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Why are the speed tests faster through a VPN?

March 8, 2017 674 views
VPN Ubuntu 16.04

I was thinking about migrating my droplet to a different data center, so I decided to check the speed tests (speedtest-*.digitalocean.com).

I got between 10-12mbps on most. My home connection is ~20mbps and I remembered I was connected through PIA (exiting in my home city) and decided to disconnect to see if I would see much increase. To my surprise, the average dropped to 5-8mbps.

I ran tests on speedtest.net with my VPN on and off and it didn't have much impact on speed. Both tests came out about ~12mbps.

Does anyone have any clues as to what is happening here?

2 Answers

@39c5ecaa

The speeds you'll receive as a result of using a VPN will vary. It all depends on what type of VPN it is that you're connecting to. VPN's which do higher levels of encryption will result in lower speeds due to said encryption. VPN's that still encrypt but not as strong as others will ultimately result in faster overall speeds.

Of course, your physical connection also comes in to play here. Fluctuations in speeds between your provider and your VPN will also effect the actual speeds you see and receive when connected to the VPN.

As an example, using OpenVPN will probably result in faster speeds when compared to using another such as StrongSwan as StrongSwan uses higher levels of encryption than a standard OpenVPN VPN.

My ISP caps at 60-65Mbps. When using a VPN with StrongSwan, that speed drops to around 18-25 as there's a lot more happening behind the scenes.

I agree, type of encryption you choose directly affects on the connection speed. But you also should connect to the nearest VPN server, which is also the most uncharged one. Here you can read how to speed up internet connection speed. Hope it’ll help you.

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