Can VPN cause buffering? What’s the best no-buffer VPN?

Vlad Constantinescu
by Vlad Constantinescu
VPN Expert & Privacy Advocate
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  • You can use a VPN not only to secure your online privacy and keep your connection safe, but also for streaming content that's unavailable in your region.
  • Many customers believe that their VPN causes buffering issues on their favorite streaming platform. However, things are actually quite different.
  • Check out our best VPNs that can reduce buffering.
  • Visit our Streaming VPN Hub to discover more about VPNs that are great for streaming.
Can a VPN cause buffering?

We’re all thankful for VPNs being parts of our daily routines, as they save us from a lot of hassle. Aside from their innate privacy protection capabilities, trustworthy VPNs can also restore your connection to its former glory.

If you suspect that your ISP is throttling your bandwidth, just try using a VPN. Your new tunneled connection will dodge your ISP’s mean throttle and you’ll enjoy the speed that you’re supposed to.

But that’s not all. Ever heard about packet loss? Well, this annoying little issue can ruin a fun night with your gaming friends, or a meaningful VoIP call in no time.

However, using a VPN can improve packet loss, making it seem like a bad dream. The same goes for improving your in-game ping if you have trouble.

Last, but not least, a VPN can circumvent geoblocking. Yes, you heard it right.

With the right tool, you can access US Netflix (for instance) from anywhere in the world. And that’s one of the main reasons why anyone would want a VPN, to begin with.

VPN can affect your Internet speed

Lately, a bunch of rumors started suggesting that VPNs can affect Internet speed. And they can, but the reports are a bit exaggerated for the sake of it.

Truth be told, if your connection is on the fritz, using a VPN won’t make it downright unusable. But it can make it better.

The same goes for WiFi. A VPN won’t wreak havoc on your WiFi, but we all know that WiFi is a bit slower than its wired counterpart.

So people started to wonder whether using a VPN can affect their streaming capabilities or not.

Can VPN cause buffering?

There’s no straight yes or no answer to that. As a matter of fact, the answer is better described as shades of grey. Buffering can be caused by a lot of factors, including:

  • The quality of your connection
  • Packet loss
  • High ping
  • Signal power if you’re using WiFi
  • The number of devices on the same network
  • Network congestion
  • Peak hours (server-side network congestion)
  • The location and latency of the VPN server you chose
  • ISP bandwidth throttling

So, even if you’re using a VPN and experience buffering, it might not necessarily be caused by the VPN.

In fact, using a VPN has proven to solve a lot of these issues, such as ISP throttling and network congestion (if it’s on your ISP’s side), high ping, and high packet loss.

If you notice that the buffering issue disappears when you’re not using the VPN, try picking another server. VPN servers, much like any others, can get crowded as well.

Switching to a server that’s physically closer to you (if possible) and with a lower ping should fix the issue.

Also, note that some VPNs display load values for their servers. You should always try to pick servers with a lower load since they’re the least congested (and fastest).

What’s the best VPN that doesn’t cause buffering?

We decided that Private Internet Access is among the best all-around VPNs that you can find on the market. Regardless of your needs, PIA has got you covered.

Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access

Looking for a VPN to reduce buffering? PIA can help you.

$2.85/mo. Buy it now

Privacy issues? Not a problem. Do you want lower in-game ping? PIA could seek to that. Can’t access US Netflix from Europe? I’m sure you already know our answer.

PIA is brought to you by Kape Technologies and offers you 24/7 customer support. It also provides you with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test it without a worry.

VPN can actually reduce buffering

In conclusion, if you’re stressed about your VPN causing buffering, put your worries at ease. The buffering probably occurs for another reason. As a matter of fact, using a VPN can fix most of these buffering issues.

Although VPN can occasionally cause buffering, switching the server you’re connected to should set things straight again. Make sure you pick a server that’s closer to your real location, has low latency, and a low occupancy percentage (if visible).

FAQ: Learn more about VPN causing buffering

  • How do I stop my stream from buffering?

Using a VPN should help you reduce buffering, if your connection suffers from high ping, network congestion or packet loss, or your ISP is throttling your bandwidth.

  • Does a VPN make streaming better?

Most of the time it does. You can use a VPN to improve streaming, especially if you suspect your ISP throttles your bandwidth.

  • Can a VPN affect Internet speed?

Yes, due to their encryption features, VPNs can affect your Internet speed. However, most of the time it’s not nearly as bad as you think.