How to Make Your VPN Faster – Why You have a Slow VPN

VPN (Virtual Private Network) is no longer an option today for anyone willing to stay private online and access restricted websites. It is now a must-have tool. But the slow speeds while using a VPN can make this essential solution undesirable.

Your VPN speed depends on your internet connection speed. You can’t expect a VPN to make your connection faster. The fact is, you should expect a little speed loss when connected to any VPN service provider.

This is because VPNs encrypt every packet of your internet traffic data. Although the average loss of speed you’d experience while using a VPN should be modest, VPN software typically slows down connection speed by 10% to 20%.

an ethernet connection to a VPN

But if you experience persistent speed issues, you’ll have to do some troubleshooting to figure out the problem and work towards a solution. Do you keep wondering why you have a slow VPN?

From server distance to encryption power to server load, multiple factors can add to the slowness of your VPN connection.

This guide explains why your VPN connection might be making your internet speed slower than usual—and how you can make your VPN faster.

11 Tips to Increase Your VPN Speed

If you’re experiencing a sluggish connection, you can take some simple actions to speed it up. In some speed slowdown cases, the leisurely internet connection is responsible. In others, you might have picked a wrong VPN altogether or there could be a problem with the server.

Either way, no matter the root cause of your slow internet speed, the following 11 methods will help speed your VPN connection up.

1. Check Your Internet Connection Speed

internet_connection_speed

If your internet speed is slow to begin with, you can’t blame the VPN for it.

Go to speedtest.net, and run a test to evaluate your connection speed both with and without a VPN.

That will help you see whether your hardware or internet plan needs an upgrade or if the VPN is to blame.

2. Change Server

Selecting a VPN server that is too far from its actual location is a common cause of connection speed issues.

nordvpn-servers

If you want optimum VPN speed, connect to a closer server. All the best VPNs available on the market today boast a simple interface that enables you to surf the internet with your connection in a breeze.

3. Restart Your Modem/Router

Unless you have a router with great power, your VPN connection on it will more likely be slower compared to the VPN on your device. Memory leaks and other similar issues can cause your modem/router to slow down. That, in return, can decrease your VPN connection speed.

resetting the main network router

In such cases, an old-fashioned restart may be all you need to fix the problem. It is recommended that you use the VPN directly on your device for the best possible speeds.

Also, never use both (a VPN set up on router and device) in tandem, as that can make your connection speed even moderate.

4. Play With Your VPN Protocol Settings

Your VPN speed depends on the level of encryption it uses. Different VPN protocols offer distinctive advantages.

If you want to get the maximum-possible VPN speeds, you might want to make sure you have PPTP selected in your VPN client setting. Most VPNs usually have this option under their Advanced Settings tab.

IKEv2 and L2TP are also reasonably fast VPN protocols that you can choose.

This is important:

That said, please note that you will be trading speed with security. If your VPN is set to use SSTP or OpenVPN, your connection speed might be slower, but you’ll have the most robust encryption.

5. Switch to a Wired Connection

WiFi makes your life easier, but it can cut your speed.

a wired ethernet connection

That is especially true when your hotspot has multiple devices connected to it. As the wireless connection uses a shared channel for transmitting data to many phones and computers in your home, it can slow down your VPN speeds. To enjoy faster connectivity, consider turning to a wired connection.

6. Restart Your Device(s)

We, humans, need a break now and then. The same goes for the machines. Sometimes, the reason behind your slow connection would be that your smartphone or computer may just be “exhausted,” so to speak.

The least you can do is give it a fresh start. Turn it off for a while and then switch it back on.

Yes, this seems like an old-fashioned hack, but it can be very effective for improving VPN speed.

If you’ve been using your device for a while constantly, all you might need is to try this trick and then get back to enjoying your online content.

7. Turn Off Your Local Security Software (Including Firewall)

Your antivirus software and firewalls filter through all the outgoing data, which can result in slow VPN performance. Disable them temporarily to see if they’re causing VPN speed issues on your device.

antivirus software running on a laptop

Please note it could make you vulnerable to additional cybersecurity threats. It’s recommended to have your antivirus, firewall and VPN running in tandem with each other for maximum possible security online.

If you want to disable one of these security measures, do so at your own risk.

8. Enable Split Tunneling on Your VPN

Split tunneling is a feature that almost all top-notch VPNs offer. It might be the solution you need if you’re experiencing connection speed problems.

Split Tunnel Explained

The split tunneling feature can come to your rescue if you’re using multiple data-intensive apps at once. It allows you to define which traffic goes unencrypted over your connection and which goes over the VPN.

You would need to follow the instructions offered by your VPN provider to use split tunneling. However, note that not all VPN providers will implement or name it in the same way. It all comes down to specifying which traffic to run through the VPN tunnel and which to exempt.

9. Check System Resources

Making your VPN perform at its best requires you to complete a puzzle. Checking your system resources is an essential piece of this process.

a connected network image

Check if any of the apps on your device are taking up an extreme amount of bandwidth. For instance, your connection might slow down if you leave a torrent client like BitTorrent open in the background.

To find out what programs might be tying your connection up, take a look at your device’s task manager. It is recommended that you close any apps or programs that you don’t need. That will save your VPN connection from tunneling the unnecessary bandwidth.

Pro Tip:

Close any offline applications that you’re not using at the moment. This will help you free up system resources. Remember, it all counts.

10. Turn Off Apps Syncing in the Background

Similar to the previous step, you can boost your VPN speed by stopping other apps from using your internet connection.

To enjoy optimum VPN speeds, you may want to turn off all the applications syncing in the background. Those can be iCloud, Google Drive, Google Photos, Outlook and Dropbox, to name a few.

11. Connect to a Server Tailored to Your Needs

an internet router on a desk

Not all VPN servers suit all activities. To get the best overall experience, you should connect to a server that matches your needs.

For example, while P2P and torrenting sound like natural activities for a VPN, you cannot connect to any server while torrenting.

Not all the servers offered give optimum speed and security for torrents. For faster VPN speed, you must connect to a P2P-supported server.

The same goes for other use cases. Think about what you want to do online and look for a server tailored to it. If you can connect to a server designed specifically for that, you’ll likely get better speeds.

Conclusion

For most users, VPNs have turned into a daily necessity from an optional tool. And VPN providers are expected to deliver the privacy and security protections you need without slowing you down.

But sluggish VPN speed can affect your online experience negatively. We hope this post has helped you learn the ropes of increasing your VPN speed. In summary, it all comes down to troubleshooting and experimenting with different solutions.

Ali Qamar Ali Qamar is a seasoned blogger and loves keeping a keen eye on the future of tech. He is a geek. He is a privacy enthusiast and advocate. He is crazy (and competent) about internet security, digital finance, and technology. Ali is the founder of PrivacySavvy and an aspiring entrepreneur.
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