In this article, we discuss the factors that impact the speed of VPN connections and how you can increase the speed of your connection when using one of our VPN servers. We also cover the differences in speed between the Proton VPN plans.
Update July 2021: Our unique VPN Accelerator technology can increase speeds by over 400% in certain situations, is free to all Proton VPN users, and is enabled by default in all our apps. It is particularly effective at mitigating speed loss due to large distances and issues with the internet infrastructure.
Learn more about VPN Accelerator
All VPNs establish an encrypted tunnel over your existing Internet connection, which means the main factor that determines the speed of your VPN connection is the base speed of your Internet connection. Other factors that might limit VPN speeds include:
- The speed of the connection from your Internet service provider. Generally speaking, the speed of your VPN connection is limited by the amount of data your ISP can handle and the speed with which it can transport it on its network.
- Issues in the Internet infrastructure. If you are connecting to an overseas VPN server, an issue with the network links anywhere between you and that server could lead to performance problems. This could include congestion caused by a failure of an undersea internet cable or maintenance being performed by the network provider upstream to your ISP.
- ISP throttling. Some providers will intentionally throttle VPN connections or throttle your entire connection if you are using a lot of bandwidth. This degrades your VPN speed as your entire connection is now running slower.
Because networks are always changing, VPN speeds can vary depending on where you are, which servers you connect to, and even when you connect. Furthermore, because connecting to a VPN might bypass a problem elsewhere on the Internet, it is even possible to occasionally get a faster connection speed to certain sites with a VPN than without.
How to get faster speeds on a VPN
If you are experiencing slow browsing speeds while connected to a VPN server, there are some tricks that you can try to improve your VPN performance.
- Switch to a different VPN server – If you suspect there are issues in your network, switching to a different server could help you avoid those bottlenecks and slowdowns. To be effective, you should switch to a server with an IP address from a different range. For example, instead of switching from 188.8.131.52 to 184.108.40.206, you should switch to 220.127.116.11. As long as the first two sets of numbers are different, the servers are on different ranges.
- Switch to a server closer to you – The farther away you are from the server you are connected to, the higher the latency of your connection, which hurts your browsing speeds. Connecting to a server that is far away from you also increase the chances of encountering network issues between you and the server.
- Try different protocols – Most Proton VPN apps support WireGuard, IKEv2 and OpenVPN (UDP/TCP) connection protocols. If you are experiencing slow browsing speeds, we suggest you try connecting with each protocol to see which one provides you with the best speed. WireGuard is usually the fastest VPN protocol. Out of OpenVPN connection protocols, UDP is faster than TCP. Our Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android apps feature Smart Protocol, but you may still want to manually select different VPN protocols to find the one that offers you the best speed.
Learn more about Smart Protocol and how to change VPN protocols.
- Don’t use servers that are under a heavy load – Proton VPN applications and our VPN server page display the current usage load of all our servers. Try to pick a server that has a low load.
- Don’t use Secure Core – The extra security provided by Secure Core VPN, unfortunately, comes at the cost of performance since passing through our Secure Core network adds extra latency. If your browsing is bandwidth-intensive and doesn’t require high security (i.e., you are watching Netflix), you can get a faster connection by turning off Secure Core.
- Don’t use Tor VPN servers – Proton VPN is unique in that we also provide Tor VPN servers that allow you to access the Tor network. However, because the Tor network is often slow, Tor VPN servers can also be slow.
- Temporarily disable your antivirus or firewall – Sometimes, antivirus programs or firewalls can affect VPN connection speed. Try temporarily disabling them and reconnecting to the Proton VPN server to see if your browsing speed improves.
- Close data-transferring applications – Some data/file-sharing applications that run in the background, such as torrenting apps, can lower your browsing speed. Try closing them and reconnect to measure your speed quality.
- Keep your VPN app up to date – If you are using the Proton VPN application, make sure you update to the latest version by clicking Update in the menu. If you are using a third-party OpenVPN client, make sure to use one that we recommend and be sure that you are running the latest version. New versions will contain performance optimizations or support faster cipher suites that will improve their overall performance.
The speeds of different Proton VPN Plans
Proton VPN maintains very fast connections across our entire global VPN server network by using only high-performance VPN servers on specially selected networks. Proton VPN is a free VPN service, but our global network is not free to operate. The operating expenses are mostly covered by paid Proton users. Because of this, we provide higher levels of performance for anyone with a paid Proton VPN plan.
Because Proton VPN is a no-logs VPN service, we do not monitor or track user activity. Therefore, we have no bandwidth limits or bandwidth throttles, even for free users. However, speeds differ between Free and paid plans due to varying server loads. Because we offer a limited number of free servers, those servers tend to have many more users on them, which leads to lower performance.
If you have Proton VPN Plus, Unlimited, or Visionary (legacy users only) plan, you have have access to the fastest connections. Because there are fewer paid users, and because many of our Plus servers are on 10 Gbps networks, very high performance is possible. Indeed, speeds of up to 300 Mbps are frequently reported. Your actual speeds may vary, however, depending on network conditions.
Still experiencing speed issues?
At Proton VPN, we strive to not only provide the most secure VPN service, but also the fastest VPN service. To do this, we only use high-performance servers in data centers with the best network connectivity. If you are experiencing poor connection speeds on one of our servers, we would like to know about it. Please tell us which server is performing poorly by contacting us.
The Proton Team
I just upgraded to the basic package, but as soon as I did that I can no longer stream any videos. Now the internet speed is so slow that I can’t do anything. Is this really how it’s supposed to be? I only want to watch TV from my home country, that’s all, and it worked great during the free trial. I appreciate the help. Thank you
Hello Ella, please contact our customer support team as we need more detailed information on you situation. https://protonvpn.com/support-form
Hello. I am using Proton VPN Plus service for playing my favourite MMORPG. I live in St. Petersburg, Russia. When using your servers in Finland or in Netherlands, I have a good ping with game servers in Strasbourg, France. But there are huge freezes (3-5 sec and more) sometimes. Frequency of freezes isn”t predictable – it may be ~1 freeze per 30 min with red server load but may be every 2-3 min with 10% load. When game servers were accessible without VPN, I hadn’t any freezes. Can you give me any help?
Hello. Playing videogames and getting higher lags and freezes is kind of normal with a VPN since there is a lot going on while you are connected, like your internet has to go trough few different nodes to reach the vpn server – then the internet, plus encryption slows everything down, so there is not much that could be altered. You can change the protocol to TCP and use closer located servers for better stability.
Hi, what is the problem ?
i’am a protonVpn Plus user I have a good connection without protonVpn but when I use your protonVpn I have only I have 800 octets !!!
please fix it
Hello Guillaume, please contact our customer support team as we need more information to fix it. https://protonvpn.com/support-form
Hi, I have configured everything as you described, double checked the setup, login/password and still cannot login to the VPN server – connection is automaticaly disconnected. What could be the problem (iOS, manual config, certificate installed)
Hello Bart. Please contact our customer support team for detailed troubleshooting. https://protonvpn.com/support-form
Why are certain California servers routing traffic to Canada?
Hello. Please inform our customer support team about which exact servers you experience the bad IP location. https://protonvpn.com/support-form
Maximum Connection Limit Reached…
I’m getting this error while connecting the vpn after user authentication done successfully.
I’m a free plan user and facing this issue since last week
Hello Akshay, please contact our customer support team and we will do our best to help you out – https://protonvpn.com/support-form
I am finding Proton function as others in the market, this is life on VPN. There are applications that bother you while using and others such as streaming that will work provided the upfront IP speed is adequate.
MS Outlook hates VPN and the correct port needs to open i order to send email. If you are mindful the out box can get full and bite you. I do not use Proton for all emails, work activity does not warrant Proton.
One application that I was looking to test is Netflix. No luck, it appears that Proton uses public server farms that Netflix targets and blocks.
Would you have any new insights into Netflix, everything else works fine.
Hello Emilio, please contact our customer support team and we will help you out! https://protonvpn.com/support-form
You may need to chain Connects. For example, from my work I have to chain three Connects in order to then access us-tx-04-tor.protonvpn.com.udp1194.ovpn. This means x3 slower than regular connect and also may not work on all Proton users’ devices. The particular servers I use is likely not relevant to you, but you may need to connect to other Proton VPN servers first to accomplish whatever you are trying to accomplish. Netflix is very unreliable that way. hth
Hotel wifi seems to actively block the usage of the vpn. Is there any possibility to fix it?
Hello Benoitc, In cases like these, the only thing to do is try different connection protocols that use different ports to connect to the VPN, thus quite possibly finding the open port that the VPN connection could work with.
Have recently changed to fibre broadband but the VPN seem to be very slow on my android TV box. Using Open VPN as the android app only works on phones. Is there anything I can do to increase speeds
That is most likely because of the OpenVPN architecture and how it works, because no matter how many cores or threads your android-box has, OpenVPN uses only one core and one thread for all encryption and decryption operations.
So, the only way to increase the speed currently is to connect to closest servers possible with least load on them. Also, we are going to publish IKEv2 android tutorial soon, so stay tuned.
Does the auto connect to the fastest server automatically connect you to a p2p server? Or is there a way to make it connect only to p2p servers so that it does?
I haven’t been able to find such an option in your windows app or any documentation about it.
Thx in advance
At this time, we do not have a profile that connects you specifically to the fastest P2P server. However, you can create a custom profile and choose the desired P2P server, so you can easily select that profile and make it a default one. If you make it a default profile, every time you press the “Quick connect” button it will connect to that certain server.
Hey! At the moment it is not possible, but you still can set your preferred P2P as a profile.
I am testing the free version of protonVPN on Android and considering to upgrade. So far my experience has been very positive except 2 issues:
– ProtonVPN drains a lot of battery, even when the phone is sleeping (it represents more than 10% of the overall spent energy).
– Sometimes the connexion to Internet seems down (or extremely slow). I need to disconnect ProtonVPN and re-connect it to have the connection properly working again.
Are they known issues that are planned to be fixed any time soon? Have I misconfigured something?
Hey, we are constantly collecting feedback and working on the issues that raise up. Both of the issues you have mentioned are not too persistent and it is an overall app stability field, which we are improving with every app update. Please feel free to write us an e-mail if you would like to do some troubleshooting via https://protonvpn.com/support-form
300 Mbps? Surely you’re making that up.
I have a pro subscription, but using TCP speeds don’t even reach 11 Mbps. With UDP it’s even worse, with speeds not even reaching half of that. Without ProtonVPN I easily manage 180 while wireless and with AirVPN there was not a care in the world. Both my Mac and iPhone are now snail pacing, with apps even timing out on the latter.
Your customer service is being of no help at all, directing me to this page (while I clearly stated I had already tried all the offered ‘solutions’ above).
What’s going on? There is (unfortunately) no application for Mac to update, switching servers does not produce any significant improvement, and so on… I like the idea behind Proton, and would love to make it work, but so far this has been a very one-sided relationship.
Hey Vince, we have answered to your ticket and hopefully will be able to resolve your issues through there.
Vince, were the issues you described ever resolved? I am curious about your experience. Thank you.
I really like your service and use it to keep my information private and mine, as much as possible. I’m very grateful for your service. I do have some issues though that I would like to let you know about so that you may use it to improve services. An iPhone app with a kill switch would be so nice. The kill switch really works well on my computer but I’m vulnerable on my iphone when service drops out and I don’t notice. OpenVPN does nothing to alert me of the breach. I’m not super worried now, but I feel it in my gut this needs to be addressed soon because of negative forces in the world ramping up their efforts with the help of ever increasing technological advancements and the collection/storage of personal information for nefarious purposes. I want to stay safe and out of the way. Also please, a little more speed. Please do the best you can to keep speeds at a level that allows Plus users (Yep, I support you) to video stream 480-720p. Sometimes things get bad and it doesn’t matter what server I’m connected to. But thankfully it never lasts and I do enjoy 1080p sometimes. Thanks for all your work and providing a service that keeps people and their information safe on the internet.
Hey Hema, thank you for your comment! Our iOS app is in the works, but it is too early to tell when we will be releasing it for beta testing.
hai! ProwtonVPN cownecxion keeps droppin until i manyualy diskonnect and changje serveh.
dis MUST stawp.
We have recently made a change that should fix this problem.
Speeds on the SE-AU Secure Core configuration have been too slow to permit video streaming. This problem was resolved by using the Australia Country Connect config.
Can you add a feature to see what servers are Plus servers (in the list of VPN servers in the ProtonVPN program) and which are not Plus servers ? As an ProtonVPN Plus user, I only want to connect to Plus servers, but I don’t know which they are..
Yes you can get this information from the server page: https://protonvpn.com/vpn-servers
Will you be implementing methods to get around ISP throttling (SSH/SSL tunneling, use different ports, etc)? I have a 100MB connection but only seem to get 20-30MB max with ProtonVPN, no matter what servers I use
We will look into advanced obfuscation technologies in the near future. Currently our main priority is to get native client support for other platforms besides Win
Does the “Fastest” button in the Windows VPN Client consider location and network issues? My thoughts are that its purely ping response based.
it relies on several factors, including location, ping and server load
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