On the internet, there are billions of packets routed between millions of devices each day. It is a massive and dynamic network. At any point, it is possible for some of the hardware routing the packets to become unavailable. When this occurs, data packets have to find a new path to reach their destination causing some slowdown, much like road traffic does during periods of construction. It may take time before an optimal new path is found or the old one restored. Therefore, speed issues are usually temporary. If they are not, here are a few things to consider.
The speed of any VPN will always be bound by the maximum speed of your internet connection. In fact in most cases, you should expect a VPN to be about 10% to 20% slower. This slowdown is due to things like data encryption and VPN server load and distance.
If you regularly find yourself having performance issues with your VPN, try some or all of the following.
Switch the VPN Protocol or Port
Devices typically connect to VPN servers using a predefined set of ports and a specific protocol. The maximum speed of these can be restricted by some internet service providers. Try playing around with various protocol and port combinations and use the one that gives you the best results.
Switch the VPN Server
The closer a server is to you, generally the faster the connection will be. Try picking a server that is as physically close to you as possible. Changing servers may also cause your data to avoid an area of the internet that is currently heavily congested.
Try a Different Device
The device you are using may be unable to handle the increased load required to encrypt VPN transmissions. Older computers or smartphones are prime candidates. If you have access to a newer device with a better processor and more memory, try using it instead.
Stop Using Wifi
Your Wifi may be limiting the speed of your VPN connection. A single Wifi network can be simultaneously servicing multiple devices, with each eating into its maximum bandwidth. Plug in directly into your router with a cable if you can do so.
Turn off Your Security Software
Anti-virus software or a firewall can have a detrimental effect on a VPN connection. These applications typically scan and filter any outgoing and incoming packets. While you shouldn’t permanently disable your security software, try disabling it temporarily to see if your VPN speed improves. If it does, make soure your anti-virus application or firewall is properly configured.
Restart Your Router or Device
The longer they are on, the slower devices become. This applies to computers, smartphones as well as routers. This decrease in speed is generally due to issues like memory leaks. Simply restarting any or all of your devices and routers may cause a noticeable improvement in your VPN connection speed.
Various internet service provider issues can cause VPN slowdowns. Take your device to a local coffee shop, library or the neighbor’s house and connected from there to see if your speed improves.
These seven points are some of the easiest and quickest ways to diagnose a slow VPN connection. If you find that none of these are helping, your next best step is to contact your VPN provider’s support department.