Symptoms of a bad VPN connection
But let’s first see the symptoms of a bad VPN connection:
- Despite having the right credentials, your VPN software can’t establish a connection. This usually translates into your VPN client reporting connection issues or showing frequent disruptions.
- Pages sometimes don’t load even though your VPN reports that it has correctly connected,
Now let’s see the reasons that may lead to such issues.
Connection speed – Bandwidth limitation at the VPN provider
Some providers actually apply some QoS (bandwidth limitations) to each VPN tunnel that is set up. There’s no way for you to circumvent this but use another VPN provider. The ones that I recommend are ExpressVPN, HideMyAss, ibVPN, NordVPN, PureVPN, PrivateInternetAccess, ZenMate.
Port blocking at the ISP side
This is the most frequent issue. A VPN uses some IP ports so as to be able to connect. Some ISP (or your router) may have those ports blocked, though the connection can’t be established. Some VPN providers try to emulate a VPN connection via the port 443 (usually used by HTTPS protocol), but most of the times, you have to deal with whoever deals with a firewall at the ISP side, or at your network side so as to allow it to connect.
Charge on the VPN server
Each VPN server can only handle a limited number of VPN tunnels. It may happen that due to popularity, some servers are too overloaded (because there’s too much VPN client simultaneously connecting to it).
Recent VPN providers have set up a smart rerouting system that will redirect your connection to another VPN server if the first one on the list is becoming too overloaded. You have to check, though, that the VPN solution that you have chosen actually implements such rerouting solution.
Otherwise, if a VPN provider proposes multiple VPN servers for the same country, a simple trick would be to choose the last VPN server on the list since most of the times, people will choose the first one on the list thereby charging it more than the others.
Depending on the internet connection that you have, it may happen that some implementation (a VSAT international connection for example) has a too big network latency (around 600ms) that it becomes really hard for the VPN connection to work steadily. If you have the choice, use an internet connection that relies on you with the internet that does not go through satellite connections.
The distance between your computer and the VPN server (network hops)
This also plays a big role in the VPN connection performance that you have. If it takes too many hops (routers) to get to the closest VPN router, then it has an impact on the quality of the VPN connection. This usually can be verified by doing a “traceroute” from your computer to the VPN server you are trying to connect to.
While this list isn’t exhaustive, it gives you an idea of the things to check so as to optimize your VPN connection speed.
Have more to share with us? Feel free to add them to the comment section.