You know something is wrong when the dreaded bumper wheel starts turning. With a good connection, you don't have to deal with laggy streaming and endless downloads, but some people worry that using a VPN will slow down their internet speed significantly. In fact, a simple VPN speed test can determine if this is true.
So, can a VPN hurt your internet speed? How to perform a VPN speed test?
Do VPNs Slow Down Your Internet Speed?
When the VPN is on, data is encrypted and sent from the device to the server, where it is decrypted. This inevitably adds a few milliseconds to the time. However, if you are usingFast VPN , the difference is usually imperceptible and can be completely ignored.
If browsing the web is noticeably slower, several factors may be at play:
- Infrastructure used by VPN providersMay be stale or insufficient, which often results in slower speeds and unstable connections.
- Security protocols between different VPNsVaries, some are faster than others. For example, NordVPN uses a highly secure and extremely fastNordLynxprotocol. Other VPNs, especially free services, sometimes use older, less reliable protocols.
- serverUsually the source of the problem. If the VPN company doesn't bother to set up enough servers, heavy traffic can cause internet speeds to drop dramatically.
When choosing a VPN, it's important to know how fast it can move your data. This is where speed tests come in handy.
How to Test Your VPN Speed
Several different online services allow you to conduct VPN tests.SpeedtestJust one example. However, you should take their results with a grain of salt, as VPN speeds can vary depending on your internet connection, computer performance, and even browsers.
It is best to conduct VPN speed tests in a controlled environment so that these factors do not affect the results.
NordVPNspeed test toolContains several features to accurately measure your VPN speed.
For best results, be sure to close any other pages and applications that might be using a lot of bandwidth. Close extra tabs and stay away from streaming platforms like Netflix or Twitch during testing.
to startUse the NordVPN speed test and comparison tool, see the README on Github.
Speedtest will evaluate your internet speed using three key metrics – and in turn the speed of your VPN. "Upload" and "Download" speeds are measured in Mbps (megabits per second), and you'll also get a "ping" rating. Here's what they all mean:
- download speed:This is the speed or speed at which data from the internet reaches you. The higher this number, the faster you can stream videos, download files, and access different pages. Ideally, you want to see download speeds of around 20 to 25 Mbps.
- Upload speed:Upload speed is the speed at which you send data and requests to the network. Low upload speeds are especially problematic if you're streaming to other devices (for example, during a video call or on Instagram Live). If you need to stream high-quality video to other people, you're looking for upload speeds of around 3 Mbps for casual home use and around 10 Mbps.
- Pings:You'll also get a "ping rate" result, which represents the overall speed. The lower your ping number, the faster your internet. Let's say your Speedtest results show 80 pings with the VPN on. This means that it takes about 80ms for a packet to be sent from your device to the server and back.
Turn the VPN on and off to test yourself. As with any encrypted service, NordVPN can cause slight slowdowns, but rarely any noticeable performance issues.
How to speed up your VPN
Sometimes, even if you are using a high-quality VPN, you may notice a slight drop in download speed or a spike in ping rate. Don't give up encryption too soon - you can try a few things to improve your speed:
- Disconnect and reconnect.A good VPN provider will maintain multiple servers in more populated areas. For example, NordVPN has over 2,500 servers in the US alone. If your internet is slow, there may be an issue with the specific server you're on, so just reconnect to a different server in your chosen location.
- Change security protocols.Different security protocols can change internet speeds, so try changing your protocol if necessary. If you are using NordVPN, you can switch between OpenVPN and NordLynx protocols directly in the app.
- Select a new location.If the problem is regional, you can choose a new server in another country. NordVPN offers over 5,400 servers in 60 countries around the world. You can always find a location that will give you the best internet experience.
You never have to choose between security and speed. At NordVPN, we believe you deserve both, which is why we built NordLynx, the fastest security protocol yet. It has been a game changer for many of our users.
VPN Speed Test: The Ultimate Guide