It is the dream of every Internet user— faster speed. Whether you are simply browsing the web or downloading some files, slow speed is annoying to everyone. That’s the reason why every Internet user looks for ways to speed up the connection. Some methods work, while some don’t work at all. The speed you enjoy depends entirely upon your Internet service provider. Unless you buy a more expensive plan, it isn’t likely that anything else will speed up your connection. A lot has been said about virtual private networks as a solution. Some say a VPN can drag your download speed down while others claim it can in fact improve it. So, what’s the actual truth?
Can VPN Improve My Download Speed?
A lot of users have begun to believe that using a Virtual Private Network increases Internet speed. Under normal circumstances, this does not happen because the speed is entirely in the hands of the service provider. However, if your service provider is throttling your bandwidth, a VPN can help improve speed.
Bandwidth throttling is usually done to get the user to buy a more expensive subscription plan. If that is the case, then using a VPN will definitely enhance your online speed, whether for regular browsing or for downloading.
Simply put, a VPN can improve your Internet speed only in the case of bandwidth throttling.
What is Bandwidth Throttling?
Very often, internet service providers limit bandwidth on purpose, to make users buy the more expensive plans. Many users don’t realize this and end up buying expensive plans in the hopes of better speed. Of course, not every service provider does this, but it happens frequently enough to get users worried.
It is hard to pinpoint instances of bandwidth throttling. There are times when bandwidth fluctuates on its own due to network strength, climatic conditions, etc. But there also are occasions when the speed is restricted on purpose by the service provider.
Although it isn’t easy to tell bandwidth throttling, there are ways you can identify it. For instance, if you notice any sharp drop in speed, it is most likely bandwidth throttling. If the drops in speed happen with the same kind of content or when you perform the same type of online activity, then your service provider is most likely holding back your speed.
For example, if everything else works at the normal speed, but slows down significantly when you try to stream something online, it’s probably an instance of bandwidth throttling. Some Netflix users complain that their service providers throttle their bandwidth and show sub-HD quality videos.
How Does a VPN Help?
Internet service providers use selective throttling to limit bandwidth. This usually happens when you try to stream or download something in high quality. For throttling your bandwidth, your service provider needs to be able to see your online activity. When you use a VPN, your activity remains private, and there is no bandwidth throttling.
A VPN passes information between your computer and the server through a secure tunnel. No one outside this tunnel is able to read the encrypted data. This prevents hackers, Internet service providers, and other online criminals from reading your sensitive information. As a result, your Internet service provider isn’t able to see what you’re doing online, because your traffic appears in the form of unreadable gibberish. This means no bandwidth throttling is possible.
Instances Where VPN Doesn’t Help Improve Download Speed
It must be mentioned here that if your speed is slow even without bandwidth throttling, a VPN will do nothing to improve things. Rather, if you use a VPN on an already slow connection, you will notice a significant drop in speed when connected to a VPN.
There are three main factors that can slow down a VPN:
- Overloaded servers: This usually happens with free VPNs who have a lot of users but not enough servers or bandwidth.
- Distance of servers: If you are in India and trying to connect to a server in the US, it can affect your speed because of the distance. This also happens when there are not enough servers.
- Encryption overhead: The better the encryption, the slower the speed of the connection. This happens because encrypted files take up more space than unencrypted files.
Best VPN to Improve Download Speed
If you’re looking for a VPN service provider to use in order to avoid ISP throttling, avoid free VPNs straight away. Free VPN servers are almost always overloaded. This results in slower speeds. A premium VPN offers its users access to hundreds of servers in of tier-1 data networks. The more VPN servers you can connect to, the less is the chance that they might be overloaded. A 30-day money-back guarantee is also essential. This will allow you to get your money back just in case you don’t notice any drastic improvement when using VPN. Here are the best VPNs you can use to increase your download speeds:
Can VPN Improve My Download Speed? – Summary
The basic point to note is that a VPN improves speed when there is deliberate bandwidth throttling by Internet service providers. If your Internet speed is normally slow without any bandwidth throttling, a VPN cannot do anything. This is an issue you have to take up with your Internet service provider.
Do not look for speed alone. A VPN is a complete privacy and security solution, even if you have nothing to hide.