Understanding VPN Speed

The Key to Understanding VPN Speed: Why Is It Slow?

Have you ever experienced a slowdown while using a VPN and wondered why it happens? 

We’re here to teach you the ins and outs of VPN speed and why it can sometimes feel like your internet is moving in slow motion. 

You’ll have a clearer understanding of what influences VPN speed and gain insight into maintaining a secure but speedy online experience.

What influences VPN speed? 

For starters, the most common reason people purchase a VPN is to improve security. A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, creates a secure, encrypted tunnel between your device and a remote server and is typically operated by the VPN provider. 

When connected to a VPN, your internet traffic travels through this protected tunnel, making it difficult for anyone, including hackers or government agencies, to stalk or steal your sensitive information. 

Rerouting and encrypting your data results in enhanced privacy and security. A VPN can even mask your true IP address and location. 

VPNs are commonly used to:

  • Access the internet securely.
  • Bypass geo-restrictions.
  • Protect sensitive data while using public Wi-Fi networks.

So, let’s dive into some factors that affect your network speed.

  1. Server Location

The geographic location of the VPN server you connect to can play a major role in network speed. 

Connecting to a server far from your physical location will take longer as your data has to travel a longer distance to reach its destination. The good news is that 27% of VPN providers have servers located on all continents. 

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Connecting to a distant server can result in higher latency, which creates a delay in data transmission, so choose a server that is geographically closer to you. 

Many reliable VPN providers serve various locations, allowing you to select the one that suits your needs best.

  1. Server Load

Think of a busy, understaffed restaurant; The more people there are, the slower the service. VPNs work the same way–the more people connected to the server, the slower the service.

Fortunately, servers with lower user loads offer faster and more stable connections. Some VPN providers have a feature that displays real-time server load, which helps you choose less crowded servers for faster speeds.

  1. Encryption

Encryption is one of the many beneficial features of VPN technology. It ensures the security and privacy of your data. 

The downside to this is that a high level of encryption can negatively impact speed. This top-notch security requires more computational power to encrypt and decrypt data.

Opt for a modern VPN optimized to strike a balance between security and speed. This way, the impact on speed should be minimal.

  1. Internet Speed

A VPN might not always be to blame. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) plays a crucial role in determining the speed of your connection, as well.

VPNs are not responsible for making your internet run faster; your ISP is. 

So, if your original internet connection is slow, a VPN will likely not be able to significantly improve it. However, if you have a fast internet connection, you are more likely to experience faster VPN speeds. 

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Simply put, VPNs will protect and route the speed provided by your ISP through its servers.

Making Your VPN Faster

Online privacy and security are top priorities, but speed doesn’t have to be compromised, either. Ensure your VPN connection remains as fast as possible by:

  1. Choosing a Nearby Server: A server that is geographically close to your location is the best way to improve VPN speed. Closer proximity equals faster data transmission and a smoother online experience.
  2. Selecting Less Crowded Servers: Opt for VPN servers with smaller user loads. Fewer users typically means faster speeds due to less congestion and competition for bandwidth.
  3. Upgrading Your Internet Plan: Don’t forget the role your Internet Service Provider (ISP) plays, and consider upgrading to a faster plan. A faster base connection results in a stronger foundation for your VPN to work with.
  4. Using Wired Connections: Don’t throw that Ethernet cable away just yet! Wired connections are generally more stable and faster than Wi-Fi and can be used to pick up the slack of those wireless slow-downs. 
  5. Limiting Background Applications: Applications running in the background are likely consuming bandwidth while you’re using the VPN. Free up resources for your private network connection and ensure better speeds for your online activities by closing or pausing those downloads.

You don’t need to sacrifice speed to have a secure and private online experience. Use these five tips to maximize the speed of your VPN.

How About Tor? Is It Faster than a VPN?

In a direct speed comparison, VPNs tend to be faster than Tor. Both these technologies have some fundamental differences that play a significant role in how they operate. 

VPNs create a secure, direct connection between your device and a server, allowing for relatively fast data transfer. 

Tor, on the other hand, routes your data through multiple volunteer-operated relays. Doing so introduces latency and reduced speeds, especially for bandwidth-intensive activities like streaming and gaming.

Although VPN wins the race, both Tor and VPNs share some commonalities when it comes to enhancing online privacy and security. Both mask your IP address and encrypt your internet traffic. 

Two extremely important features that make it difficult for third parties to monitor your online activity. 

VPN vs. TOR: What’s the Main Difference?

VPNs and TOR both boast privacy and the ability to stay anonymous online, but they are not the same and work in distinct ways:

  • VPN: A VPN encrypts your internet connection and routes it through a secure server, making it suitable for general online activities like streaming, gaming, and browsing. VPNs are faster due to the fewer hops your data makes.
  • TOR: TOR, short for The Onion Router, is a browser just like Google Chrome and Mozilla, with one key difference: it bounces your data through a series of volunteer-operated servers, making it that much more secure and private. But keep in mind that this multi-step process can result in slower internet speeds, making it better suited for specific privacy-centric tasks.

If you’re wondering, “is TOR browser safe?” The answer is yes! 

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In fact, the US government is one of Tor’s core funders and creators. They use it to protect their operatives and informants as they exchange data, so don’t second guess using it yourself! 


VPN is the new norm for online privacy and security. As you know now, it differs from a Tor network, and certain factors affect its speed.

Choosing a VPN that suits your needs and establishes a fast and secure online experience is crucial, but so is fast browsing. Remember, the right VPN service provides both. You don’t have to sacrifice one to have the other. 

So, choose wisely, and enjoy your browsing online.