Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are a great way to protect online privacy or disguise your location from snooping eyes. You can opt for one of best free VPNs if you want to see how they work, or there are a number of paid VPNs that come with additional features (our top pick is NordVPN). Either way, you might experience performance issues from time to time, so we’ve put together five quick ways to speed up VPN when it starts to drag. If you’re not sure what a VPN has to offer, then we recommend reading our guide to speed up VPN.
1. Check that you’re using the best server
A VPN will route your data through various servers in order to hide your location to any outside observers. In your control panel, there will usually be list that tells you which one you’re currently using. If you’re playing an online game then you’ll want to keep latency to a minimum, and this is best achieved by using one that is geographically near to you.
If you’re in the UK and the selected server is in Australia, then any game data will travel to there and back again before being displayed on your screen. This can cause lag, and therefore have a detrimental effect on your response times.
Those using a VPN for watching Netflix, or general browsing, shouldn’t find distance to be an issue. In this case, try a different server in your region, as the one you’re attached to could be suffering from too much traffic or other technical issues.
2. Try a wired connection
A simple solution that’s always worth trying is to plug your laptop or PC directly into the router. This can bypass any interference or performance issues that your WiFi might be experiencing.
3. Reduce the encryption levels on your VPN
When using a VPN, data is usually protected by encryption software. This keeps you safe, but does put extra load on your PC as it has to encode and decode everything it uses.
If you’re not using a VPN as a security measure, but instead for watching region locked content, then reducing your encryption levels might help alleviate any bottlenecks in the system. Commonly used protocols are the OpenVPN or IKEv2/IPsec, but you could try other options such as L2TP/IPsec instead.
This can be a somewhat involved process, so it’s best to Google your VPN software and OS to see what steps you’ll need to take. As always, make sure you know what you’re doing, and the kind of vulnerabilities to which you may be leaving yourself open.
4. Turn off your Firewall or Antivirus software
In much the same way as encryption can overload the amount of work your PC has to do to process data, antivirus and firewall settings can be a burden. If you’re really struggling with performance then you could try turning them off temporarily, and seeing if that improves your situation.
We don’t really recommend doing this though, as you’re presenting your system as an open target to the world, and it’s a nasty place at times.
5. Reset your device
Finally, have you tried turning it off and on again? There’s a reason why that catchphrase from the IT Crowd has stuck around because it’s often the easiest solution to many PC related problems!
Try this on both your PC and router, then hopefully you’ll see your bits run free across the digital Serengeti once more.