There is no denying that speed is important, especially because we live in an interconnected world where everything moves really quickly. When you are choosing a VPN service, speed is among the factors you will consider when you are selecting a provider, aside from other factors. However, slow connections can happen even to the best VPNs, and the experience of using them can be frustrating to say the least.
There is some good news though; you can increase the speed of your VPN connection during the times it takes a hit. It is possible to achieve this, as long as you have the right techniques, tools, and settings. We will discuss them in this article below.
Check the speed of your internet connection
If the connection is slow in the first place, then you cannot expect the VPN itself to be the bad guy in this instance. There are plenty of services that will allow you to test your ISP connection speeds, so you can use them to run a quick test, and check the speeds of the internet without and with a VPN.
The reason is that this will help you to know if the VPN itself is the reason for the slower speed, or if you need to upgrade the internet connection hardware and plans you use.
Check the protocols in use and tinker with them
The best USA VPNs and even those in use in other regions of the world, such as NordVPN, will come with additional security settings. They will also include other features that can help you to adjust the speed of the VPN.
For instance, NordVPN has its Advanced Settings on its app, where you can go to and change the connection protocol you are using, if it is available.
There are 2 main types of protocols: TCP (Transmission Control protocol) or UDP (User Datagram Protocol). TCP is the safer one and more stable, but it is slower because it includes checking errors that will confirm that all data packets have been delivered to and from their destination and points of origin.
On the other hand, UDP is the faster one, but less reliable and riskier (though if you are doing general tasks on the internet like surfing, it should not present much of an issue). Sine it does not check whether every data pocket has been delivered, it can have some issues with instability in some cases.
Always remember that internet speeds are relative in terms of ‘fast’ or ‘slow’, and you will likely not notice significant differences until you decide to push the limits of the connection.
Restarting the modem/router
This is as simple as it actually sounds. If the modem or router is operating at a slow speed due to issues such as memory leaks, then it will probably help when you do the classic old-fashioned restart. Other than that, it is important to remember that VPN connections on the router are slower than when you install a VPN on your device and use it from there (the exception is if the router is very powerful).
If you set up VPN on the router and eventually notice that the speed is very low, you are better off using the VPN on your device only. Avoid using VPNs on both your device and the router simultaneously, because the speeds will be even slower.
Changing the location of the server
Server locations are important, especially because the distance between your device and the server will determine the speed. If the server is far away, for example choosing one in Tokyo when you are surfing from Europe, it will slow the transmission rate of the data packets, therefore slowing the speed down.
There are a number of issues that come up with long-distance servers:
- The longer the distance, the more the data packets get lost, and slower speeds
- The Limited bandwidth of international data tunnels
- Complex peering processes between different networks and countries
What do all these mean?
- Lost packets – not all data that you send over the internet will arrive at its intended destination. Sometimes you will need to resend data when packets get lost.
- Peering – the internet is not one massive network, as you might think; and it is not under the ownership of a specific person. Instead, it is a whole series of interconnected networks, under the ownership of organizations, governments, and companies. When the data packets are traveling over these networks, there can be latency (slowing down) of speeds because of the peering arrangements in place (the priority or terms that dictate the exchange of data).
- Limitations on international bandwidth – you might wonder why internet speeds are slower in South Africa, for example, compare to countries in Western Europe. It might be due to the long distance the data has to travel through, but it can also be under limitations due to the underwater fiber optic cables that are connecting South Africa to other data networks. These cables usually carry finite data at once, rather than unlimited amounts, which can increase latency and slower speeds.
Thankfully, there are plenty of good VPNs that have a wide variety of servers that are spread out across the world, and it can help to increase your speed when you connect to nearby servers. The more servers a VPN offers, the better it is to increase your speed.
Change the levels of encryption
This is entirely dependent on the device you are using to connect to the internet, as not all devices will have all the protocols and encryption levels available. It will also depend on the specific VPN, as well as the platform you use.
However, there is something to note before changing the encryption: make sure you know the differences between different encryption types, and know the risks that are associated with different protocols.
If possible, use wired connection
While Wi-Fi is great because it increases the convenience of making internet connections, it can slow down your speed when multiple devices are using the same network simultaneously. If it is possible, consider changing to wired connections to enjoy faster speeds.
Hopefully, these tips will help you to know what to do when making your VPN connection faster, so try them out and see what works for you.