Here’s How Using a VPN Affects Your Internet Speed

Using a VPN has become the next biggest thing in recent years but, there is also a rise of questions regarding VPNs and whether they impact network speeds

Person Using VPN on Laptop

Virtual Private Networks or VPNs have recently gained a lot of popularity and, why should they not. Most users of VPNs make use of the same to access region-locked content or certain kinds of content that might be banned or inaccessible in a certain region. Given the popularity of this tool, one must have some questions about the same, right?

Well, you were right if you said yes since there are certain doubts regarding VPNs, the key of which is whether or not it throttles internet speeds and affects the overall net speeds in different scenarios. This question will be addressed here, so if you were perplexed, worry not.

Before we begin, though, the first thing that needs to be discussed is what exactly a VPN is, followed by whether or not it truly affects internet speeds.

What is a VPN?

For those of you wondering, a VPN or a virtual private network is basically an internet security service that provides users access to the internet as though they were connected to a private network, with the key difference being encrypted internet communications and anonymity during activities.

Most people make use of VPNs to add an extra layer of privacy and security whilst browsing the web, which, in this day and age, might be the best thing to do. Now that you know what a VPN is, the next topic to be discussed is latency.

What Does Latency Refer To?


Latency refers to the amount of time that it takes between a user induced action and a resulting response; basically, it is the delay that can be seen when a user clicks a certain link to the point where the link completely opens up.

Now, this is all you need to know about latency, but you might be wondering as to why the topic of latency was brought up in the first place. Well, latency is increased by a fair bit when a VPN is in use, resulting in throttled internet speeds.

How Do VPNs Increase Overall Latency?

There are three major ways via which VPNs increase the overall latency that occurs during an internet search or whilst playing certain content.

1. The first of these ways is increased travel time for requests and responses by the user. Consider a user lives in India and uses a US-based VPN service, so, when the user searches for something, the data travels to the US, the data will then be decrypted and forwarded to a web server which will then send a response back to the VPN provider. This will result in an overall delay.

2. Higher server loads also play a key part, especially for more popular VPN services, since in usual circumstances, a VPN is under pressure and, consider a user connects to the VPN when say 2000 other users are using the service, the overall delay will keep on increasing, not just for the concerned user but for all users that make use of the particular service.

3. Finally, as mentioned earlier, a VPN requires encryption since it provides an additional layer of data and, encrypting this data requires additional time, with the most secure VPNs taking the highest amount of time as they leave no stone unturned.

Are VPNs Always Slower?

No, it will shock you to know that during certain instances, VPNs not only match regular speeds they also increase speeds. The most common of these services is an OTT platform that might be throttled by the ISP of your choice, say Netflix or HBO or Amazon Prime. Using a VPN can counter this throttling and lead to faster speeds as it would confuse the ISP about where you are located, and these throttles are usually based on a regional basis.

Shloke is your go-to guy when it comes to consumer tech. Specializing in In-Depth pieces, he's also getting to grips with Telecom. His hobbies consist of Formula One and Gaming.

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