Testing the Speed of a VPN

We received some good feedback on our last post which explained everything you need to know about VPN speed. We greatly appreciate it. But, we also quickly realized there is one vital piece of information we left out: how to test the speed of a VPN service.

The Difference Between Testing Home Internet and VPN Speeds

The way to test the speed of a VPN differs from how you would test your home Internet connection. Both use similar tools, but without understanding one important detail, your VPN speed test may yield incorrect results and make your VPN seem a lot slower than it is.

As we eluded to in the previous post, one of the most important factors influencing your VPN connection speed is the server’s physical location. The distance between your device and the server has a direct and significant impact. The greater that distance, the further data has to travel, and the more network hubs it needs to navigate.

The location of VPN speed test hosts

When you run a speed test using a service like www.speedtest.net, that site will automatically pick a host to test against that is closest to your location. For your home internet connection, that likely means somewhere in your city. For a VPN server, that means near to the server’s location, which could be half way across the world.

This host selection discrepancy immediately puts the VPN at a disadvantage. The data will obviously have to travel much further to reach your computer, and therefore the connection will appear slower.

The Right Way to Run a Speed Test

To level the playing field, start with the VPN test first. Take note of which speed test host is used. Once you disconnect from the VPN and are running a comparative test on your home connection, use that same host. This will make sure that as much as is possible, you are comparing apples to apples.

The speed of the VPN will still be slower than your internet connection, and that is to be expected. But, you are now in a position where you can use the information in our previous post to tweak a few things. Try to get the VPN speed to match your home internet as closely as possible.