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Why is my VPN slow? Boost Your VPN Speed!

Sep 16, 2016 · 4 min read

Why is my VPN slow? Boost Your VPN Speed!

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a must-have for those looking for added layers of security and privacy when browsing online. It’s also very useful for getting around geo-restricted content. But all the added security can lead a VPN user to experience certain speed loss.

Most VPN users therefore want to know: how can I keep my level of security and privacy and still increase my VPN speed and performance?

Well, to answer that question first we’ll have to look at how VPNs work.

A VPN creates a secure connection between your computer and a server in a location of your choosing. This way, you can connect to the destination site of your choice more anonymously and with encrypted data. So, for example, I’m a journalist with sensitive information in Ankara, I can connect to a server in the US, and through that server, with my communications now encrypted, visit my intended site. That way, it will seem as if the connection is coming from the US.

This is also how it works for getting around geo-restricted content. But since the VPN is a sort of encrypting and forwarding tunnel, VPNs can make your internet slower, depending on a few factors. Your location to the chosen server, security protocol used, type of encryption used  are all contributing factors that might affect your speed.

But if you’ve noticed slower performance from your VPN than usual, you may be able to fix it. Today we’ll look at some proven techniques to help you increase VPN speed in no time.

#1: Check internet speed

It is a great idea then to first check your internet speed without a VPN. Therefore, if your internet connection is also slow, then that means your VPN connection is not to blame for the slowdown. You can check yours here.

#2: Tinker with your VPN internet protocol settings

NordVPN, for example, has a default setting on our apps to connect you to the UDP internet protocol. Try switching to TCP.

#3: Restart your router/modem

Sometimes it may be just as simple as having to restart that old dusty black box in that corner. Sometimes the router/modem may slow down because of memory leaks and will need an old-fashioned restart. If you have set up your router with VPN and the speed is insufficient, use VPN solely on your computer/phone. Virtual Private Network setup on router is generally slower than connecting to VPN from your device.

#4: Change server location

If you choose a server geographically distant from your actual location, it could slow down your internet speed. Connecting with one closer to you will increase your VPN speed due to lower latency.

For example, with my true location somewhere in Europe, I went from a 5 Mbps speed to a 16 Mbps speed by changing my server from the US to Germany. You can fiddle around to see which one is best for you.

Speed test results, using vpn

Use speedtest to measure your vpn speed limit

#5: Adjust your encryption level

You can also change the encryption that you’re using. This is only advisable if you’re not using the VPN specifically for security reasons, but for accessing geo-restricted content, such as streaming services. Instead of using IKEv2/IPsec or OpenVPN (recommended security protocol options), you could try L2TP/IPSec and see if that relieves your VPN speed issues. Note: Please study the differences between security protocols beforehand to know the security risks involved. We strongly recommend using security protocols used on NordVPN apps, which only use OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec protocols.

#6: Use a wired connection from your device

Wireless connections use a shared channel to transmit data to many devices in your home. This can slow down your wifi connection. Try a wired connection to your network, as this will definitely increase your internet speed.

#7: Turn off Firewall and other local security software

Firewalls and your antivirus software can slow down your VPN velocity because it filters through outgoing data. If you temporarily disable these tools, you can see whether they are causing your Virtual Private Network speed issues. Note: we do, however, recommend keeping both firewall and antivirus turned on at all times.

#8: Restart your devices

Last but not least, your computer or device may just be tired. This is another old-fashioned trick, but it could help increase VPN speed and get you back to enjoying your content.

These tricks will help make your VPN connection to the internet that much faster. Good luck!

Got any other tips and tricks? Let us know in the comments below.

Christina Craig
Christina Craig successVerified author

Christina is a community manager and the heart, the voice and the soul of NordVPN. She is always up for a conversation with our community of users and blog readers.

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