Recently, more and more Internet users are switching to a secure connection using a VPN (Virtual Private Network). However, many of them face the problem of a slow Internet speed when using this technology. In this article we will figure out whether a VPN affects the Internet speed and why it happens.
This is especially important for the people working or studying online. A slower speed can significantly affect the performance and make it difficult to complete tasks. This article will be useful for anyone who uses VPN services and faces problems related to the Internet speed.
Can a VPN slow down the Internet?
Right away we want to say that yes, a VPN can slow down the Internet speed. The principle of this technology implies that all the data that is transmitted between the user’s computer and the sites passes through the VPN service server, which processes and encrypts it. It is an additional step in the process of transferring data that needs to be processed, and therefore the speed is affected. However, that’s not all.
Why does the Internet speed get slower with a VPN?
Additional reasons for a slower Internet speed when using a VPN are:
- Network connection quality: if you already have problems connecting to the Internet, using a VPN can make the situation even worse. A poor network connection quality can lead to a slower VPN productivity and result in a slower speed.
- VPN’s server location: if the VPN server is situated far away from you, it can affect the Internet speed as well. For example, if you are in the USA and the VPN server is located in Europe, your traffic must cross the ocean to reach the server and return back to you. It will cause additional delays and will slow down the Internet speed.
- Restrictions on the VPN provider’s side: some VPN providers limit the Internet speed for their users. It usually happens if you lack bandwidth or traffic quota.
- Capacity of VPN servers: if many users connect simultaneously to one VPN server, it can become overcrowded and, as a result, the Internet speed will slow down.
- Using outdated devices: If you have an old laptop or smartphone, it probably doesn’t support modern VPN protocols, which may also slow down your Internet speed.
How do I check my Internet speed?
There are several ways to check if your VPN is “eating” your Internet speed. The first way is to use websites such as Speedtest.net or Fast.com, which allow you to measure how fast the data is loading. You should run the tests with and without a VPN and then compare the results.
The second way is to use applications measuring the Internet speed, such as the services Speedtest by Ookla and Netflix’s Fast.com mentioned above. As for the smartphones and tablets, you can use Speed Test Master, Fing, Meteor or Simple SpeedTest. They also allow you to do a test with or without a VPN.
The third way is to use the ping command at the command line. It allows you to measure the ping time between your device and the remote VPN server. If the ping time increases when using the VPN, it probably means that the Internet speed is affected.
To open the ping command at the command line and measure the ping time between your device and the remote VPN server, follow these steps:
- Open the command line on your device:
- For Windows. Click the “Start” button in the lower left corner of the screen. Type “cmd” in the search bar. Press “Enter” or select “Command Prompt” from the list of applications.
- For macOS. Use the “Terminal” program to find the ping command. Find it through the Spotlight or in the “Utilities” folder in your applications.
- For Linux. Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Alt+T to open the “Terminal” program.
- Enter “ping” and a space, followed by the IP address of the remote VPN server. For example, “ping 192.168.1.1”. If you don’t know the IP address of the VPN server, you can find it in the VPN connection settings or contact the technical support of your VPN provider.
- Press “Enter”.
- Wait for the ping test to complete. The results will show the time it takes to transfer the data between your device and the remote VPN server.
- Compare the time with and without the VPN. If the latency time (ping) increases when using a VPN, it may be a sign that the Internet speed was slowed down.
As for Android and iOS devices, you can call the command line, using the Terminal Emulator app (or any other app that can be found in the Google Play Store, searching for phrases “terminal”, “command line” or “console”) for the first one and WebSSH for the last one. Otherwise you can use apps like Ping, Ping & DNS, IP Tools or PingTools Network Utilities, which also measure the latency time (ping) between your device and the remote VPN server.
In general, the answer to the question whether a VPN can be the reason for a slow Internet speed depends on many factors. If you want to use a VPN but you are concerned about your Internet speed, you should run your own tests and evaluate the effectiveness of the VPN service on your device and in your network. Some VPN services offer trial periods or money-back guarantees, which can help you decide which service is right for you.
In any case, it is worth remembering that the security of your data and personal information is more important than a slight decrease in the Internet speed. Therefore, if you manage sensitive data, the speed should not be the main criterion for choosing a VPN service.
In the following article, you’ll find out what to do if your VPN is slowing down your Internet speed. We’ll show you a few ways to improve your VPN connection’s performance. Stay tuned!