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Support Center / Speed and bandwidth / Server load, Percentages, and Colors explained

Server load, Percentages, and Colors explained

What is the “server load”?

We have no bandwidth limits or bandwidth throttles on our VPN service, even for free users. However, speeds do differ between Free, Basic, and Plus plan servers due to varying server load.
The server load is linked to how many users are connected to that server at a particular time and what they are doing. This metric is updated regularly. The server load is indicated with percentages and colors in our native ProtonVPN applications and on the ProtonVPN servers page.

For the fastest and most stable connection, you should always connect to the server with lowest server load. (Note: There are other factors that can impact your VPN connection speed, including your original connection and the distance between your device and the VPN server you connect to.)

IMPORTANT: As ProtonVPN has no bandwidth limits, users with very fast ISP connections are able to reach very fast browsing speeds while connected to our servers. The server load mostly impacts users with very fast ISP connections. For instance, if your speed is capped at 50Mbps by your ISP, you are unlikely to notice a difference in your browsing speed on the ProtonVPN network, even if you connect to an overloaded server (a server with a load above 90%). However, if your ISP connection is faster than that, then connecting to an overloaded server (above 90%) could slow down your browsing speed. To avoid performance loss, users with very high ISP connection speeds, should connect to servers with a low load (49% and below).

What are the percentages shown next to the server load?

The percentages are an indicator of what the server load is at that time. All other variables being equal, the lower the percentage is (i.e., the lower the server load), the faster your VPN connection will be if you have very fast ISP connection speed. A ProtonVPN server with a percentage in the 90-100% range is under a heavy load and could slow your connection down. A server that has a server load of 50% or below will support a fast connection. However, as mentioned, if your ISP connection speed is less than 50Mbps, then it is unlikely you will notice a difference between servers with a 10% load and servers with a 60% load.

What are the colors shown next to the server load?

To simplify the process, we have created a three-color system that demonstrates the load that a server is currently under. You can use this color system to see which servers will support a fast connection with just a glance.

– GREEN (1-49%): This server has a low server load. In general, servers in the green will provide the fastest connection speeds.
–  YELLOW (50-89%): This server has a medium server load. ProtonVPN servers are very fast, so the servers in the yellow should also provide decent connection speed.
– RED (90-100%): This server is overloaded. If your ISP connection is very fast, you should avoid these servers as they will not be able to support top-end connection speeds.

Related articles:

Understanding and Increasing VPN Speeds

Setup Guide for new users

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