Virtual private networks are useful tools for different purposes like boosting your online security or surfing the Internet anonymously. But while they perform well for these purposes, VPNs have one major drawback: they slow down your Internet connection. To help you deal with the issue, we prepared a guide on how to speed it up again.
What causes VPNs to slow down
One thing to remember early on when using VPNs is that they will always be slower than your regular connection due to how they work. Since VPNs pass your traffic through an intermediary server first, it takes longer to reach a target site than directly connecting with it.
The protocol used by your
- PPTP: One of the oldest
VPNprotocols. Provides fast connection speeds but has fewer security features.
- L2TP/IPSec: A successor to PPTP. Has good speeds but is easily blocked.
- SSTP: A
VPNprotocol that is fully integrated into Microsoft Windows and offers strong security features.
- IKEv2: A
VPNprotocol that is compatible with mobile devices and delivers fast speeds.
- OpenVPN: An open source
VPNthat has stronger security features than other protocols but is a bit slower.
These protocols vary in the level of security they provide and, conversely, the speeds they deliver. This makes each protocol ideal for specific purposes.
The cipher preferences you use in each protocol also play a role in determining a
Other factors affecting
There are also external factors that affect the overall speed your
- Distance to servers: The farther you are from a
VPNserver, the longer it takes for you to connect and send traffic to it.
- Weather: Storms will cause interference that can lead to connection slowdown or total loss.
- Your computer: Older devices might not be fully compatible with advanced
VPNfeatures, causing some connection lag.
- Your Internet service provider: Running a
VPNon an already slow Internet connection will just compound the VPN‘s natural impact on your connection speed.
These external factors vary from case to case. To better understand how all the factors affect your
Setting up your
Selecting the right server
In most cases, the rule to follow when selecting a
Note that proximity is not the only consideration when selecting a server. You also need to take the quality of each server into account. Providers might sometimes place the higher quality ones in locations that are not always near your area. To determine which options to go for, do a ping test on all the accessible server locations and pick the one that produces the fastest result.
Adjust your security settings
Tweaking your security features is another strategy you can try to squeeze more speed out of your
One way to tweak your security settings is to switch to a different encryption method. If you are using 256-bit AES encryption, you can select lower encryption keys like a 128-bit one for general use. This will still give you a sufficient amount of security while freeing up processing power and is a common compromise if your computer is not optimized to run higher encryption levels.
VPN server connection
Studying how your computer connects to the
When reviewing the information you get from the traceroute tool, also take note of the ping time for each jump. The spots with the higher ping times are the ones that are causing the most slowdown and should be avoided.
Once you have mapped out your
Use split tunneling
Another useful technique to manage your
Some providers have split tunneling features included in their packages. You just need to select which devices or applications to course through the
You can modify the list of included apps or devices anytime, giving you room to experiment with different tunneling configurations.
Troubleshooting your devices
In certain cases, a slow
Test your devices further by shuffling their connections. Move your computer’s Internet cable to a different port on your modem to see if it improves the speed. If you are connecting through Wi-Fi, switch to a wired connection whenever possible.
You can also bypass your router and connect your computer directly to the modem. Since the router adds another node that your traffic has to go through, it can contribute to any slowdown. Note that this is easier done with networks that use separate modems and routers, but you can still do this with combined router/modem boxes.
Change your DNS settings
Depending on how they are set up, your current Domain Name System (DNS) settings might not always be compatible with your
- Google Public DNS: IP address 188.8.131.52
- OpenDNS: IP address 184.108.40.206
- Level3: IP address 220.127.116.11
- DNS Advantage: IP address 18.104.22.168
Aside from these public DNS services, certain
To connect to any of these alternative servers, follow these tutorials and use the specified IP addresses.
For Mac OS:
These alternative DNS settings can also be programmed into your router if you want every device automatically connected to the server.
Optimizing your other computer settings
Having too many applications using your
Turning off your computer’s security software such as the antivirus and firewall may also help in boosting your speed. Note that there are some risks involved here since you are leaving yourself vulnerable. Test your connection first to see if there would be a noticeable increase in
VPN speeds with these tips
There are many reasons why your
- Tweaking your
VPNsettings: Look at the different protocols your provider supports and test which of them will deliver the best speeds.
- Selecting the right server: Take advantage of the multiple locations that your
VPNoffers to find the fastest servers for a given task.
- Adjust your computer settings: Use alternative DNS servers and play around with your network and security settings to find a good balance between protection and speed.
- Troubleshoot your devices: Switch around your network’s physical connections and reboot everything to see if speeds improve.
The tips here are just a small portion of the ways you can improve your connection. Follow our blog to learn other techniques on how you can get the most out of your VPN.