“Does using VPN reduce your Internet connection speed? And if it does, is there a way to speed it up?” These are two main concerns that many people have when considering to start using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service.

If you want a brief answer, then it’s yes, by using VPN you may experience slight changes in the Internet speed. But not necessarily, because the Internet performance depends on a number of factors, and in some cases, VPN isn’t the one to blame. So let’s dig deeper to find out what exactly determines the Internet speed when your communications are protected with VPN.

1. Distance to a VPN Server

The rule is simple: the closer a VPN server is to your actual location, the better connection speeds you will get.

For instance, if you are connecting from France to a server located somewhere in the U.S, it is quite a long road for a data packet to travel. Therefore, it is always recommended to pick a server that is as close to you as possible. In this case, choose a server that is located in France or nearby countries.

Pro tip: To see how a VPN affects your connection, run an Internet speed test. You can also try connecting to different servers to find the fastest option.

2. Server Load

Another equally important factor is the VPN server load. When too many users connect to the same server, the Internet speed drops.

This is a common problem with many free VPN providers. Not only these services often offer a poor number of VPN servers, but they also tend to set monthly limits on their users’ bandwidth, allowing you to download and upload only a certain amount of data.

3. Type of Encryption

And now we have come to the point when you have to choose what’s more important to you: maximum Internet speed or safety of your private data, which may come at a minimal speed loss.

Most of advanced VPN services are committed to securing their users’ data, so they use the strongest encryption protocols available at that moment. Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is the current encryption standard that comes with different encryption levels: 128-bit, 192-bit, and 256-bit. You may get the idea by now: the higher the encryption level your VPN provider uses to protect you, the lower connection speeds you may get.

However, if you care about your privacy and online safety, it’s a very small sacrifice to make.

4. ISP Throttling

If you are experiencing slow Internet speeds, there’s a high chance your ISP (Internet Service Provider) is intentionally throttling your bandwidth.

It is a common practice for ISPs to slow down the connection speeds during peak times, or to limit traffic coming from a specific website.

If this is the case of your ISP preventing you from streaming your favorite shows or downloading content, a reliable VPN can actually help. By sending your Internet traffic through an encrypted VPN tunnel, you can bypass the content restrictions and ISP speed limitations.

Here’s How to Increase Your VPN Speed

If you use VPN for protecting your privacy when browsing the web, you shouldn’t have any trouble with the Internet speed. However, if you need VPN for secure streaming or P2P activities, you may want to do what’s possible to improve the connection speeds.

Here’s what you can do to make your connection faster: 

Check your Internet speed with and without VPN. If in both cases the connection is slow, consider switching to another ISP.

Pick the closest and the least crowded server or let the some custom algorithm to do that for you.

Temporarily disable your firewall and antivirus as they may be interfering with your VPN performance.

Try different protocols. If your VPN uses UDP protocol by default, switch to TCP, which is a bit faster, but less secure.

-Look for a VPN provider that offers ultra fast servers, optimized for video streaming and P2P activities. With NordVPN software, you can enjoy ultimate privacy and have a super-fast VPN experience available around the world.