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Slow VPN connection on Windows? Here’s how to speed it up

Aleksandar Ognjanovic
by Aleksandar Ognjanovic

Troubleshooting Expert

  • A VPN can keep your data safe but sometimes at the cost of speed.
  • If you’re seeing low connection speeds when connected to a VPN, change the server or protocol.
  • There are various reasons why a VPN can be excessively slow on your Windows PC.
  • Check out our guide and learn how you can reduce these slowdowns to a minimum.

speed up slow vpn connection

It seems that VPNs quickly evolved from optional tools to a necessity for the majority of users. However, in the sea of available solutions, it’s hard to find the one that’ll provide you with a reliable service at reasonable speeds.

The sad truth about a VPN service is that it will most certainly slow down your connection. However, there are ways to speed it up in Windows 10, and we made sure to present them below.

How to speed up a VPN connection in Windows

1. Use a different VPN

Private Internet Access

Sometimes no matter how much you try to speed up a VPN connection, you are limited by the number of servers available and your distance to them. That’s why it is important to choose a VPN that has a presence in multiple countries and with multiple servers in each one.

Private Internet Access has exactly that. You can choose any of its over 3300 servers in more than 45 countries. In addition to this, you can see directly from the main screen what latency you’ll have. PIA also shows you live statistics so you can easily compare server speeds on the fly.

private internet access speed test

You can also change your protocol, as PIA supports WireGuard, PPTP, OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec. This can have a profound effect on your connection speed. Depending on what protocol and which server you use, you can expect to see speeds upwards of 100Mbps. 

Keep in mind that the VPN connection speed is dependent on your internet connection. If your speed without a VPN connection is low, then no VPN can increase that.

Here are some of the other features you can benefit from when you start using Private Internet Access:

  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Cross-platform support for PC, Mac and mobile
  • Military-grade data encryption
  • SOCKS5 Proxy support
  • Protection for up to 10 devices at once
  • Low-latency and fast connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access is a fast VPN that keeps your data safe and your browsing habits private. Enjoy a major discount right away!

2. Troubleshoot the connection

We need you to be certain that VPN is indeed the reason why your connection is rather slow. Completely disable VPN and look for changes in speeds. If your bandwidth is still subpar speed-wise, make sure to try some of these steps and look for changes:

  1. Use a wired connection rather than Wi-Fi
  2. Restart your mode or/and router
  3. Update router’s firmware
  4. Use the VPN for each device individually

You can easily determine your current download/upload speeds (latency, too) by visiting Speedtest. Make sure to run the Speedtest with and without VPN in order to determine how much speeds you to speed up vpn connection windows 10

3. Try different servers

private internet access servers

When you want to address slow bandwidth or crippling latency in regards to VPN, you’ll need to check servers. The latency particularly depends on the server location. The further the server is from your geo-location, the slower the speed will be. The data package needs to travel more and thus your bandwidth will substantially slow down and latency will reach critical levels.

The latter will certainly affect the online gaming experience so we advise you to stick with the closest server there is. By choosing a closer server, your latency will be reduced, therefore you can speed up your VPN connection if you don’t need to connect to a specific country.

Since it’s rather simple to switch between the servers, you can try it in combination with Speedtest to find out what’s the best-suited server for your current needs.  In case you’re playing online games, stick with the closest one.

4. Check antivirus and firewall

Antivirus (with its own firewall) and even Windows Firewall can disrupt VPN. The former tends to scan data packages and provide you with a secure network. That can take a toll on VPN speeds since the repetitive scans will slow down the overall performance of the VPN service.

Some recommend disabling antivirus temporarily, but we think that’s better to create an exception and move from there. You can find out how to do it in this article.

Furthermore, Windows native Firewall can block VPN permanently so make sure to create an exception for VPN for Firewall, too. If you’re not sure how to do it, follow the instructions we provided below:

  1. In the Windows Search bar, type Allow app and open Allow an app through Windows to speed up vpn connection windows 10
  2. Click on Change settings
  3. Click on Allow another apphow to speed up vpn connection windows 10
  4. Browse for VPN in Program Files and add EXE file
  5. Click Addallow vpn through windows firewall
  6. Let the VPN communicate through both the Public and Private network.grant permission to PIA
  7. Click OK to confirm changes.

5. Reduce the encryption level

Encryption is a very important VPN segment for many users. It allows you to encrypt and decrypt all data you send and receive. However, there’s an inversely proportional thing about VPN encryptions.

Basically, the better (stronger) encryption – the slower connection. Some protocols that are deemed most secure can reduce connection speeds up to 10 times.

This isn’t a rule, but it mostly functions that way. So, what you can do, depending on how much security you need in regards to your activity and preferences, is to change the encryption protocol for one that’s less secure but less affects connection speeds.

Whilst we don’t encourage doing this, you might be able to speed up your VPN connection this way.

Speed-wise, this is the order of encryption/decryption protocols:

  • PPTP – fastest but outdated security standard
  • L2TP/IPSec – slow but with an above-average security standard.
  • OpenVPN – high security, above-average speeds. Probably the best protocol to use.
  • SSTP – slower than PPTP but faster than the rest. Mediocre protocol.

You can try every one of them individually and choose for yourself. Also, as we already stated, it depends on your preferences and activity. For avoiding geo-restrictions, you don’t need an advanced encryption protocol. On the other hand, for the majority of tasks, encryption is highly advised.

6. Upgrade the plan

We already distinguished the main differences between paid (premium) VPN solutions and the ones that come free of charge in this article. It’s understandable for a majority of VPN providers to offer premium speeds with premium plans.

So, if you’re decisive to use a VPN service and all its benefits, you’ll need to pay for it most of the time. There’s a reasonable suspicion that VPN providers even throttle your speeds in order to force you to turn to paid plans, which seems to be a successful business design.

This is the right time of year for acquiring a VPN, due to discounts. However, we recommend you give VPN suppliers with free plans a miss and go for a well-known company like Private Internet Access.

Finally, make sure to post your questions or alternative ways to speed up the VPN in the comments section below.

FAQ: Speed up your VPN connection

  • How can I make my VPN connection faster?

First of all, check your speed without the VPN connected. Then choose the closest server with the lowest latency and you should see an improvement. Additionally, change your protocol as this will have a big impact on your speed and finally you can lower the encryption level.

  • How does a VPN affect Internet speed?

Typically, when using a VPN you will see slightly lower speeds than you’d have without it. That is because the data is encrypted and routed through a server. This makes your connection several orders of magnitude safer, but it will have a small impact on your speed.

  • Will VPN speed up connection?

Not really, as a VPN will not increase your connection speed. Your ISP is responsible for that. However, if your ISP is purposefully throttling your connection to a specific website, then by using a VPN you might see an improvement in the connection speed.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in December 2017 and was revamped and updated in February 2021 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

This post was written by Aleksandar Ognjanovic and was first posted to WindowsReport

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