7 Factors that May Affect the VPN Speed

Whether you have just launched your startup or your small business has already gained some stability and is ready to move to the next level, a VPN can be of greater importance for your business. It helps you protect your business data by keeping a secure company network and internet connection.

Using a VPN for your business allows you to ensure and maintain high levels of privacy and security.

Similar to any kind of service or software, VPNs are not perfect in their functionality, even if their intention is to do otherwise. When you are using private network connections, there can be some problems that you go through, especially when it comes to the performance of your connections.

There are times when the connection is very slow, while other times you might not get to connect to servers in the network. Other times, you might accidentally reveal the actual IP address you are using while you are waiting for the connection to occur.

With that said, the next question you need to ask is what is causing the issue. There are some factors that can lead to this issue, which we will discuss in the article below.

1- Server locations

You might not look at the location of your server when you are choosing a service or how it even affects your speed, but it actually does. For instance, you choose an American VPNs when you are living in a geographic region that is far away, the speed will be slower because the data is traveling over a very large distance.

The latency (slower speed) increases when the data travels over very long distances. Moreover, not every data packet that you send across these long distances, and not everything will arrive at the intended destination. The further the information needs to travel, the higher the chances of losing these data packets.

One thing you need to remember is that the internet, overall, is not just a single network; it covers so many countries, and this is impossible. The internet is instead, a series of networks that are interconnected and are under the ownership of organizations, businesses, and governments. If your data is travelling over a long distance of state boundaries, then it decreases its speed – a process known as peering, where the priority of the data exchange and terms involved are exchanged between different networks.

There are also international bandwidth considerations to remember, such as fiber optic cables that connect a certain country or region being more limited compared to others.

2- Overload of the server

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You will always get certain amounts of bandwidth when you are connecting to a VPN server. In the case of some providers (such as free VPNs) you will get bandwidth caps for specified amounts. Other VPN providers will spread out the bandwidth to all the users on the server as efficiently as possible. Regardless of the VPN, their servers will all have limits, which are known as ‘server loads’.

If you might not know, server load is the bandwidth amount in total that is under use and has a direct relation to the number of users that are sharing the same server.

An example would be if you are using a server that has its highest bandwidth capacity at 1000 Mbps, and you have 100 users in the server, each user gets an allocation of 10 Mbps. There are some VPNs though that will use the ‘smart’ bandwidth allocation, where they will shift more bandwidth to the users that need it more (for instance, when you are streaming or tormenting files), and move the bandwidth away from those that are not using as much data, resulting in slower connections.

3- Type of protocol/encryption level

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Depending on the type of encryption protocol that you are using, it can also have an impact on the connection speed as well. The encryption process will add more data, therefore adding the encryption results in slower bandwidth, and therefore slower speed. The opposite is true; lower encryption levels leads to less added bandwidth, and faster speed.

Many VPNs will now utilize a protocol known as OpenVPN, which will give optimal results when it comes to speed and security. There are some VPNs to give you an option to choose between TCP and UDP when you are using OpenVPN. TCP is an acronym for Transmission Control Protocol, and it includes checking errors that will confirm that all data packets have been delivered.

On the other hand, UDP is an acronym for User Datagram Protocol, and unlike TCP, it will not check whether every data pocket has been delivered. Since the TCP protocol has an extra step, it will become slower than the UDP, and vice versa.

4- Antiviruses and firewalls

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Firewalls will not necessarily impact the performance of a VPN, unless they are made to interfere with your CPU’s performance or VPN traffic. In cases such as this one, the speed slows down considerably, or blocks the traffic entirely.

There can be additional software that can slow down your VPN speeds considerably as well, such as antimalware and antiviruses, through them scanning every outgoing and incoming data packets, which can be slowing down the connection.

5- Setup of your network

There are times when you might go through slower speeds connecting through Wi-Fi networks, instead of LAN cables, which is the opposite of what you might think. You might also experience slower speeds through VPNs that are set up through your router rather than the device itself.

The good thing about routers is their relatively low cost, because you do not need additional technology or CPUs for them to be effective in service; but that will also mean that the router is slower in its connection speed compared to your old smartphone.

6- Algorithms that the VPN uses

The method and algorithms that your VPN service uses when it is routing traffic between servers, even if they are in the same physical location, has a significant impact.

If the VPN provider is less experienced or has little resources, they can do this in an inefficient manner, which leads to the VPN speeds slowing down to a large extent.

7- Connection speed of the ISP

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Regardless of the VPN speeds you have, it will not make much of a difference if the ISP has a slow connection speed, because the ISP will always limit the VPN connection.

Final thoughts

There are plenty of reasons that lead to differences in performance and speed of the VPN you use, and it is important to know them so that you can do some troubleshooting procedures and correct the problem.