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VPN performance and VPN speed represent an important topic because, let’s be honest, everybody cares about how fast their Internet is. Surely, you must have heard by now that using a VPN service slows your traffic down. Well, there’s truth in this affirmation, no argue about that, but you’ll be surprised to find out that there’s no black or white approach on the matter. So let’s go a little closer to this subject and get a clearer perspective on VPN connection speed and VPN performance.
The simple but also most accurate answer to this question is: depends for what you need a VPN for. In most cases, yes it will slow you down in some degree because a VPN encrypts your traffic, meaning all the information that comes or goes from your device. But, here comes the less known and the most interesting part: there are numerous scenarios where a VPN, not only will not affect your Internet speed, but, on the contrary, it will make it faster. But to better understand all this situations, let’s start with the slowing down part.
As we’ve said above, encrypting and decrypting all traffic, as a built in feature, makes a VPN connection speed a little slower, so that would be a main thing to consider. The reason why this happens is that encrypting and decrypting process need extra processing power. So, there’s that.
Also, the further is the VPN server you access, the slower the traffic. This is why it’s important to use the closest server available. If you have, let’s say 100 mbps internet connection, a close by server will provide around 95 mbps while a server from another continent will allow only 5 – 10 mbps. But that doesn’t mean that the closest server is always the best option. Because there’s also the server bandwidth to consider. The more crowded a VPN server is the slower it will be. So you might want do some tests before you decide what’s the best option for you. Also, in the best scenario, the VPN server you access should have a powerful processor and a good compatibility with your ISP.
A VPN protocol will determine the degree of security and the level of encryption but, consequently will also affect the Internet speed. There are protocols that allow a faster traffic but are less safe, and there are protocols that make things go slower but are more secure. For example PPTP (128-bit encryption) is fast but also has a weak encryption. It’s recommendable for situations where low-security is admissible but also a fast speed is needed. For instance, unblocking geo-restricted content. On the other hand L2TP/IPSEC (256-bit) is the power tool when it comes to security. But, you guessed it, it’s slower. We, SmartyDNS, use SoftEther a new generation protocol that manages to make the best out of both benefits. It has a strong level of encryption but also provides a good speed.
First, let’s make one thing clear. A VPN is not a speed booster. Online privacy, anonymity, data protection, bypass geo blocking restriction, sure. But you don’t use a VPN service because you want a faster Internet. For that you should talk to your ISP. But that’s the thing. Your Internet Provider will charge you extra for a faster Internet but, there’s one thing that it’s not up for discussion. And that is throttling. This is a common practice that most of ISP’s are familiar with, which refers to deliberately slowing down Internet on specific websites or services. The most targeted ones are video streaming sites like NetFlix, Hulu and Youtube, online gaming sites and file-sharing services. The main reason they do that could be that they want to regulate network traffic and minimize bandwidth congestion. And there’s nothing you can do about it, except one thing. That’s right. To use a VPN to manage this situation. And it does that very easy. Because of the encryption, your ISP can’t see when your IP connects to the sites from their throttling list. So, you get a fair share of their bandwidth.
As a conclusion, talking about VPN performance means not only considering your internet speed but also other benefits like online privacy and secure data transfer. On the other hand, a good VPN service provider will optimize their features so you’ll also get a traffic fast enough that you won’t notice the difference between the encrypted connection and the original, unsecure one. After all, fast and safe should be what everyone wants.