During these past few years, VPNs have acquired this myth around them that they will slow down your internet connection.
However, it’s undeniable that not all VPNs are created equal. And don’t forget that VPN technology has greatly evolved in the past 10 years.
But there are other contributing factors that might impact your VPN speed.
The best way to preserve your online privacy
Virtual private networks, or VPNs for short, are a great tool for surfing anonymously online and enhancing your security.
VPNs serve many online purposes, such as:
- Allowing you to access restricted content
- Keeping your online activity private
- Hiding your IP address
- Making it impossible for cybercriminals to steal your private information
- Downloading files in complete anonymity
The entire process is quite a complex one, hence some speed loss is normal.
But when the speed is so bad it impacts normal browsing, most people turn an eye to the VPN servers.
Slow speeds – the lesser-known culprits
But the truth is, there are a lot of factors that can impact speed.
Let’s look at some of them.
Your ISP is throttling the VPN connection
It’s no secret by now that your internet service provider (ISP) is keeping watch on what you do online. Some even keep this data to sell it to advertisers and data mining agencies.
In other less democratic countries, ISPs are in close relationship with the authorities to report on dissent.
Since VPNs keep your connection private and secure, it’s no wonder that some ISPs are against VPN usage.
So, to prevent you from using one, they throttle VPN connections, by blocking ports and protocols commonly associated with VPN infrastructure.
This practice can range from terrible speed to a complete connection loss, as is the case in countries like China or the United Arab Emirates.
Your router cannot handle VPN connection
Older routers didn’t generally come with VPN usage in mind, so they’re not very well suited to processing encrypted connections.
But the main issue lies with routers that are provided by ISPs.
Some ISP routers come with anti-proxy settings, web filters, custom firewalls, and parental controls systems, that are enabled by default. These settings generally target VPN protocols and encrypted connections and cause severe speed degradation.
Depending on the router’s type and model, you can either turn these off yourself or you’ll need to get in touch with your ISP so they can deactivate them for you.
Another protocol might be better for you
Most VPN services nowadays have protocol customizations options. There are different VPN protocols available out there. The difference lies in the way they encrypt your traffic.
OpenVPN is usually slower as opposed to IKEv2 or WireGuard®.
Switch between them and see which one might be suited to your needs.
Your device specs might not be up for it
This is often overlooked when talking about VPN speeds. Remember, your device needs to locally encrypt and decrypt your internet traffic.
In order to do this, it needs good hardware. Older devices often lack good specs, and this means they can’t keep up, making your VPN speed slower.
The CPU, the RAM memory, whether you’re using a HDD or a SSD, all of them can have an impact on how your device processes VPN connections.
The server you’re connected to is far away from you
This is a more common issue than you might think. The farther the server is from your current location, the slower the speed will be.
It makes sense, because the data packet has to travel a greater distance. This makes the speed of the VPN connection to slow down significantly and affect the ping.
You’re using a free VPN
VPN providers must operate a global server network, continually update their apps and security protocols, provide customer support, and so much more. But all this costs money.
Paid VPN services cover costs by charging users subscription fees. In turn, the most popular free VPN services make their money off you, by collecting and selling your data.
In order to maximize profits, free VPN services generally don’t have the network infrastructure quality a paid service has.
This means outdated security systems, outdated protocols, delayed response time, overloaded hosts, and often bandwidth caps, that severely restrict VPN performance.
Did you know about any of these implications before? Which one surprised you the most? Let me know in the comments.
Until next time, stay safe and secure!