Do VPNs slow down WiFi?

Speed ​​up VPN: Here's how

Birgit Götz, Martyn Casserly

Using a VPN can slow down your internet connection. Here are a few tips on how to avoid that.

EnlargePure VPN is one of the few providers to display the ping

Virtual private networks (VPNs) are ideal for protecting your privacy and hiding your location from others on the web. Here's a comparison of the best VPN services 2020. The price you pay for protection with a VPN could be a slower internet connection. But there are ways to prevent that.

Before you do anything, first disconnect the connection to your VPN and then test the speed of your internet connection ( Once connected to the VPN, run the test again to see if the problem is really with the VPN or with your broadband provider.

It makes sense that you know roughly what speed you can expect from your unencrypted connection, because then you can see more quickly whether your VPN server will be the problem in the future.

To help you decide which VPN to use, check out our 2020 Best VPN Services Comparison. Our favorites include NordVPN, Cyberghost VPN, and PureVPN.

1. Choose the fastest server

A VPN routes your data through one or more servers in order to hide your location from outside observers. Some of these servers are more powerful than others. If you're having problems, it's worth manually choosing an alternative.

There is usually a list of servers in the VPN application. When playing an online game, keep latency to a minimum. The best way to do this is to use a server that is geographically close to you. If shown, look for the lowest ping and select that server. Pure VPN is a provider that displays ping - most don't.

Buy PureVPN from € 3.50 / month in an annual package

Reading tip: Online games: How to lower the ping

For example, if you are in Germany and the selected server is in Australia then all of the game data will be transferred there and back again before showing it on your screen. This can lead to delays and thus affect the response times.

If you use a VPN for watching Netflix content or for general surfing on the Internet, the distance should not be a problem - the ping time is especially important for time-sensitive applications. However, if video is jerky or buffering issues occur, the connection speed is too slow to stream the video at the quality you selected. Try to fix the problem by choosing another server in the country you want - the server you are currently connected to may just be overloaded.

Remember, if you're using the VPN to bypass region-banned content, you'll need to select the country where the service you're viewing is located. For example, to be able to use the American version of Netflix, you need a server in the USA.

Unlimited Netflix streaming with Express VPN

2. Connect the router and PC via cable

A simple solution that is always worth a try: Connect your laptop or PC directly to the router. This will help you avoid any performance problems in the WLAN. Of course, if you're using a smartphone or tablet, that's not an option.

3. Choose a different protocol

When using a VPN, the data is encrypted by software. This brings security and data protection, but has an impact on performance.

If you do not use a VPN as a security measure, but only to see regionally blocked content, then reduce the encryption levels. This can eliminate performance bottlenecks in the system. Frequently used protocols are OpenVPN or IKEv2 / IPsec. You could try options like L2TP / IPsec instead (avoid L2TP if possible if security is important).

The protocols offered differ depending on the VPN provider and which operating system you are using. Look in the settings. And if you change something, you can always reset it to the original or standard setting if the change does not bring any improvement.

4. Change the port

In addition to adjusting the protocol and security settings, you should also pay attention to the port selection. When a VPN connects to the web, it does so through a predetermined port. In general, that's fine. However, some networks can throttle or restrict the use of this port, which in turn can lead to problems.

Check your VPN's settings to see if there's a way to change the port you're using. If so, try to choose port 443. This is the common solution to VPN speed issues related to port selection.

Get Cyberghost VPN from 2.45 euros / month

5. Switch off the firewall and anti-virus software
Just as encryption can overload your PC's data processing work, antivirus and firewall settings can be a burden. If you experience degradation in performance, temporarily turn off your firewall and antivirus and see if this improves the situation.

Once that solves the problem, you should look for alternative software that does not affect PC performance. But don't let your PC run without security software.

6. Switch the device off and on again

Have you tried turning your device off and on again? In fact, it is often the simplest solution to many problems!

This applies to both - PC and router, but also to your smartphone or tablet.

7. Change the VPN provider

Some VPN are faster than others. If what you're using isn't fast enough for you, move to another provider. Keep in mind, however, that VPN speeds change based on the time of day, day of the week, and other factors such as server choice. This is why it is difficult to test whether one VPN is faster than another.

It may be that you can watch a jerky video an hour or two later without any problems - which of course doesn't help if you had the time and inclination to watch the film right now.

Since quite a few VPN providers offer refunds or free trials, you can at least download their app, sign up, and try out the service.

This post was first published by our English colleagues on

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