How Much Does VPN Slow my Internet Connection?

VPN SpeedA VPN allows you to hide IP information so hackers, phishing scammers and fraudsters can’t access your private information when you are surfing on the Internet in a public hotspot. Another reason why you would use a VPN is to access sites that are forbidden in certain countries. These could be movie websites, political news sites and even financial news websites. Despite these advantages, many potential VPN users are concerned with how this service affects Internet speed.

Actually, there are more than a few factors that could influence the speed of your Internet whether you are behind a VPN server or not. The factor with the most influence is, of course, the Internet speed you have and the distance between your location and the VPN server. For instance, if you are connecting from China to a New York VPN server, experiencing some loses of Internet speed is expected.

The VPN Server

Look for a VPN server with server locations nearest you. Find server locations in countries near yours, as the distance between your country and the server country does affect the speed with which the Internet flows through the VPN. This slowness is due to the time it takes a data packet to travel back and forth over the VPN. Another influencing factor is the VPN server load. Mainly, this is a problem of FREE VPN service providers. This can happen if there are a lot of users connected to this server at this particular moment. In this cases you can connect to a different server from the same country.

Authentication Key

There are 4 basic VPN protocols. Most of VPN providers provides PPTP, L2TP/IPSec and OpenVPN. Some of the top VPN services additionally offer SSTP. Each protocol has it’s own encryption level and are advised to be used in different cases. But the main rule is: the higher level encryption – the lower VPN speed. That is why, you will usually get better connection speeds with PPTP and L2TP/IPSec, as they use 128 bits encryption. And worse connection speed with OpenVPN which is more encrypted but you have to pay with speed for that extra security. We don’t advise to use OpenVPN for Torrents downloading. SSTP has the best ratio of encryption level and speed but unfortunately it’s available just on Windows.

ISP Speed Limitation

The speed which your ISP provides will also affect the speed of a VPN connection. Most high speed connections handle a minimum of 1.5 Mbps and may go up to 30 Mbps. In these cases the VPN speed won’t be much affected, but anything less than this (as supplied by dial-up or 3G connections) can cause VPN connectivity issues. Another factor depending of you ISP is the interconnection level of VPN provider with your ISP, so even if you have a 50 mbps but this interconnection is poor you can’t get the best from this VPN service. Also, in some cases and for some reasons, the higher your standard internet connection the more speed you “lose” in percents. For example, if you have 5 mbps connection, you’ll lose just 10-20% of bandwidth, and if you have 100 mbps you can lose even more than a half of your connection if you connect to a VPN.

Processor Speed

To give you more of an advantage you will want to use your VPN on a computer equipped with a faster processor or CPU, as this will create a faster connection for you.

Reliability

Look for a reliable VPN service company that has the least amount of data packet loss – the best are those that offer a 0% packet loss.

Firewall Settings

When setting up a VPN connection make sure your computer’s firewall setting is set so that the VPN can flow through consistently. Often firewall settings don’t affect the VPN but do affect the CPU speed which could slow down your VPN.

Bottom Line

Check all of these specifications when choosing your VPN server. Reliable services often have VPN servers in many different countries, thereby allowing you to choose one that is nearest your country. Avoid simply choosing a VPN because you like the country it is located in. Remember, you can’t expect a fast VPN service when you don’t have the right equipment or Internet service to support it. Contracting a VPN will not make an existing slow Internet connection any faster, and will impede an already slow connection even further, especially when more than one factor is influencing this slowness.

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Posted on February 25th, 2013 in About VPN, Good to know