It is well known that not all VPN connections are created equal. If you were to speed test VPN providers or even different servers of the same provider, you would get varying results for both bandwidth and ping.
But, there are several ways to predict how fast your VPN will be and what can you expect from the quality of the connection. Depending on the distance of the server, its type, quality, as well as your bandwidth, speed will vary. And sometimes there could be internal issues, such as large data chunks, that will respond differently to being encrypted by some servers.
Almost universally, premium VPN servers will offer higher speeds than any singular proxy connection, or amateur free VPN connections. Premium providers will have multiple servers that are usually closer to you and can withstand much more users with greater speeds.
Finally, some high-speed VPN providers like Le VPN will have specialized servers with explicit purposes, such as those for watching foreign media, P2P file sharing, or gaming. Usually, by mixing up your VPN with a Smart DNS, you can get VPN speeds that are almost equivalent to the direct internet speed provided by your ISP.
Lower Bandwidth with a VPN?
The reason why every VPN connection will be, at least marginally, slower than your regular connection, is somewhat apparent. You are connecting to the VPN server, and then that server is connecting to the internet. As perfect conductors don’t exist (yet), the added step is bound to slow down the connection at least a bit.
Additionally, there is a question of distance and encryption. With a good VPN, your data will be heavily encrypted in the VPN tunnel as to be impossible to view from outside attackers and snoopers.
Depending on the quality of the app and server doing the encrypting, this might slow down some types of content. Providers that use PPTP VPN and other modern protocols to encode and encrypt your data will have much higher speeds than those who do not.
Finally, while the distance will not influence the speed of your internet directly, it will affect your ping, which can visibly slow down your surfing experience. For those of us who have accustomed to high-speed internet, we expect our apps and pages to open almost instantly. Even with a half-second ping, we will notice the difference.
Why are there Different Bandwidths?
There are two main reasons why different people have faster and slower internet, even if they are using the same ISP and living door to door. Primarily there is the question of the Internet Service Provider’s overall bandwidth capacity, and the other is their wish to charge you for that capacity.
Depending on your region, the cost of maintenance for cables, systems, routers, and servers can cost various amounts of money. But, it will always be significantly less than what users will pay compared to their speed. Connections faster than 60 Mbps cost less than $10 in countries like Russia, Romania, or Moldova, and go up to $100 for the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
Not all servers are the same. Also, internet provision is one of the few industries where government interference and regulation brought better market standards than in places there wasn’t any.
How to Speed Test VPN?
Your preferred way of testing your internet speed will depend on your technical experience, but also on the tools you have available. Companies, as well as people using advanced desktop systems (a fancy word for gaming PCs), can test the internet without any specialized software.
Those using mobile, or other closed systems, will need to either benchmark or speed test VPN with specialized software. Or they can use online software that will check it for them. The last type of check is not always accurate but is arguably the easiest way to see what is happening.
To speed test VPN connections externally, you can use the same tools as you would to check the regular link. Even with reduced accuracy, online software like Ookla Speed Test might be the best way to compare different servers.
Finally, you will always need to take into account the speed provided by your ISP. With lower regular speed, the final loss with a VPN will be even relatively smaller. Those who have 200 Mbps connections, or higher, will experience significant reductions, but will usually not notice a great difference in real-world utility.
Depending on your operating system, there are different ways to check what your current maximum internet capacity is. This way you can see if maybe your hardware is not providing as much speed as your ISP declares in the first place.
Connecting over wireless connections or Bluetooth will never provide as much speed as connecting with a cable would. Similarly, the cable is far inferior to a T1 network.
Additionally, there is a question if your device can support the speeds that you need. For both Windows and macOS you can go into internet settings and check the status of the connection. Here you will see the maximum possible speed.
There is also the fact that premium VPN providers will have VPN Mac OS apps that show speeds directly, or will show the distance and position of the server you are connecting to.
It is always possible to create your own benchmark check that will resemble the online software people usually use. The process is quite simple; you need to know the size of the file you are uploading or downloading, and have an accurate measure of time.
If you have a 1GB file, which is fairly uniform, or just a single block of data, you can use cloud-based services to download the file and measure how much it takes to download.
This will not show your maximum internet speed, but the actual speed realized. This metric may be even more important if you want to speed test VPN connections.
This is probably the most common way to speed test VPN and ISP bandwidth. Some numerous programs and apps can test your speed, regardless if you are using a VPN or are connected directly to your ISP’s server.
The only issue with these apps and programs is security. While most are probably okay, there is a significant possibility that they will contain spyware or malware. Giving obscure software access to send and receive data online is never a good idea. Your VPN and anti-virus will not be able to stop this intrusion.
Additionally, it is always easier to use an online service through your browser than to download anything.
Ookla Speed Test
The most popular way to speed test VPN connections, as it works without any issues. If you are using Le VPN, you will even be able to see the server you are connecting from their VPN server and to check if there is a closer option.
It is easy to use and it works from any browser while reading only limited data. Tests have proven that there are no security concerns when using this website to test your VPN speed. And with all the information provided, you might learn more about the virtual private network itself.
To speed test VPN you are connected to, simply use the app to connect to a server you want and go to the website. Click on the large GO button, and you will have your results in a moment.
Ookla’s test in not 100% accurate and small discrepancies might occur for some browsers. But these are minimal and don’t matter if you are testing VPN speeds between different servers.
Ping and Download Speed
Time is a fascinating phenomenon. Generally speaking, what we call ‘’real-time” is not actually how time progresses, but how we experience it. The information processed is more important than the actual amount of data being sent.
While it is probable that the late Stephen Hawking never thought about computer networking while discussing this issue, a similar thing happens to computers. The fact that your computer can download 1 Gbps of data doesn’t mean that you will always process this speed.
Your experience will vary due to your bandwidth, but also your ping, your router capacity, as well as your device processing power. This is why when we are selecting a gaming VPN, we should be more concerned with our ping than the actual speed.
Your ping is the number of milliseconds needed for the server and your device to finish one full circle of sending and receiving data. Even for casual gaming, anything over 80 would be terrible, as your PC will add a few more, adding more than 30% to good reaction times.
Resolving Internal Issues
To lower ping and improve your experience, you should first make sure your internal issues are resolved. If your device can’t process your content quickly, your T1 internet connection will be rendered useless, even if you have the best premium VPN.
Check your processor and RAM performance, as well as your hard drive speed. These bottlenecks can usually render top internet speeds unimportant. Additionally, your WiFi or LAN connection should be capable of the bandwidth you need.
Finally, check if your router and WiFi are set to allow top speeds. Using a VPN router can additionally improve latency when gaming over a VPN.
Surfing at the Speed of Light
Technically, you are surfing the web at light speed even if you are using dial-up, but that is not what we are after. What everyone wants is to open all pages as fast as possible and to stream movies and series without any buffers.
This is probably the first moment when most people speed test VPN connections, as some buffering occurred — something to bring us out of our comfort zone.
Sacrificing your cybersecurity for a slightly faster speed would be severely hazardous. It is much better to invest in a premium VPN that has good speeds and a dedicated connection for streaming than to give out your private data and IP address for a single episode of Gilmore Girls.
Additionally, you can unblock Netflix databases from different countries by using Le VPN and selecting the server in places like the US, UK, or Japan. US has the biggest number of premium shows, where UK Netflix has quite a bit of BBC and English production shows. The title of most content still goes to Japan, although this is mostly due to large amounts of Anime.
Malware & Spyware
Cybersecurity and cyber hygiene go hand in hand, and especially when it comes to malware and spyware. It is not enough to have a good VPN and good firewalls. You need to clean your devices from time to time.
By using anti-spyware software, you can quickly clean your device from any malicious (or just annoying) plugins and software that tend to clog your internet bandwidth. This will both protect your equipment and give you better internet speeds.
Also, it is an old misconception that most tracking software and spyware comes from adult sites and some obscure forums. The dirtiest place on the web in terms of cybersecurity are social media platforms.
Source Upload Speed
When you speed, test your VPN connection, make sure that you are taking the upload speed of the sender into account. For P2P torrenting and communication, it is quite possible that the person on the other side has a much weaker internet than you do, slowing down the overall speed.
This won’t usually be an issue for the internet at large, but we should be mindful when testing.
Server Selection Criteria
The reason why we speed test VPN providers and connections is to know how to select the best server for what we need. Having this choice is essential, as the best one can be in any country around the world. Le VPN has servers in more than 120 countries, in all continents save for Antarctica, as penguins don’t upload that much content anyway.
Every connection will provide you with the safety and security of a premium VPN, but not every connection will have the same speed. Closest servers will have the lowest ping, and dedicated servers, such as the one for US media content, will have the highest relative speed.
Hiding from Censorship
It seems like casual censorship has become a favorite pastime of large corporations in the West and national governments in the East. To avoid this censorship, we need to practice good cyber hygiene and move our IP address as far from our place of residence as possible.
If you are living in the Americas, you should always select a European server to mask your IP. Also, you should probably never use your real name on social media platforms. Also, using alternative platforms might be more liberating in these cases than opting for Facebook or Twitter.
Searching for Content
If you want to see specific content, it is best to connect to a server in a country where that content is produced. Due to either licensing or censorship, some countries will make certain movies, shows, music, or even books unavailable for ISPs in their territory.
If you have a VPN provider with multiple servers, you should use the app to alternate between countries, selecting those with the content you are trying to see.
If you are browsing in general, Iceland is the best country to connect to, due to the most liberal copyright and censorship rules.
Depending on the game you are playing and its options, these servers will also vary. If your country has open access to the game in question, your safest bet would be to select the server closest to you to decrease ping.
If the game is blocked in your country, you can either connect to a server in a country closest to you or the one closest to the main server of the game, provided that you know where that is.
Just Keeping Safe
Finally, if you want to keep safe, your best bet is to connect to a server in a different country from your own, but as close as possible to your location.
For instance, if you are in the US, it is generally better to connect to the Canadian server than the one in some other State. Your connection will have an end to end encryption regardless, but some legal points might be avoided by connecting abroad.
Connecting Multiple Devices
You should always make sure that all of your devices are connected to a VPN at all times. When you speed test VPN, look if there is a kill-switch and don’t browse or connect while the VPN service is off.
While it is not likely that small disruptions in your home VPN connection will make you a target, there is no reason to test that theory if we don’t need to.
Whichever VPN provider you choose, be certain that they have options of iOS, Android, and other platforms, and that these would be included in your subscription.
While it is generally easy to speed test VPN, we should be aware of what we are seeing. Premium VPN providers like Le VPN will have only marginally lower internet speeds than the ones provided by most ISPs but will give other benefits in return.
When testing our speed, we should test the overall experience rather than the exact number. Having a 100 Mbps connection for gaming means nothing if you have a high ping. Also, the same connection for streaming is utterly useless if you can’t connect to the streaming source.
But, if you are using a good VPN, and know how to select an appropriate server, you will be sure to have a good experience with the highest possible speed.
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