Does a VPN Throttle Internet Speed? (How to Check and Fix)

3 min

This is a question that is on every user’s mind when they consider using a VPN. They know they need one but the potential reduction in their Internet speed is a big concern. What if I don’t get my usual download speed? Will Reddit load slower? I can take the blue screen of death but I can’t take slow Internet, they bemoan.

More questions arise out of it with no solid answer insight. The thought meanders and they continue to browse the web without a VPN.

Unless you resolve that concern once and forever.

Today, we are going to do just that. First, we will understand if VPNs do in fact reduce Internet speed. Then we will look at how you can check the degree of that impact on speed, and in case of bigger damage, look at ways to prevent or control it. Read on.

Does a VPN Affect Internet Speed?

Yes. Almost all VPNs have some impact on Internet speed. This is because a VPN essentially routes the web traffic through a server (or more) before it reaches the destination location. Then the response takes the same route back, eventually increasing the time it takes for all this to happen.

This amount of time taken for the response to load after a user action is called latency. A higher Internet latency caused by data centers being far apart is the main reason for speed reduction while using a VPN. This is why we at TuxlerVPN recommend selecting a closer VPN server to achieve better speeds.

Whether this impact on speed can be termed throttling – assumed reduction – will depend on several factors such as increased latency, encryption, and server load. 

Increased Latency Affects Speed

If Austin-based Rita connects to a VPN based in Ontario, her connections will travel from Austin to Ontario and then to the web server she is originally trying to connect to. The response will take the same route back, adding to increased latency. This effect is termed the trombone effect and is the biggest contributor to speed throttling in VPNs.

Note – In this case, we are referring to speed throttling as a phenomenon caused by using a VPN. In a general sense, it usually refers to a situation where an ISP limits traffic to a certain website, thereby increasing the load time.

Server Overload in Free VPNs Is Problematic

If a VPN server can only handle 900 requests but over double that are sent at a given point, then there will be a sudden rise in the load time. This can give you a feeling that your Internet speed has gone down. 

This is where premium residential VPNs like TuxlerVPN beat free and low-quality ones. A good way to avoid server overload is to pay for a good-quality VPN. Check out our premium plan with unlimited bandwidth and a greater number of locations.

Encryption vs Speed

When you use a VPN, all your traffic is encrypted before sending and decrypted before receiving. This process takes time, adding to the overall load time. The encryption time depends on the VPN protocol being used, so the more advanced protocol employed the more time it takes. Which also means you are more secure.

While latency and server load can be controlled, the encryption process cannot be compromised. If you choose to skip encryption, you not only put yourself at risk of online fraud and intrusion but also negate the purpose of using a VPN. 

How to Check If a VPN Is Reducing Your Internet Speed?

We recommend Speedtest by Ookla. Check your Internet connection speed before and after connecting to a VPN to ascertain the potential throttling. If you detect a drop of more than 40%, it may be wise to change your VPN settings or opt for another provider.

How to Prevent Speed Issues When Using a VPN?

There are several ways to prevent speed throttling while using a VPN. Some of them are listed below:

  • Choose the closest server possible (from your physical location)
  • Select another VPN protocol (e.g.: IKEv2/IPSec may provide faster connectivity)
  • Buy a better VPN plan
  • Write to your VPN provider and request 
  • Check if your ISP is throttling your speed (and raise a request)
  • Change your VPN provider

We don’t recommend switching off encryption because it will render the whole idea of setting up a VPN useless.

Moreover, it is usually recommended to upgrade your Internet or broadband plan when you decide to use a VPN. This will offset any throttling that you may face later, thereby not affecting your web activities.

Sometimes just using a VPN is not enough. It has to perform the way you want it to be, which includes ‘not reducing your Internet speed’. Get a premium VPN. Buy TuxlerVPN today.

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