VPN Speed: Why VPNs Slow Down Your Internet and Why Some VPNs Are Faster

Do VPNs slow down your internet connection? The answer is yes (and don’t let anyone fool you otherwise). The question should be, by how much?

Not all VPNs are good VPNs. Some have poor infrastructure, and they’ll slow you down to the point of frustration. Free VPNs, for example, will make surfing a pain in the b…rowser. 

A fast VPN will only take about 10% of your base speed. Maybe even less. But your VPN’s infrastructure isn’t the only thing responsible for your online speeds. Other factors can influence how your VPN performs. I’m here to let you know all about them. 

Bottom line: Not all VPNs are created equal. You can enjoy fast VPN speeds with the right VPN provider. Use CyberGhost VPN to surf online free of buffering, interruptions, or connection drops.

What Causes Slow Online Speeds? 

Let’s start by having a look at the common culprits for slow connection speeds. These can impact your performance, with and without a VPN service.

An Outdated Router

Technology evolves at an increasing rate, and routers are no exception. Nowadays, routers have a 5-year lifespan. Older routers can’t hold their own against our increasing appetite for streaming, online gaming, or online conferencing.  They’re also not able to do a 5G connection any justice. Outdated CPUs, weaker antennas, and the lack of key features like a 5GHz band put these routers at a clear disadvantage.

How to fix: Invest in a modern and powerful router. If your internet service provider (ISP) issues your router, call them and ask for a replacement.

A Malware Infection

Malware like adware, spyware, viruses, and other cyber threats take a toll on your device’s performance. Symptoms include:

    • 👾      Websites take long to load
    • 👾       Constant buffering
    • 👾      Pop-ups that slow down your device
    • 👾      Websites crash
    • 👾     High ping
    • 👾     Overheating

Use a reputable antivirus and regularly run scans to prevent malware.

How to fix: Run a malware scan and let your antivirus quarantine the issue. Delete all suspicious files. If one or more of your devices is affected, consider checking your router for malware.

Outdated Devices or Operating Systems

Ten years ago, manufacturers were just releasing devices that could support 4G. Now, 5G is all the rage. If you use an older phone or laptop, it won’t be able to meet your current speed needs.  Like everything, your device’s internal components also wear out with time.

Your operating system also plays a pivotal role in connectivity. For example, some people still use Windows XP even though Microsoft ended support for it in 2020. Naturally, Windows XP won’t be able to run optimally anymore. If you’re among those, consider upgrading to Windows 10. You’ll notice a significant difference in performance.

Lastly, never skip those updates. They come with important patches that help your device perform more efficiently and enhance your security.

How to fix: Regularly update your operating system. Switch to newer devices that can handle high-speed connections.

Old Internet Cables

Internet cables allow your data to travel from point to point. Bent, damaged, or punctured cables will cause hold ups.

Older ethernet cables also cap your speed. Here’s a quick overview.

Cable Type Maximum Transmission Speed(Under Optimal Conditions)
Cat 3 10 Mbps
Cat 5 100 Mbps
Cat 5e 1,000 Mbps
Cat 6 10 Gbps
Cat 7 100 Gbps

Optical fiber is also the superior choice for speed. Optical fiber has plastic and glass which allows it to transmit the signal as light. Coaxial cables (or regular cables) comprise plastic and copper and rely on electric signals to transmit data. They’re nowhere as efficient. 

How to fix: Talk to your ISP and determine the best choice of cables based on your area and coverage. Invest in sturdy and reliable cables, and ‌replace any damaged cables.

Data Plan Caps

Some internet plans have a data limit for each billing period. ISPs will clearly specify your allotted data limit in the contract you sign. If you use up that data, you’re down to snaillike speeds. As you continue to go over that data cap, your connection will get even slower until it’s unusable.

How to fix: Monitor your data usage or upgrade your plan to a cap-free option.

Your ISP Is Throttling Your Connection

Data-heavy activities like streaming or playing games online take up a lot of bandwidth. Your ISP will intentionally slow down your connection to discourage you from these activities and prevent network congestion.

You’ll experience slow speeds and constant buffering.

How to fixUse CyberGhost VPN’s military-grade encryption to conceal your online activities from your ISP. This way, the company won’t be able to throttle you anymore.


Something Is Blocking the Signal

Thick walls, bulky furniture, metal objects, and other appliances can block your router’s signal. Putting your router into cabinets or drawers will also impact the signal, and your online speed.

How to fix: Move your router to the center of your house. Make sure there’s nothing nearby that can block the signal.

Crowded Channels

All routers come with the 2.4 GHz band. The 2.4 GHz frequency has 14 channels. Channel 14 is reserved for military use, and most countries ban the use of channels 12 and 13. This leaves 11 channels. Some of these channels overlap though, and this interferes with the Wi-Fi signal. The more networks operate on the same channel, the more speeds plummet.

How to fix: The channels 1, 6, or 11 are the ones with the least overlap, so they’re a good choice to prevent slow speeds. For more information, check your router’s manual.

What Are VPNs and Why Do People Use Them?

VPNs hide your IP address and encrypt your internet traffic to protect your online privacy.

Surf with Improved Privacy

Your IP says a lot about you, like your location and the sites you’ve visited. When you connect to a VPN server it swaps your IP address with the server’s address. Because several people can connect to the same server, you become untraceable. No one can pinpoint your location or your browsing history out of a pool of people. Use CyberGhost VPN to stay ahead of trackers and snoopers.

Protect Your Digital Identity

In the digital era, data is gold. Your ISP, law enforcement agencies, and cybercriminals will try to collect, monitor, and sell your data. While companies use your information to customize your experience and make some features easier to use and access, your private details can end up in the wrong hands. Data breaches are common, identity theft is rampant, and some countries can even persecute you for your online activities. Online privacy is paramount, and CyberGhost VPN’s state-of-the-art encryption is just what you need to keep snooping at bay.

Access an Open Internet

The dream of a borderless internet seems long forgotten. Governments ban websites left and right based on political views, streaming services bar shows and movies based on local licensing rights, and retailers determine what offers you can see based on your IP. CyberGhost VPN’s worldwide server network has no restrictions. Connect to our servers to bypass censorship and safely access more content than ever before.

Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi

The Wi-Fi spots you use in cafes, airports or hotels aren’t secure. To make them easy to connect to, free Wi-Fi providers ignore even basic security setups. Sadly, this leaves them open to snoopers and cybercriminals. Every time you connect to a public Wi-Fi network, you risk exposing yourself to data harvesting, Man-in-the-Middle attacks, and malware. Use CyberGhost VPN to encrypt your traffic and keep snoopers at bay.

Get Better Deals Online

 The online shopping world is not one size (or price) fits all.. Your IP determines your location, which determines the prices you see. This practice is called geo-based pricing and it’s a common, if nefarious, way for companies to increase profits. Use CyberGhost VPN to switch between locations and compare prices. You can server hop as much as you want until you find the best deals.


Why Do VPNs Slow Down Your Internet?

Fact is, no matter what VPN provider you use, you’ll experience some speed loss.

VPNs use encryption to protect your data. Encryption works by taking your data and scrambling it into an unreadable format. With a VPN, this includes everything from your browsing history to your DNS requests to your messages. No one can snoop on or intercept your private information when your VPN is switched on.

This is great for your online privacy, but all this encrypting and decrypting will cost you a bit of speed. A good VPN won’t make that speed loss noticeable. You shouldn’t run into any issues while streaming, playing online games, or even browsing.

A 10% – 20% decrease in speed is normal when using a VPN. A fast VPN like CyberGhost can lead to an even smaller decrease. 

If you experience a significant decrease in speed, then it’s likely you’re not using a good VPN.  Your VPN isn’t the be-all and end-all of your speed issues, though.

Other Causes of Slow VPN Speeds

If your VPN isn’t performing as it should, it may be because:  

You’re Using a Free VPN

VPN providers operate a global server network, continually update their apps and security protocols, provide customer support, and so much more. This doesn’t come cheap. Providers use subscription fees to cover these costs.

Free VPNs, on the other hand, don’t have these funds. They generate a profit by monitoring and selling your browsing information and aren’t incentivized to invest in the server network beyond maintenance.

    • ❗       Overcrowded servers
    • ❗      Outdated protocols
    • ❗     Overloaded hosts
    • ❗     Poor or outdated configurations
    • ❗    Bandwidth caps
    • ❗     Poor server response times

These will severely impact your VPN experience.

How to fix: Switch to a paid VPN like CyberGhost that supports a worldwide server network with thousands of servers.

Your Device Is Not Up for It

When talking about VPN performance we often tend to overlook device specs. Keep in mind that a VPN encrypts and decrypts your data. This requires computational power. Your device needs to have good hardware, so it won’t slow down during this process.

Let’s look at the example of iPhones.

Model iPhone 6 iPhone 7 iPhone 12
CPU Dual-core, 1400 MHz, 64-bit Quad-core, 2340 MHz, 64-bit Hexa-core, 3100 MHz, 64-bit

You can clearly see the CPU (Central Processing Unit) improved over time. You’ll get better VPN speeds on an iPhone 12 than you would on an iPhone 6.

How to fix: Some devices like PCs allow you to upgrade the CPU. Others like MacBooks don’t really allow tampering with the hardware. Depending on your options, you can upgrade the CPU or change to a newer model of your device, and your speeds will improve significantly.

You Need Another Protocol

VPN protocols determine your encryption method, but they can also influence your speed. For example, OpenVPN is a robust and secure VPN protocol, but it often causes slow speeds. OpenVPN is a great choice to secure your data but isn’t the optimal protocol for streaming. If you want to watch Netflix, you should switch to WireGuard® which is optimized for speed.

CyberGhost VPN lets you customize your protocol. You can pick and choose the best one for your needs.

How to fix: Open the CyberGhost VPN app and go to the Settings menu. Under VPN Protocol click on the drop-down menu and select a protocol. Test the speed and see if it meets your needs. If not, try another protocol.

Your Router Can’t Handle the VPN Connection

Setting up a VPN on your router is a great way to cover all your devices, and never have to worry about manually connecting to a server.  Not all routers will give you a headache-free experience, though. Manufacturers didn’t have VPN connections in mind when they designed routers five or more years ago. Because of this, their CPU isn’t the best choice for encryption, and the router will slow your connection down. The better the encryption, the newer the protocol, the worse your router will perform.

How to fix: There’s not much you can do but change your router. Newer models are more than capable of handling a VPN configuration. You can also invest in a VPN router, so you don’t have to worry about what processors, CPU, or operating system your router should have.

Can a VPN Increase Your Internet Speed?

We’ve talked about how VPNs can slow you down but, in some cases, you’ll experience the opposite. A VPN can increase your internet speed.

Here are some situations in which you can use CyberGhost VPN to your advantage.

Bypass ISP Throttling

Ever noticed that your internet speed is slower during peak hours? How about when doing something that takes a lot of bandwidth like streaming or playing video games online?

This is because your ISP is intentionally slowing you down. We call this practice throttling. It’s how ISPs prevent network congestion and stop you from using too much bandwidth. You will experience constant buffering and interruption during throttling periods.

Use CyberGhost VPN to hide your activity from your ISP. Since your ISP won’t know what you do online, it won’t be able to throttle you anymore, and you’ll significantly increase your internet speed.

Improve Ping When Playing Online Games

Online gaming is a lot of fun, but it can be incredibly frustrating when you get subpar speeds. Behind the scenes, a lot of factors can influence your ping. The speeds you get from your ISP and the game’s servers play a key role. If the distance between your ISP’s servers and the game’s servers is large, you’re in for a bad time.

CyberGhost VPN lets you connect to 7,000+ servers in 91 countries. Pick a server nearby to narrow that distance and get better speeds and a lower ping. It only takes one click to connect.

Bypass DNS Poisoning

DNS poisoning – also known as DNS spoofing – is a technique in which your traffic requests are redirected to another website. This happens for two reasons. First, your ISP is redirecting you to prevent you from accessing certain websites. This is common in some autocratic countries that block press websites and social media platforms. This constant redirecting takes time, which in turn slows down your connection.

Cybercrooks also use DNS spoofing to redirect you to dummy sites to fool you into entering credentials, passwords, or financial information on an unsecured website. They don’t spend a lot of time or effort on these dummy sites, though, so they’re often slow and unresponsive.

When you connect to a CyberGhost VPN server, you use our own DNS servers for your traffic. We optimized them to be responsive and fast, and we never mess with your requests. We’ll never redirect your traffic or prevent you from accessing websites.


Why is CyberGhost the Fastest VPN?

Cyberthreats are evolving and data breaches are increasingly common. You need to do more to protect yourself online and secure your data. This no longer has to mean poor speeds and shaky connections.

You shouldn’t ever have to compromise your performance for security. You need the fastest VPN on the market; you need CyberGhost VPN.

A Worldwide Server Network

No matter how good your server architecture is, a small network spells disaster for VPN performance. Small networks are prone to overcrowding and congestion. This translates to slow speeds, buffering, and interruptions for you.

That’s why we’ve expanded our network to 7000+ servers in 91 countries and we have no plans to slow down. You’ll have plenty of servers to choose from and never have to worry about overcrowding again.

Fastest VPN Protocols

A VPN protocol determines the encryption method between the VPN client and the VPN server. Not all protocols are best for you, though. PPTP and L2TP will give you fast speeds, but they’re outdated and have poor security. OpenVPN is one of the most secure protocols out there, but it’s also the slowest.

CyberGhost VPN lets you customize the protocols to suit your needs. We have OpenVPN for restrictive networks and extra security, but for speed you can choose between IKEv2 and WireGuard®. They’re the fastest protocols available, and they’re optimal for streaming and playing online games.


No Bandwidth Restrictions

A lot of VPN providers fight network congestion by capping bandwidth or data. While this wards off network congestion, you’ll have an awful experience with buffering and slow loading times. This isn’t fair to you.

This is why we don’t configure our servers with bandwidth restrictions or data caps. We have a strict No Logs policy in place, so we never monitor how long you’re connected to our network or how much bandwidth you use. Watch movies, play games, stay on social media all day; we won’t stop you.

Servers Optimized for Your Needs

At CyberGhost VPN we want to ensure optimal performance no matter what you do. We also want to make it easier to connect to the best server for you. This is why we optimized our servers based on your needs. Our apps neatly organize our servers into clear-cut categories for streaming, gaming, torrenting, and even your dedicated IP.

This way, you won’t experience a high ping because someone is streaming Netflix on the same server. It’s a convenient way to ensure you get the best speeds and performance.

Put an End to Slow Speeds with CyberGhost VPN

Things like your router, your devices, and even your ISP can influence your online speeds, with and without a VPN. You’ll have to put your detective cap on to find out the real culprit behind your snaillike online performance.

For optimal performance, you’re always better off with a fast VPN. Choose CyberGhost VPN for an exhaustive VPN network, no bandwidth restrictions or data caps, and the fastest VPN protocols on the market. You’ll forget all about buffering, interruptions, and connection drops.



What is a good VPN speed?


A good rule of thumb is that you can expect 80 – 90% of your speed baseline when you use a VPN. For anything below that, check for other factors that might slow your VPN down. If all looks great on that front, consider switching to a faster and more customizable VPN like CyberGhost. Contact our 24/7 Customer Support team for more information on how to configure CyberGhost VPN for the best speeds.


Does a VPN give you faster connections?


Sometimes a VPN can help improve your speed. For example, if your ISP is throttling your connection when you’re playing online games or streaming Netflix, CyberGhost VPN helps you get your speed back on track. 
Our VPN apps encrypt your traffic and hide your online activity from all third parties. Your ISP won’t be able to keep tabs on you and throttle you anymore. Your speed will improve immensely.


Does a VPN slow your internet speed?


VPNs work by encrypting your entire traffic and decrypting it locally on your device. This inevitably comes with some speed loss. If you use a fast VPN like CyberGhost, that speed loss won’t be noticeable, whether you’re surfing online, streaming, or playing online games. Try it out risk-free with our 45-day money-back guarantee!


How do I stop my VPN from slowing down my internet?


You can’t overwrite the configurations your VPN provider made on the apps and servers. Since your VPN encrypts and decrypts your entire internet traffic, it’s impossible not to lose some speed in this process. 
In this sense, you can’t prevent a VPN from slowing down your internet. The only thing you can do is use a fast VPN that makes the speed loss unnoticeable. CyberGhost VPN is a safe bet if you’re after fast speeds and good performance.


Does a VPN affect my Wi-Fi?


No. Even if you use a free VPN, you’ll get abysmal speeds and maybe even malware, but it won’t otherwise affect your Wi-Fi network. A good VPN like CyberGhost won’t affect your speeds, much less your network. On the contrary, CyberGhost VPN is a great way to protect your home network and keep snoopers, cybercriminals, and data-miners away from your private information.



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Thank you, this info has been very in lighting. With all the digital traffic that flow through and around the internet the public need an can use this information


Glad to hear you found the article useful, Gach. 🙂

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