VPN slowing you down? Try these steps to speed things up. (2023)

Let's face it, using a virtual private network slows down the internet, often by 50% or more.

it's the nature ofhow vpns work, and there's really no way around it. However, there are a few things you can try to get the fastest speeds possible from your VPN connection.

Free VPNencryption layerto your Internet connection as your traffic is routed through a secure server at a remote location. This is the process that is primarily responsible for the loss of speed. It takes time to encrypt and decrypt your traffic and transmit your data to the VPN server and back to your device.

Other factors such as the VPN protocol you are using or the load on the VPN server you are connecting to can also contribute to slowing down your connection.

The drop in speed can be virtually unnoticeable for normal Internet use when using afast vpn, but you want all possible speeds for data-intensive activities like gaming, streaming, or video conferencing. A delay of just a few milliseconds can mean the difference between glory and defeat in your online game. And slow VPN speeds can result in a video streaming experience ruined by constant buffering and a heavy dose of pixelation. And if you use a VPN while on aapproach call, you should do everything in your power to maximize your VPN speeds and ensure the call is smooth and uninterrupted.

If your VPN isn't as fast as you need it to be, here's what you can do to speed up your connection.

Keep reading:The Best VPNs, Tested and Rated

7 Ways to Improve Your VPN Speed

Connect to a server closest to your physical location

In general, the closer the VPN server is to your physical location, the faster your connection speeds should be. Your traffic needs to travel a shorter physical distance when it's routed through a nearby VPN server instead of one located on the other side of the world. If you're in Boston, your VPN connection should be much faster if you connect to a VPN server in New York City or Montreal, for example, than in Sydney or Tokyo.

This isn't always practical if, for example, you want to stream content from a specific country or access a game server from a specific location. However, if you need a faster connection, try connecting to a few different VPN servers near your physical location and see which one gets the fastest speeds. Some VPNs have a speed test feature built into their apps, but you can always use a speed test site likeokla speed testto check your connection speed.

If you're looking for a VPN with multiple server locations, give it a try.ExpressVPN, which offers servers in 160 locations in 94 countries, so you're bound to find one relatively close to where you are.

Connect to a server that is not overloaded

If many people use a single VPN server, the server may become overloaded and your connection speed may suffer. Some VPN providers display the current server load on their servers, in the app itself or on the website. If you choose one with a lighter load, you'll generally get faster speeds. If your VPN provider doesn't display the current load on their servers, try connecting to a few others to see which one offers the fastest speeds. Sometimes it just takes a little trial and error.

VPN slowing you down? Try these steps to speed things up. (2)

Try connecting using a different VPN protocol

A VPN protocol is a set of instructions between the VPN app on your device and the VPN server that determines how the secure connection is established. There are different VPN protocols out there, and most providers give you a few different options to choose from. Different protocols have different advantages and disadvantages in terms of speed and security. Therefore, if you connect using a VPN protocol, you can increase your VPN speed.

Today, OpenVPN is the gold standard VPN protocol. It is the most battle-tested protocol and offers a good combination of speed, stability and security, which is why many VPNs use OpenVPN as their default protocol. More and more VPN providers now also offer newer VPN protocols like IKEv2 andwire guardthat promise faster speeds along with excellent security. And some have even developed proprietary VPN protocols like Lightway and ExpressVPN.NordVPNNordLynx who claim to offer the best of both worlds.

If you switch to one of these other protocols, if offered by your VPN provider, you may experience faster connection speeds through your VPN. Keep in mind, however, that while their security appears to be strong, these protocols haven't been tested in the wild as thoroughly as OpenVPN, so they shouldn't be your first choice.critical use of VPN.

If you prefer to use OpenVPN exclusively, use UDP instead of TCP for the best speeds. While TCP is generally the most stable option, it tends to be slower than UDP because it needs to send data packets in order and waits for the recipient to confirm before sending the next packet. UDP doesn't care about the order in which it sends data packets or receives an acknowledgment, so it tends to be much faster and more efficient, but less stable.

Most VPN apps allow you to change the protocol you connect through in the settings panel, so try playing around with the protocol settings to see which ones offer the fastest speeds.

Enable split tunneling if available

If your VPN provider asplit tunneling featureand try enabling it to see if it can boost your VPN speed. Split tunneling allows you to send only the traffic you want through your VPN connection, while the rest is sent unencrypted through your regular Internet connection.

For example, if you use your VPN for streaming, you can only assign your streaming traffic to go through the VPN, which will not slow down your online games. This can help optimize your VPN speeds for specific activities, as all the excess traffic you don't need on your VPN won't hog your bandwidth.

Use a wired connection

Using a wired connection is generally faster than using Wi-Fi. Chances are you have multiple devices connected to your home Wi-Fi network at the same time, devices sharing all the resources and competing for resources on the same wireless channel. This can cause an unstable internet connection and slower speeds. If you have the right equipment, try a wired connection by connecting your computer directly to your router with an Ethernet cable and then connecting to your VPN.

Close unnecessary apps running in the background

If you have apps running in the background that you don't use, they can consume your computer's resources and slow down your connection. Take a minute to check if there's anything running in the background that you're not using, and close those processes. By eliminating potential bottlenecks like this, you may notice a faster connection.

Restart your router and other devices

When was the last time you reset your devices? Just like anything else, technologies like your computer and router occasionally need a little R&R. By restarting your computer, you give it a much-needed refresh, free up some RAM, and keep it running at its best. So, as clichéd as it sounds, try turning it off and on again and see how your VPN speeds improve.

Looking for more information about VPN? Check out our other coverages:

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