VPNs or virtual private networks are one of the best tools for maximizing internet privacy. You can use a VPN to encrypt your connection and create a private network from a public internet connection. It helps block any websites or apps that constantly track your online activity and analyze the data they collect.
And VPNs can even help businesses reduce the cost of maintaining servers! In short, VPNs are great – when they work. You might notice that every time you enable the VPN, your internet speed slows down. This can prove to be a big nuisance, and it usually happens because the VPN adds extra steps between you and the Internet, so users are bound to experience some slow down in their connection.
VPNs increase data usage by around 5-10% due to the encryption process. And in terms of speed, your VPN can only be as fast as your internet connection. Therefore, ensuring you have an effective and fast Wifi connection is crucial. Nowadays, Mesh Wifi systems can allow for faster speeds, better reliability and greater wireless coverage for your home. Slight drops in internet speed of around 10-20% are considered normal due to increased security and privacy, and you’ll hardly notice it when you have fast internet.
However, even with a fast wifi connection, you may find your VPN hauling in more problems than benefits regarding internet speed. Luckily, there are a couple of ways to increase your internet speed while using a VPN. Give the methods mentioned below a try, and see if you can mix and match to see which ones work best.
1. Select a different VPN server
VPNs send your encrypted data to an external server from where it is forwarded to the destination address. When users face internet speed problems while using a VPN, sometimes it’s a simple matter of choosing a VPN server closer to you. In general, a server closer to you will deliver stronger internet connection speeds since it reduces the distance that your data has to travel. And choosing a server that is too far away from one’s location will slow down the connection. As long as you’re in the same country, the VPN should be able to change your IP address to that of the server.
Top VPN companies such as ExpressVPN and Nord VPN usually select the fastest VPN servers available for your coordinates The result? An efficient, fast internet connection and maximized security and privacy while surfing the web.
However, sometimes speed may not improve despite selecting the closest server. This could be due to the high server load. In these cases, selecting a different, less-congested server is the best way to get a faster connection.
2. Change your VPN protocols
VPN protocols are basically the system responsible for encrypting your data before forwarding it to an external server. And consequently, the protocol that you use impacts levels of security, VPN speed and internet speed. Although many protocols offer high-level encryption and maximum security, such strong encryption can also take a huge chunk out of your VPN speed.
Therefore, changing your protocol settings is also an effective way to boost your internet speed. You might find yourself not needing such high-security settings, and editing your VPN protocol settings accordingly might make a significant difference in your internet speed.
3. Enable split tunneling
When you connect to a VPN, your data is encrypted and sent to the VPN’s server. The server then decrypts the data and sends it back to your computer or device. This process of sending and decrypting data is called tunneling. One of the most common ways to improve internet connection speed is to enable split tunneling on the VPN. When users enable split tunneling on their VPN, it allows them to choose which apps get their data through their VPN and which apps get it through their local internet connection.
This is often used to reduce the speed impact of apps that only require a small amount of data, such as email and social media apps. It also allows users to watch their favorite sports and TV shows through the VPN without it impacting their data speeds. Most users don’t need to enable split tunneling, as it’s already enabled by default when a VPN is installed. In some cases, enabling split tunneling can improve internet connection speed by up to 50%.
4. Close unnecessary apps in the background
If you check at any given time, there are probably several unnecessary apps and programs running silently in the background of your device, consuming processing power and bandwidth. And if you have enough unnecessary background apps, your connection speed will be significantly slower. It’s important to check background apps and close ones that aren’t needed. A simple step, but doing this regularly should definitely improve your VPN speed.
Users can close background apps and programs using the Task Manager on Windows and Activity Monitor on a Mac. However, ensure that you do not accidentally close processes and programs essential to your system.