Does A VPN Slow Down Internet Speed?

Michael Gargiulo - CEO, VPN.com

By: Michael Gargiulo, CEO at VPN.com

Updated: 3:05 PM ET شنبه, اګست 8th 2020

Speed meter showing Internet speed.

Using a VPN to connect to the Internet creates a secure connection between your computer or mobile device and the sites you visit, allowing you to browse the web safely. And anytime you go online, speed is important. Nobody wants to deal with loading pages, long downloads, buffering streams, or lagging video games.

As a result, there’s an important question to ask anytime you consider using a VPN: does it slow down my Internet speed?

The answer to this question is nuanced and can be influenced by a number of factors. Lets fully explore what a VPN can and can’t do in regards to your Internet speed. We’ll also give some tips about how to maximize your Internet connection and offer our recommendations for the fastest VPN providers.

 

 

How Much Does A VPN Slow Down Internet Speed?

The average Internet will experience 10-20% slower speeds while using a VPN. So if you usually get 100 mbps, you can expect to get 80-90 mbps with a VPN enabled. For most use cases, that difference won’t be noticeable.

Users Of Small VPN Providers May Have Slower Speeds

The size and scope of VPN providers varies greatly. The most successful services have hundreds — if not thousands — of servers to accommodate for millions of users. They also have teams of industry-leading software engineers and programmers dedicated to maintaining and optimizing the servers. Users of these VPN services experience next to no drop in Internet speed.

In Some Cases, A VPN Can Make Your Internet Faster

ISPs regularly slow down the Internet speeds of their customers to maintain the load on their servers. If your Internet provider caps, puts a limit on, or throttles your bandwidth, a VPN can free you from those restrictions. 

Your Internet provider can no longer see what you’re doing, meaning you’ll get consistent speeds with no drops — no matter how much bandwidth you’re using.

Factors That Can Affect Your VPN’s Speed

  • The VPN server you’re connected to. The location and users of the VPN server you choose can affect your speed dramatically. An overcrowded server won’t have enough bandwidth to go around, and far away servers cause your data to travel long distances. Close servers with plenty of spare bandwidth will be the fastest.
  • Your ISP. Even though a VPN hides your activity from your Internet provider and prevents them from slowing down your Internet, it won’t make your connection faster than intended. If you want to get 100 Mbps with a VPN, make sure you have a plan with your ISP for at least that much.
  • Your VPN protocol. VPN’s offer several encryption protocols to choose from to protect your data. Older protocols or ones focused solely on security will be slower. We recommend using OpenVPN. It’s the most recent encryption protocol, offers a good balance of speed and security, and is compatible with every platform.
  • Your Internet set up. When available, a cabled Ethernet connection is much faster than WiFi. When using WiFi, consider the quality/age of your router and your device’s distance from it.
  • The device you’re using. Some devices are inherently faster or slower than others. For example, a smart phone on WiFi will never be as fast as a PC with an i7 processor and a cabled Internet connection. In particular older devices may be slower when using a VPN.
  • Your local Internet infrastructure. Rural areas generally have less Internet access and slower connection speeds. If you suffer from slow speeds due to Internet availability where you live, a VPN is unlikely to improve your connection.
  • Your VPN service. The VPN provider you subscribe to is the largest determining factor of the Internet speed you will receive. Small providers may not have the resources to offer consistent speeds to all their users. Free VPNs are almost always slower (and less secure) than their paid counterparts. Only the best VPNs can afford to maintain enough high speed servers to compensate for all their customers.

A VPN Does Not Need To Slow Down Your Internet Speed

There’s no reason that you need to opt for a VPN that will slow down your Internet. The fastest VPN are available for less than $10 a month and will ensure you never have to sacrifice speed for security.

After testing over 900 VPN, here are the fastest services we have found to date:

 

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The Fastest VPNs Of September 2020

VPN Service

Features

Rating

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1

NordVPN

  • Encrypts your data twice
  • Blocks malware, ads, & bots
  • Zero-log policy confirmed by independent auditors
  • Compatible with Tor for complete privacy & anonymity
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
2

SurfShark

  • Blocks ads, malware, and phishing attempts
  • Increased footprint masking with MultiHop
  • Camouflage Mode hides the VPN from your ISP
  • Protect unlimited devices with one account
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
3

CyberGhost

  • First VPN to publish a Transparency Report
  • WireGuard encryption combines security & speed
  • NoSpy servers guarantee 100% anonymity
  • Protect up to 7 devices with one account
  • Free trial and a 45-day money-back guarantee
4

SaferVPN

  • Automatic WiFi security makes every hotspot safe
  • Bank-level 256-bit strong encryption
  • Anonymous payment options
  • Protect up to 5 devices with one account
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
5

VPN Unlimited

  • DNS Firewall blocks malware and malicious sites
  • Personal VPN servers
  • Zero-log policy
  • Protect up to 10 devices with one account
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
6

ExpressVPN

  • Automatic encryption protocol selection
  • Innovative TrustedServer technology
  • No user logs, no DNS blocking, & no third parties
  • Protect up to 5 devices with one account
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
7

TorGuard

  • Stealth VPN hides the VPN from your ISP
  • Combines AES-256 encryption with SHA-512
  • Good variety of protocol options
  • Protect up to 8 devices with one account
  • 7-day free trial
8

Private Internet Access

  • Blocks ads, trackers, and malware
  • SOCKS5 Proxy included
  • No traffic or request logs
  • Anonymous payment options
  • Protect up to 10 devices with one account
9

IPVanish

  • 250 GB SugarSync encrypted storage & backup
  • Zero log policy
  • Multi-platform protection
  • Protect unlimited devices with one account
  • Exclusive pricing for students
10

Avast SecureLine

  • Open-source privacy protection
  • Share a single IP address with thousands of users
  • DNS leak protection
  • Protect up to 5 devices with one account
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
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