Does a VPN decrease/increase your internet speed?

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VPN’s primary functions involve providing security and privacy. Other accrued benefits include unblocking and gaining access to restricted content. But that’s not all, depending on certain factors, a VPN can increase or decrease your internet connection speed. As a rule of thumb, a VPN is supposed to reduce your internet speed due to server connections and encryption overheads. But at times you can experience an increase in speeds. We are going to look at factors which influence this phenomenon.

ISP throttling

This is the most common factor that influences an increase in internet speeds when using a VPN. Most times, ISPs want to ensure that their customers are satisfied with their service especially when they don’t have adequate infrastructure or want to make a profit. For instance, some users may use a lot of bandwidth, and this may create a deficit for other users who don’t take up much bandwidth. Example, users who stream, play online games and torrent use a lot of bandwidth. An ISP can choose to throttle the speed for such tasks to ensure everybody on the network has average speed. Other times, an ISP may throttle speeds to some services due to business conflicts. For instance, Netflix may be throttled if the ISP offers its streaming services.

ISPs throttle your internet by seeing what you are doing online. This is easy as they monitor all your internet traffic. Throttling may result in a drastic drop in your internet speed, let’s say you may experience 10mbps whereas you have paid for 15 Mbps. When using a VPN, your ISP will not see what services you are using that are taking more bandwidth and hence they may not throttle what they can’t see. A VPN achieves these by encrypting and obfuscating your internet traffic.

Poor routing

Due to various reasons and other business decisions, your ISP may implement routing connections that may not favor your speed connections. For example, a longer route will result in a drop in your connection speed. When using a VPN, some of these routing connections are not experienced as the VPN breaks them and connects you to its nearest server. This will, in turn, increase the internet speed.

Apart from the above factors, a VPN is supposed to decrease your internet speed but by a smaller percentage. If you are experiencing drastic drops in speed, its because of the following factors;

Encryption

The stronger the encryption protocol, the slower your VPN connection will be. Strong encryptions result in higher encryption overheads on your internet speed. To experience both speed and security, use a balanced encryption protocol such as OpenVPN UDP. This protocol is suitable for streaming.

Server connections.

The further the server, the slower the connection. This factor depends on other factors, and the rule may not hold at all times. This can happen when a nearer server is overloaded and results into performance issues which give rise to slower connection speeds. For better speeds. Check if the server is overloaded when connecting to it. You can know this by checking the response time.

Free/paid VPN

A free VPN service is bound to experience slower connection speeds than a paid VPN. This is due to some various reasons such as more users connected to it, poor optimization and inadequate infrastructure.

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