For most users, the VPN turns from an optional tool into a daily necessity. Among the myriad of VPN services, it’s hard to find a service that will provide you strong encryption with good speed. Sites like VPN Review are trying to help you in this regard. However, it is a fact that VPN services, in some cases, will slow down your internet speed. Fortunately, there are several ways to speed up a slow VPN.
Table of Contents
Best ways to speed up your VPN
Here are suggested ways to increase the speed of your VPN
Switch VPN servers
A VPN server is one of the most common reasons for a slow VPN connection. There are many possibilities as to why this might be the case, the first being geographical distance.
It boils down to this: the higher the server, the more distance your data needs to travel, the slower the connection. Most service providers allow you to choose from a list of servers all over the world. As a first step, if you haven’t already done so, try the step closest to you and then check for speed improvement. It could be so simple.
If you are already using the closest server, the problem is likely to lie in the network path between you and that server. In this case, try other available servers (in order from closest to farthest) to see if you can find a server that works best. Sometimes, the server you are calling may encounter a huge request and become overloaded. Moving to an unexploited device (although it might be far away) can fix any speed issues.
Remember, you may need to switch servers more than once to find the server that gives you the best performance.
Try a different protocol
A VPN connection is an encrypted tunnel between your device and a VPN server. Keep prying eyes from seeing your traffic content. To create such a secure tunnel, VPN providers use different protocols and encryption standards. However, not every combination is created evenly. Some prioritize security and sacrifice, while others do the opposite.
In general, most commercial VPNs use OpenVPN. It is open-source and provides a good balance between speed and safety. In many cases, though, you may be able to find a different option that might work best in your specific circumstances.
One popular alternative is L2TP / IPSec, and given the right set of conditions, its use has a good chance of improving connection performance. Another protocol worth trying is PPTP. While PPTP is usually faster, it’s also more secure.
If speed is everything you care about, PPTP should be your best bet. Don’t rely on it just to keep your data safe from anyone committed to intercepting it.
Change Protocol Settings
Besides completely changing the VPN protocol, you can also change the settings within each of them. This can also lead to a noticeable increase in speed.
Some public networks (and even some private connections) restrict VPN traffic to reduce potential misuse. These networks may also experience instability caused by some of the client settings. Both things can mess up the VPN connection. To overcome these potential issues and improve performance, it is sometimes necessary to change the default configuration of your VPN software.
One setting to try changing is UDP’s preference over TCP. Both are protocols used to send data bits over the Internet. By default, most VPN connections use UDP, which is usually the fastest of the two options. In some cases, however, switching to TCP can lead to a faster connection, especially if the underlying network is unstable.
Another setting to try to configure is the port you use for your VPN. Switch it to 443. This port is what your SSL (encrypted) web traffic uses. Networks rarely block or choke on networks because this would restrict normal web use.
Switch VPN programs
Most of the time, the client software provided by your VPN provider is pre-configured to offer the best performance with their service. In some cases, though, the programs or settings on your device may interfere with the standard configuration, one that is suitable for everyone.
There are definitely times when you can try a different VPN software package to improve results and give faster internet speeds. However, before proceeding this path, note that it may require some more advanced technical know-how.
Since most VPN services use OpenVPN as the standard communication protocol, the best place to start is to get the OpenVPN client from Vanilla. Here is where you can find it, listed by OS:
Consult your VPN provider for instructions on configuring the software, as there are possible settings specific to each VPN service. Most service providers provide a step-by-step guide available on their support sites, and this is the best place to start.
Enable Split Tunnel
In some cases, the requests you place on your VPN connection are greater than the connection can handle, and it’s easy and simple. If you use multiple bandwidth applications simultaneously, and you cannot or do not want to close some of them to solve your speed problems, many VPN providers offer another option. It is called a split tunnel.
Split Tunneling allows you to limit which traffic passes the VPN and which ones go out without encryption over the usual internet connection.
If your VPN provider allows you to use split tunnels, follow their instructions to run it properly. Regardless of how this solution works, it will boil down to deciding which traffic will be exempt from the VPN tunnel and which should be included.
In some cases, you may also be able to use a reverse split tunnel. This feature allows you to specify the traffic that you should use a VPN instead of excluding a large number of programs or types of traffic. Reverse Split Tunnel is an excellent option if you are using a VPN to evade region restrictions or bypass the content overruns set by your country or ISP.
Check your Internet Service
If you’re still experiencing slow speeds after trying all of the above methods to speed up your VPN when accessing websites or other online services with a VPN, then the next thing is to find out if your primary internet connection is the cause.
First, disconnect the VPN. Disconnecting ensures your data comes out directly through a standard internet connection and is not forwarded via a VPN server.
Once done, do a speed test to determine your internet performance. If the results are subnet, just remove the VPN as the source of the problem.
Assuming bad results, you can try restarting your internet modem (if you are connected to the home) or trying to switch to a different hotspot if available. If none of these steps solve the problem, you will have to take it with your ISP or Focal Point owner.