Posted by Lee Stanton on May 13, 2022 How to Increase VPN Speed on Any Device

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If you use a VPN service to mask your IP address, protect your identity and personal information, or protect your connection from unauthorized people and malicious hackers, you will find that your speed becomes a bit slower than when you don’t use a VPN at all.

How to increase VPN speed on any device

That means it takes longer to download files, access websites, and stream videos. Read on as we list the best practices to boost VPN speeds on any device without compromising your security and identity.

Why Connection Speeds Slow Down with a VPN

A VPN protects your data with encryption. This process is done to secure the data inside the user and VPN server tunnel so that nobody can exploit your information – not even your internet service provider (ISP) or the government.

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All your internet activity is routed through an encrypted tunnel to an external server. However, these internet packets take time to get from your end to the receiver each time your connection requests are encrypted before being sent to the server. After delivery to the authorized recipient, the data is then converted back into a readable format.

Many VPN service providers like ExpressVPN have already improved their speed features to address this issue. However, if your VPN connection is still slowing down, here are the steps you should take.

What affects your VPN connection speed

A VPN connection speed consists of two components viz throughput or the amount of data transferred in a given period of time, and Latency, or the time it takes to request and receive a response from a server.

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Throughput and latency can therefore be affected by:

  • Your distance to the VPN server of your choice
  • The type of VPN protocol used
  • The number of active users on a specific VPN server
  • The quality of your wired and wireless connection

There are a number of ways to fix your slow connection speed when using a VPN.

10 Best Practices on How to Make Your VPN Speeds Much Faster

These ten methods are proven to improve your VPN speeds. You may also need to apply several best practices to get the ideal speed you need.

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1. Change your VPN protocol.

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With a VPN protocol, the software follows a series of codes when VPN encryption converts your data into an unreadable format so that it cannot be decrypted. A VPN protocol that uses higher bit encryption is ideal to get the best security, but there will also be a tradeoff in your speed.

Most VPN providers today connect users to the protocol that best suits the existing network. However, if you decide to control your VPN protocol, you can set it based on the options available from your VPN service provider.

A reliable connection is ExpressVPN’s Lightway, which has fewer lines of code at around 2,000 lines. It’s relatively faster and consumes less power on your device. If your connection suddenly drops, you’ll be reconnected automatically, while other VPN protocols can take at least 15 seconds to perform the same process. Our independent tests have also shown that it is much faster than WireGuard and other protocols with a difference of about 2 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload.

If you are using a mobile device and want to charge faster without draining your battery, you can opt for ChaCha20, a cipher much faster than AES-128 GSM.

2. Restart your device, modem and/or router.

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If you’ve been too busy in front of your computer, your devices may only need an occasional restart to refresh and free up memory. This will also fix some internal system issues that are causing your VPN connection to slow down.

Your router will also need a reboot or power cycle to clear its cache. This also helps your router select a less crowded channel.

Finally, if you want to bring your device back to its peak performance, you may need to factory reset it. Keep in mind that this will erase everything on the system.

3. Switch to a wired connection.

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Run a speed test on your wireless connection and see if it’s running slow. Then switch to a wired or Ethernet connection to have dedicated bandwidth instead. A wired connection offers faster speeds because it isn’t subject to greater interference and you don’t share wireless network bandwidth with other users, which increases traffic.

4. Update your device’s software.

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Your device’s old software needs constant updating to fix performance issues and also help fix bugs and errors that can slow down your connection speed. This also allows your device to have the latest security updates to patch vulnerabilities.

5. Connect to a server near you.

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Moving your server to a location closer to you can increase your loading speed. If your chosen VPN server is significantly far from your physical location, it will take longer for data packets to be transmitted because there are more networks to traverse. In addition, some packets may be lost along the way and latency may be impacted by bandwidth limitations in foreign borders.

We only recommend that you choose a VPN server that is far from your location if you are using geo-spoofing to access content that is not available for streaming or downloading in your location.

6. Choose a server that is not overloaded.

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When you connect to a VPN server, you also share it with thousands of other users. Check the current server load before connecting so you can switch to a less crowded option. If this is not possible, try connecting to different servers to test which one gives you the fastest speed.

7. Disable your antivirus or firewall for a moment.

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Your antivirus software and firewall scan and filter packets of data before they are passed onto your network. This process can significantly affect data transfer and your internet speed.

If you download from a trusted website, you can temporarily disable your antivirus and firewall to improve your connection speed. However, make sure to turn them back on when you’re done to prevent viruses and worms from entering your system.

8. Reduce the number of active apps running in the background.

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It can be difficult to keep your desired speed with your needs when running multiple apps that are consuming too much bandwidth.

Check if there are any apps that can be closed so that your connection speed can be improved, leaving only the programs you need to complete your task.

9. Enable split tunneling.

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If you can’t avoid using multiple apps at the same time, check if your VPN provider offers a split tunneling feature so you can allocate a portion of your bandwidth to specific apps.

This allows you to choose websites that can go through the VPN tunnel while leaving the rest to your regular connection.

10. Switch to a different VPN provider like ExpressVPN.

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Not all VPN service providers offer the same speed. For example, during our independent testing, we concluded that ExpressVPN offers some of the fastest speeds among the leading VPNs today.

When we connected to its servers in the United States, there was very little speed loss compared to a non-VPN connection, reaching 110Mbps. Also, connecting to an international server like in Europe resulted in only a minimal speed reduction .

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