For someone looking for the right VPN for the first time, it can be a little nervewracking seeing all the posts out there about VPNs seriously throttling your smartphone, laptop, or PC’s speed.

VPNs are designed to mask your presence online by routing your network traffic through their own servers before it goes to its destination.

That’s an additional step in the process so it’s reasonable to assume that it’s going to slow your internet connection. 

Will A VPN Slow Down My Streaming?

Unless your internet service provider (ISP) is throttling your bandwidth, it is more likely that connecting to a VPN will slow down your streaming. It was much more common in the past for ISPs to limit your bandwidth when you connected to sites like Netflix. If this was happening, a VPN could route around this restriction and increase streaming speeds. 

Because your VPN adds the step of sending your online data along an encrypted tunnel to one of their remote servers, it can cause your internet connection to lag.

However, VPNs have gotten a lot faster at doing that compared to years ago. While the early days of VPN use were rife with terrible slowdowns, they’ve gotten a lot better in the last couple of years. Some VPNs are so fast you probably won’t notice the difference without a means to measure it.

If you want to do a quick test, head into YouTube’s “Stats For Nerds” and check out “Line Speed Estimate” with your VPN connected and then disconnected. You could also test the servers in different regions to see if there were any gains to be had. 

Depending on the VPN you’re using you probably have a choice of servers, though most VPNs default to automatically choosing the closest server to your current location. However, if you have a choice, you can choose the server that has the least traffic and is close to you as well.

Most of the experts agree, however, that you should always pick a server that’s in a city or state that’s neighboring yours. Now, if you’re on the eastern border of Alabama, that doesn’t mean the western border of Louisiana will be the best choice. 

The amount of real estate between you and the server matters, at the end of the day.

Related Article: Will A VPN Stop Buffering On Firestick? (Explained)

Encryption Takes a Toll on Streaming as Well

Though things have gotten a lot faster on the “find your server” front, there is the fact that VPNs use encryption protocols. That can possibly slow things down some as well, though it’s by no means set in stone that it will. 

When choosing a VPN, look for PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol), because it’s the oldest and fastest VPN encryption.

The VPNs Less Likely To Slow Down Your Streaming

In general, the more server options you have, the better your speed will be but there is a lot more to it than that. All four of the following VPNs work well with most streaming services, highlighting Netflix: NordVPN, ExpressVPN, ProtonVPN, and Surfshark.

That’s the kind of thing you want to see when you look for a VPN and you’re worried about streaming speed—support for various streaming channels. The fastest VPN currently is NordVPN or, at least it’s known for being the fastest. So it’s worth starting there.

All Things Considered

It’s possible that a VPN will slow down your ability to stream but several VPNs have made a lot of improvements. Even if there is a slowdown, it’s likely that it won’t be something that you even notice. As streaming demands continue to grow, it’s only natural that VPNs grow as well.