Can VPN be overloaded? How to fix an overloaded VPN?

Vlad Constantinescu
by Vlad Constantinescu
VPN Expert & Privacy Advocate
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  • Sometimes, during unfortunate events such as natural disasters or pandemics, VPN servers can get easily overloaded by the increasing number of users.
  • An overloaded VPN server can cause various connection issues such as packet loss, jitter, and increased in-game latency.
  • Check out our best VPNs that won't slow down your connection.
  • Visit the VPN Hub to learn more about protecting your online privacy efficiently.
Can a VPN get overloaded?
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We’re living in a world were seemingly private activities such as accessing a website from the comfort of your own home can be made public. There are several third-parties that can get between you and your online whereabouts.

For instance, your ISP is just a few clicks away from getting a full report of your online activities. Sure, it can’t read emails or see your account passwords, but it knows what websites you visited and files you downloaded.

And that’s already too much.

However, things don’t need to be that way. Nowadays, there’s a huge selection of privacy tools that can help you protect your privacy. And the best, most powerful ones are, without a doubt, VPNs.

VPNs can easily help you put some walls between you and whoever feels like spying on you. It redirects your traffic through a secure tunnel, but not without encrypting it first.

Thus, even if someone were able to take a peek inside that tunnel, your traffic would look like gibberish.

However, what happens if the VPN server can’t take it anymore? Let’s find out.

How does a VPN work?

From a workload standpoint, a VPN is similar to any regular server. It can house a certain number of connections and, as the number of users reaches the limit, it becomes more and more difficult for it to allocate resources.

First and foremost, keep in mind that you’re almost never alone on a VPN server. That’s why providers mention shared IP addresses. After connecting to a VPN server, your default IP address is replaced by the server‘s address.

But many other users who use the same server will have the same address.

So, it’s really not rocket science to figure out that VPN servers can’t keep accepting connection requests forever and have to stop at some points. That’s why the best VPN services have huge networks in the first place.

Can VPN get overloaded?

Yes, there’s no way to sugar coat it, VPNs can and do get overloaded regularly. Much so during unfortunate events such as natural disasters and pandemics, when a lot of people need to work from home and generally spend more time indoors.

Considering that a VPN should fix issues such as packet loss and network congestion, an overloaded server could be quite inconvenient.

Additionally, we’ve already explained how VPN affects Internet speed. Thus, it should be no surprise that an overloaded VPN server can affect your Internet speed even more.

What to do if your VPN is overloaded?

  • Choose a VPN with a large network of servers
  • Use split tunneling to manage VPN traffic efficiently
  • Switch the server if you’re on a crowded one
  • Change the location (if convenient and possible)
  • Use a different protocol (it might be faster)
  • Try using a wired connection instead of WiFi

Although these are not exactly ways to solve an overloaded VPN issue, they can help you alleviate problems that an overloaded server can cause you.

VPNs with large server networks

We’ve put together a list of our recommendations for the best VPNs that have large server networks. Take a look:

Product NameNumber of serversCompany Name
CyberGhost VPN7,100Kape Technologies
NordVPN5,200Tefincom & Co., S.A.
Private Internet Access3,300Kape Technologies
ExpressVPN3000+Express VPN International Ltd.
Surfshark VPN1700+Surfshark LTD

Keep in mind that the number of servers shouldn’t be the only thing you judge a VPN after. However, for the purpose of avoiding an overload situation, this is quite a strong criteria.

Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access

DESCRIPTION
$2.85/mo. Buy it now

Yes, VPN can get overloaded

To wrap it up, it’s true that VPN can get overloaded, much so during natural disasters and pandemics. This, in turn, could lead to other issues such as slow Internet speed, packet loss, and jitter.

However, bypassing a VPN overload is quite simple, compared to other potential issues. Merely switching the server you’re currently on or changing the location should take care of things for good.

FAQ: Learn more about overloaded VPNs

  • Does VPN affect Internet speed?

Yes, a VPN can affect Internet speed, especially if the server you’re connected to is overloaded.

  • Can a VPN reduce packet loss?

Yes, you can use a VPN to safely reduce packet loss, but only if the issue is on your ISP’s side.

  • Does VPN affect WiFi?

Yes, using a VPN can affect WiFi. Thus, it’s recommended to use wired connections (if possible) instead of WiFi.