Why is Your VPN Slow? Reasons Why Your VPN Connection is Slow

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is becoming more of a necessity than a luxury. Due to the increase in cyber threats and censorship from several quarters, more people turn to VPNs to be safe. A VPN creates a safe tunnel to route your traffic. It also encrypts your traffic. This prevents third parties from accessing your online data.

A VPN serves other crucial purposes. For instance, it can help you to evade geo-restrictions. You can connect to a VPN server in any region you want and obtain an IP address unique to that location. This gets around the blocks on some content, allowing you free access.

However, one of the downsides of using a VPN is reduced speeds. Due to the increased encryption on your device and the VPN’s rerouting technique, slower speed is sometimes inevitable. Users are often comfortable with this trade-off. However, there are certain strategies to improve your internet speed, even when using a VPN.

This review looks at the reasons your VPN is low and how to remedy that.

Can a VPN Increase Your Internet Speed?

While the predominant complaint is that a VPN slows down your internet speed, it is possible for a VPN to improve your connection in some limited cases. Here are two ways a VPN does that.

Evading ISP Throttling

In some cases, your internet speed can be throttled by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). They do this mostly when you are downloading or streaming large files. The ISP inspects your internet traffic, and becoming aware of your activities, will reduce your speed.

A VPN improves your speed by preventing the ISP from knowing what you are doing in the first place. This is because a VPN encrypts your online traffic. This acts as a blindfold. Hence, even though your ISP will know that you are using the internet, they will be unaware of what you are using it for. This gives your ISP no reason to throttle your speed.

Rerouting Internet Traffic

A VPN can efficiently route your traffic, cutting out unnecessary lags.

To connect to the internet, your ISP routes your traffic through servers in various locations. This is like a roadmap of where your internet travels. In some cases, due to poor infrastructure or arrangements with some providers, your ISP could route your traffic through far servers. This slows your internet connection.

However, when you connect to a VPN service, the provider routes your traffic. So, for example, it could connect you to servers in better locations. This will, in turn, lead to faster internet speeds. Hence, instead of slowing your speed, the VPN might essentially be improving your internet connection.

Reasons Why Your VPN Connection is Slow

Here, we will examine some of the common reasons why your VPN connection might be slow.

Distance from Server

If you are using a VPN and your connection buffers excessively, that is a sign of a slow connection. The commonest cause for this problem is too much distance between you and your connected server. VPN providers typically have servers that you connect to in order to encrypt your service. In some cases, you may want to connect to a server in a different country to access the content specific to that location. 

However, you must know that the distance of your server also affects your internet speed. The farther the server is from your current location, the slower your internet connection might be.

Server Load

Another common reason for reduced internet speed when connected to a VPN is if the server load is exceeded. Each VPN server has a certain number of users that it can accommodate. When a lot of users connect to a server, and it is almost filled up or gets filled up, the connection could then become slow. In some cases, you may even find it difficult to connect to such servers.

There are several reasons a server could get filled faster than others. For instance, servers in high-traffic locations such as the United States and the United Kingdom get filled faster than others. Similarly, servers that are known to be fast also attract a lot of users. Regardless of the reason, if your connection is slow, the VPN server is almost at capacity.

Encryption Power

The level of encryption the VPN provider employs on its servers can also affect your connection speed. Encryption prevents third parties from accessing your data. However, this level of protection comes at the cost of slow speed.  In this case, the reduced speed will be because of the time it takes to encrypt and decrypt your traffic. Encrypting your traffic would mean routing it through the VPN servers. The time it takes for your traffic to move to the servers and then back to your device essentially increases your lag time.

Some people opt for services with weak encryption to evade the problem of slow connections. This actually could improve your internet speed. However, weak encryption could also mean that your security gets compromised.

ISP Throttling

Internet Service Provider throttling could also be a reason for your slow internet connection when you use a VPN. Most providers do not expressly ban VPN use on their services. They rather throttle the speed of VPN users to discourage them from engaging in the practice. Other reasons your Internet Service Provider could reduce your speed, apart from discouraging VPN use. For one, most ISPs discourage torrenting and peer-to-peer file sharing. Throttling your internet speed is one way they achieve this.

How To Fix Slow VPN Connections

If you are experiencing a slow internet connection, you can try applying a few of the following tricks to solve the problem.

Connect to a Different Server

As mentioned earlier, your server could be the reason for your slow connection. This is either where the server is in a far location or when it is filled to capacity. In either case, changing your server could solve the problem. Pick a server that is in the country you reside in. Alternatively, if you want to evade the restrictions in that present country, you can switch to a server in a neighboring country. If you have to connect to servers in a specific country to access their content, your options may be limited.

If the servers near you are all filled or almost filled, then you may have to connect to one farther away. Most VPN providers automatically connect you with the fastest server in your chosen location. You can use this to avoid having to do a trial and error several times.

Change Your Encryption Protocol

Changing your encryption protocol could positively impact your internet speed while using a VPN. Providers typically have different encryption protocols you could choose from. The best that combines excellent speed with security is OpenVPN. Another excellent security protocol is WireGuard. However, this is not widely used as it is a new entrant into the business.

If you are not concerned about security, then you could try PPTP. It is an old encryption model that is easy to decrypt. Hence, only use it if you do not care about your security when using the VPN.

Make Sure Your Internet Speed is Great

The problem might not be with your VPN. Generally, all VPNs slow down your internet connection. Premium providers just make sure the difference is negligible. However, if your internet connection is already slow, using a VPN will only make it worse.

To check your internet speed, turn off your VPN. Then conduct a speed test. There are a number of services you can use to do this online. Finally, compare the result of the test with what the standard connection should be.

Clear Background Apps

You may have apps in the background slowly reducing your bandwidth and data. Understand that the more apps that use your internet connection, the slower it will get. Thus, clear all background apps, files, and junk. Next, identify the apps that you aren’t using anymore and delete them.

If you are using a wireless connection, you may want to switch it off. The speed of wireless connections can be affected by obstacles in their path. For instance, a wall can be disrupting your WiFi connection. Switching the wireless connection could actually help.

Reboot Your Device

Simply rebooting your device can be all you need to improve your internet connection when you use a VPN. The VPN’s encryption technology might be incompatible with the device you use. Hence, rebooting your device might help. You could also consider using the VPN on a different device.

Change Your VPN Provider

Eventually, it may come down to choosing a different VPN service. Some providers simply do not have the features to give stellar speed to users. Hence, regardless of the tactics you employ, the VPN speed may only improve marginally. Hence, in such a situation, you can settle for a different service. In the next segment, we have two very good options you could consider.

VPNs With the Best Speed

There are various VPN services online. However, some are more equipped for speed than others. In the list below, we give you a list of two of the best VPN services when using speed as a metric.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN devices

Features

  • Number of servers: More than 3,000
  • Speeds: Unlimited
  • Server locations: 160 in 94 countries
  • Maximum devices supported: 5
  • 24 live chat: Yes
  • 30 day money back guarantee: Yes

Pros/Cons

  • Fastest VPN out there
  • Strict no logs policy
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Few discounts
Visit ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is an industry leader. It has been around for several years and has maintained a solid reputation over time. In addition, it has top-tier features that ensure that users have no complaints after using the service.

This provider has about 3000 servers in 94 countries and 120 locations. This server spread is excellent for ensuring that you have premium speed. This is because you have a broad range of servers to choose from if you find that your current connection is slow. Several online reviews attest to this provider’s internet speed.

Additionally, ExpressVPN does not trade speed for security. On the service, you get excellent security features to protect your service from any third party. The features include the AES 256-bit encryption model that the provider secures its servers with. It also employs excellent VPN protocols, including its own creation known as Lightway. The Lightway security protocol is held to even be better than WireGuard. In addition, it speeds up your internet connection, leaving no room for lags or buffering.

ExpressVPN has apps for various device types. Whatever device you have, this provider has native apps that you can install on them. Alternatively, you can install the service on a router for broader coverage. ExpressVPN has affordable subscription plans and offers. In addition, it also gives users a 30-day money-back window to use the service and request a refund if unsatisfied.

  • Pros: Fastest VPN out there; Strict no logs policy; 256-bit AES encryption;
  • Lowest price: $6.67

NordVPN

NordVPN devices

Features

  • Cryptocurrency accepted? Yes
  • Simultaneous connections: 6
  • Dedicated IP-addresses? Yes
  • Servers: 5342 in 58 countries

Pros/Cons

  • Lots of pricing options
  • Netflix support kept up to date
  • 256-bit AES encryption
  • Slow app
Visit NordVPN

NordVPN is another super-fast VPN service we are proud to recommend. This provider also has a long history in the VPN space. It has come to be regarded as the go-to provider in a lot of cases. If you are a first-time user or are looking to change your VPN service to one that is faster, NordVPN is a great offer.

There are a couple of factors that improve NordVPN’s speed ratings. For one, it has 53000+ servers in 59 countries and counting. As a result, you will most likely find a VPN server in any location that you wish. This gives you the room to swap out a server when it lags. Additionally, this provider has an intuitive user interface that connects you with the fastest server when you come online.

NordVPN also has its proprietary protocol known as NordLynx. NordLynx ensures that users have lightning-fast speed for whatever activity they want to carry out. In addition, you will find security features such as the AES 256-bit encryption model, a kill switch, split tunneling features, obfuscated servers, and so on.

You will find a NordVPN app for most device types. The provider gives you a reliable 30-day money-back guarantee offer. It also has a responsive customer care service in case you run into any challenges.

  • Pros: Lots of pricing options; Netflix support kept up to date; 256-bit AES encryption;
  • Lowest price: $3.71

Conclusion

A VPN is one software a lot of people are beginning to rely on these days. However, to use a VPN service, you must be ready to deal with the possibility of a slowed internet. This article shows you why you may experience reduced speeds when you use a VPN. In addition, you also find ways to get around this challenge.