Are you the kind of person who constantly feels like you are missing out because you aren’t connected to the Internet wherever you go? You probably are if you answered yes to question one. Life without Internet access can be quite frustrating. It’s not that you need Internet in order to live your life; it’s that without it, your life is somewhat limited. You can’t research solutions to problems, you can’t watch YouTube videos to learn new things, and you certainly can’t connect with other users and help each other out.
You might imagine that connecting to the Internet via a Virtual Private Network (VPN) would be a good solution. After all, wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone had full and free access to the Internet? Unfortunately, that’s not what happens when you use a VPN. In fact, using a VPN slows down your shared Internet connection.
So why is that? Let’s take a closer look.
More Than You Might Think
It’s important to note that when you’re using a VPN, you’re not just limiting your shared Internet connection. You’re also limiting the resources that are available to all users on that connection. Every time you use a VPN, you’re adding another layer of encryption to all your traffic. That means that everything you do while connected to the Internet is encrypted, which means that your personal data is secure. However, it also means that everyone connected to the same shared Internet connection is also experiencing reduced speeds.
Let’s say that you’re using a free Wi-Fi hotspot at a hotel. You connect to the Internet, and all of a sudden your download speeds are limited. You might not even notice it at first, but when you do start to feel restricted, you’ll probably be a bit miffed. After all, you were just using the Internet as you always do – without any restrictions – and then all of a sudden your download speeds are being capped. That’s not what you signed up for when you booked the hotel room.
Similarly, let’s say that you’re regularly surfing the Web at a coffee shop. You’ve been having a good time, minding your own business, and then all of a sudden you notice that your download speeds are acting funny. You’ll probably start to feel a bit suspicious, especially since you don’t remember doing anything different. You might even ask the shop owner if something’s wrong. After all, you’re the kind of person who always comes back, right? The owner might suggest that you try a different coffee shop, or maybe even move to a different neighborhood, because apparently your favorite coffee shop is having network problems that day. Again, not what you signed up for when you decided to stop by that coffee shop – or anyone else’s, for that matter.
What Affects Your Internet Connection’s Speed?
It’s important to note that there are several different factors that affect your Internet connection’s speed. While using a VPN certainly slows down your shared Internet connection, it doesn’t always have to. Let’s take a look at a few of the more common causes of slow Internet speeds.
- If you’re located in a large city, you’ll most likely experience slow Internet speeds because there are so many other users on your line. The more users, the slower the speed. If you’re really lucky, the city might even have a cap on how many people can use the Internet at the same time. It’s definitely frustrating when you want to watch a movie and there are 10 people in front of you waiting their turn.
- If you live in a small town or suburban area, your Internet connection will most likely be plenty fast. There aren’t many other users on your line, so your speed should be just fine. If you do happen to be located in a city, however, connecting to the Internet via a VPN isn’t the answer. The cap on your Internet connection will come from the city, not from the VPN.
- Poor network quality. Just like with your cellular connection, the quality of the connection you experience while using the Internet depends on a lot of factors. Sometimes the problem is limited bandwidth, which means it can only handle a certain amount of data. Other times it can be interference from other devices such as microwaves or wireless speakers, which are often the cause of data loss or download speed slowdowns. Sometimes it’s an issue with the wiring, which can be very confusing. There are usually no quick and easy fixes for poor network quality, which in turn makes it very frustrating when you run into this type of issue. Of course, you can always try a different VPN, or connect to WiFi at a different coffee shop or hotel.
- If you’re experiencing slow speeds regardless of whether you’re connected to a VPN or not, there might be malware on your computer. We’ve already discussed how using a VPN can slow down your Internet connection, but it doesn’t mean that malware can’t affect it as well. Usually this happens when you’re infected with viruses that use your computer’s resources without your permission. You’ll most likely notice that your download speeds start to drop after you log on, whether you’re connected or not. It would be best to get in touch with the organization that provided you with the computer or device in the first place, so they can clean it and fix any problems. It’s also wise to keep your antivirus software up to date, so it can detect emerging viruses and malicious software as soon as they’re released. This can help keep your computer or device safe from harm.
- There’s always the chance that your Internet provider is throttling your bandwidth or capping your download speeds. This is illegal and potentially costly, so it’s something you need to keep an eye out for. You can contact the ISP directly to see if they’re limiting your speeds, or if they have any information about what’s causing the problem. It’s not always easy to figure out what’s causing your connection to slow down, or if it’s even possible that your ISP is responsible.
Why Use A VPN Anyway?
It’s important to note that not all shared Internet connections are created equal. Some are actually a lot faster than others, and you should always try to go with the highest quality you can find. Ideally, you’ll want to go with a satellite Internet connection because they usually provide the best speeds. It’s also wise to look for a VPN that’s been approved by the Better Business Bureau, as well as the organization that provided you with the device or computer in the first place. There are also a few different services out there that provide an entirely free VPN, which is excellent if you’re looking for an inexpensive solution or if you don’t want to waste any money.
Using a VPN isn’t always the solution (or even a part of the solution) for slow Internet connections. In most cases, it’s something you have to work at fixing. It would be best to try and figure out what’s causing the problem in the first place. If you’re not sure where to begin, it might be wise to simply ask someone who knows more than you do (or who has had similar issues before). Do your best to avoid this in the future by taking care of your computer or device in the first place. It also helps to keep your software up to date, so you can be sure that your security software is always aware of emerging threats. Lastly, make sure that you’re actually connected to the Internet when you use it. If you’re not, you might as well not be using it at all. It’s easy for someone to claim they’ve connected to the Internet when in fact they haven’t. Remember, your device already has you connected to the Internet when you turn it on, so make sure you’re not blocking any connections or hiding any apps that could be useful. These tricks might help you fool people into thinking you’re connected, but it’s still a lost opportunity if you’re not actually getting full Internet access when you use these networks.
It’s easy to see why using a VPN would be a bad idea if you’re simply trying to watch a movie or download some stuff. A lot of people use VPNs for that purpose, which is understandable. The thing is, when you’re using a VPN, you’re not just limiting the resources available to you as a user. You’re also limiting the resources available to everyone else on that network. For that reason, using a VPN just to watch TV or download some music can really slow down your Internet connection. It wouldn’t be fair to other users on the network, so to speak.