is a primary factor in how we rate VPNs for speed in our VPN reviews.
ISP Speed Limit
This may seem rather intuitive, but it’s important to point out that your ISP (Internet Service Provider) plays the biggest role in your VPN speed. VPN providers put in all measures to ensure that they have seamless and unaffected speeds. However, your internet service provider(ISP) has the final word on the highest browsing speeds that you can attain. The level of interconnection between your VPN server and the ISP is a major determinant of your browsing speeds. VPN subscribers with a minimum of 10Mbps through their ISP should see little impact from this element.
One sneaky thing that some ISPs like to do is throttle their customers’ internet speed based on activities. For instance, major ISPs like Time Warner, Comcast, and AT&T have all been accused on limiting their users’ speeds when accessing Netflix. One thing a VPN allows you to do is side skirt this because all they see is you connecting to another random server, not to Netflix specifically. And this can affect more than just Netflix so a VPN can actually improve your speed by hiding the information ISPs use to throttle your internet.
It’s fairly uncommon for a subscriber’s firewall to slowdown the overall VPN performance. However, if the speeds are not quite what you’re expecting or you like to tweak for optimization, firewalls are an easy place to start. Most VPN providers can assist in offering support to properly configure these firewall settings to maximize speed.
In a nutshell, it’s clear that VPN connections may affect internet speeds in a variety of ways. That doesn’t mean that one should avoid them though. The numerous advantages of why you should choose a VPN far outweigh the limitations on speed. And as discussed above, there are tips and tricks that any reputable VPN provider will be able to assist with. That’s why it is important to a provider with a track record of reliability. The best VPNs should have enough servers across the globe to cater to their clients’ needs regardless of their location. VyprVPN is reputed to have over 700 servers across the world and over 200,000 IPs. These attributes put such a provider in a competent position to provide reliable VPN speeds. Customization is also another key consideration in order to tweak encryption/speed levels by activity. ExpressVPN is considered one of the best in this regard, with speeds upwards of 30Mbps even with the heavily encrypted OpenVPN protocol.
Online security has become a key consideration while browsing the internet. It’s important stay protected from anyone who might stand to profit from spying on you, but nobody wants to sacrifice their high speed internet to stay safe. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to have your cake and eat it too.