Can VPN increase your Internet speed?

Vlad Constantinescu
by Vlad Constantinescu
VPN Expert & Privacy Advocate
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  • There's a lot of things that a VPN can do, but there's certainly some mystery around whether or not can a VPN increase your Internet speed.
  • There are a few situations when a VPN can actually improve your Internet speed, and one of them has something to do with your ISP. 
  • Check out our best VPNs that won't take a toll on your connection speed.
  • Visit the VPN Hub to discover more tools and guides on keeping your connection private and secure.
Can VPN increase your Internet speed?

There’s a lot of things that a VPN can do, but there’s certainly some mystery around whether or not can a VPN increase your Internet speed.

If you’ve read our previous guides, you probably stumbled upon the one that explains how VPN can slow down your Internet speed. Thus, you might find this a bit confusing.

We promise you that this isn’t a contradiction to our previous article and you’ll soon understand why. But let’s start at the beginning.

Does VPN make your connection faster?

This is one of the most popular rumors that you’ll hear online, among other VPN enthusiasts. People will urge you to invest in a trustworthy VPN because it can help you get a faster connection.

And they wouldn’t be wrong, either. However, it won’t magically turn a subpar 1 Mbps connection into a Gigabit Ethernet one. In order for a VPN to help you increase speed and quality, your connection must meet some requirements.

1. Is your ISP limiting your connection?

Artificially slowing down your connection is unfortunately a very common practice with many ISPs. In order to reduce costs, some ISPs rely on this dirty technique that selectively reduces your bandwidth depending on your activity.

So, for instance, if you’re playing games on your PC, streaming multimedia content, or torrenting large files, you might notice some speed reductions. That’s called throttling, and your ISP is the only one to blame for this.

Some providers would even go as far as limiting your whole bandwidth, regardless of what you do. So no matter that you’ve paid the full amount for a gigabit connection, you’re only getting a few MBps.

ISP limiting your bandwidth

What’s more annoying is that most ISPs will try to blame it on other factors, such as peak hours, technical issues, infrastructure (which they’re also responsible for maintaining), and such.

Well, if all of this sounds a bit too familiar to you, we’ve got great news. A VPN can help your connection slip from your ISP’s greedy grapple. In other words, a VPN can make your connection faster in this situation.

2. Bad traffic routing

Alright, this is still your ISP’s fault, since you can’t really access the Internet without your ISP. Or can you? Anyhow, we’ve already established that infrastructure is one of your ISP’s responsibilities.

By infrastructure, we mean the large chunk of network that’s between you and the destination host you’re trying to access.

Essentially, for a fast connection, the route between you and the website/server you’re trying to access should be a straight one.

In reality, things are totally different. Your connection bounces multiple times until it reaches its destination, which is great for maintenance and troubleshooting, but not so great for speed.

Is your ISP routing traffic poorly?

Proper connection management should at least provide customers with the least number of bounces and distance there can be before their traffic reaches destination.

However, some ISPs make their customers’ traffic take unnecessarily long routes to the destination. As a result, the connection’s speed drops, latency increases, you could even notice some packet loss, some jitter. The usual.

If you suspect that’s the case, a VPN might help you circumvent this poorly-routed network by encrypting your traffic. It’s not guaranteed to work every time, but when and if it does, you will definitely notice some speed improvement.

How to increase Internet speed using VPN?

1. Connect to a nearby server

Technically, the farthest your destination website is, the more it will take you to reach it. Same goes for VPNs. If you connect to a server that’s on another continent, you may discover that your connection is even slower than it was before.

Try connecting to a VPN server that’s as close to you as possible. You’ll get far better results with speeding up your Internet connection if your ISP is throttling it.

2. Change your DNS

Certain VPNs such as Private Internet Access, have private DNS. Therefore, you don’t need to do anything aside from launching the client and connecting to your favorite server.

Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access

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You should check if PIA DNS is set as your default name resolver, though.

However, if your VPN doesn’t offer this feature, you may want to try some free DNS alternatives, such as Google, Cloudflare, or OpenDNS. You might notice significant improvement compared to your regular connection speed.

3. Try using wired connections

We’ve already agreed that VPN affects WiFi, especially when it comes to speed. WiFi is generally slower than Ethernet, so it makes sense that using a VPN can slow it even further.

Therefore, if you want to notice any real improvement to your connection’s speed, you should try switching to a wired connection beforehand.

Sometimes, a VPN can increase your Internet speed

To wrap it up, it turns out that a VPN can have a positive impact on your connection’s speed. In other words, a VPN can make your connection faster, but it won’t work every time.

For instance, a VPN won’t magically upgrade your connection from a 100 MBps to a whooping 1 GBps. However, it could help you circumvent any ISP restrictions or limitations such as bandwidth throttling, bad peering , or improper routing.

FAQ: Learn more about increasing your connection speed with VPN

  • Will VPN slow down my Internet speed?

If your connection is not artificially limited by your ISP, then using a VPN might slow it down a bit. But if you’re using a reputable VPN, the slowdown shouldn’t be too noticeable.

  • Will VPN cause buffering?

If you’re connected to a far-away server, then you might notice some buffering. But many times, VPN can actually reduce buffering.

  • Can VPN help me get free Internet?

No, a VPN can’t casually help you get free Internet. However, there are some situations when it might facilitate it.