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Does a VPN make your internet slower?

Tamara Avatar By: Tamara | Last updated August 15, 2020

man screaming at laptop frustrated angry vpn services slow internet connection

Millions of Internet users choose Virtual Private Networks or VPNs as their network which provides security, anonymity and universal access to content. It has been received positive feedback from users because of the features and benefits it entails. Over the past years, VPN and the Internet have been in a good relationship. Internet connection enables the functionality of VPN while VPN secures a user's Internet traffic from prevalent online predators. From this good relationship however, some negativity started creeping in.

An everyday problem for netizens, slow internet connection somehow gives VPNs a lousy image. There are people who claim that by using the service, you’ll have a slower connection. This mentality from some people pulled out an adverse effect, like fear and confusion.

As rational consumers, we need to weigh things and know both sides of the equation as to what could be causing a slower internet speed. Some problems can be because of both instances and need to be addressed equally. To solve this kind of phenomena, we need to cite factors why Internet slowing happens. Through critical thinking and analysis, we can conclude a concrete inference and make the reasonable course of actions. Considering this problem, let us first know the different variables that play on the slowing of Internet connection.

Variables involved in a slow computer Internet speed

° Added security features

Users are positive upon using these features on their VPN services. They add strong protection to our Internet traffic and prevent Internet thieves from creeping in our data. Little did we know, they are affecting our Internet performance at some point. Because of a layer of encryption being added in your VPN service, it is measured that 5%-6% of your original Internet speed is decreased when browsing. This deduction occurs because encryption consumes additional data unlike unprotected Internet traffic with no security at all.

° Server’s and computer's relative distance

Your distance from the server which you are connecting to has a significant effect on your Internet performance. The relative distance of your computer system from its server is directly proportional to the data transmitted on your system. If you are from Canada and you are to connect on a server, choosing a US server over a French server gets you a faster transmission speed as the US is nearer than France.

° Encryption strength

The level of encryption varies based on bits. The encryption process also depends on what type of browsing you do. When you are browsing sites and merely scrolling, it requires only light encryption. Slow internet performance only goes when you stream crucial and heavy content such as video sharing apps or online banking since they are highly encrypted.

° Protocols

Internet protocols should also be given importance when choosing your preferred VPN service. Some offer slow Internet performance but a high level of security while some luckily give you a balanced one-normal security level and better-performing Internet speed.

° Server load

You need to note VPN services which offer considerable benefits for their servers because some of them are not capable to handle the number of users who use their network. Some experience a slow connection because of congestion.
° Internet Service Providers

Other than the VPN itself, your ISP can be blamed for having a slow Internet connection. ISP administer a practice called bandwidth throttling wherein they slim the passing surge of data to their consumers so that users would be tempted to stop their browsing and thus congestion will decrease.

Ways to prevent the slowing down of your computer’s Internet connection

For all the problems caused by the variables mentioned, we can find solutions. Listed below are the ways to prevent the phenomenon from happening:

° Your choice is essential towards the features of your ideal VPN service. When choosing the right server, you must either run a speed test to your candidate servers or pick one that is nearer to your actual site. When selecting your encryption and security features, consider the balance of a good security level and the speed of your connection.

° Use the VPN as your way to somehow ease the slow Internet connection caused by your ISP. You can achieve that thanks to your IP address. It makes your identity and traffic information anonymous. With that, ISP cannot view your data spending and they will never know how you browse the Internet, since it is encrypted. You can now be immune from the throttling that makes your Internet connection slower.

° Split Tunneling

When using a computer system, not all your apps need the features VPN offers. Through split tunneling, you can divide your Internet traffic into encrypted and decrypted one. This new feature of VPN makes encryption, which somehow slows the Internet connection, not entirely concentrated on the VPN tunnel, reducing the required encryption level and does not hinder your Internet connection so much. You can apply this procedure by directing your apps into the VPN-encrypted or non-encrypted tunnel simultaneously.

In conclusion, variables that slow Internet connection in your computer have their corresponding solutions. Focusing only on one problem will never make you flexible in dealing with the complexity of why slow connection happens.

We have also proved that a VPN, though it can be a reason for the slowing, can also be a helpful tool in minimizing the problem. With a proper plan to think and the right execution to make, it can be solved no matter where the problem originates. We take a look at all the vpns on the market today to find out which ones will lower the chances of slowing down your internet speed. If keeping your speed up is a high priority, check out which VPN delivers the best connection in our list of top VPNs.