Tips for Maximizing VPN Performance

Have you ever tried to connect to a VPN server but had the connection fail?  Perhaps you were able to connect but it slowed your Internet speed down to a crawl.  If so you’ll find some helpful tips on how to improve your VPN performance in this post.  We’ll show you how some leading VPN providers including Hide My Ass, IPVanish and StrongVPN take steps to accelerate performance.  Allowing their users to get the best possible results.

First let’s take a look at some factors that can influence how fast your can expect a VPN to perform:

  • Performance testing – Review some independent VPN speed tests.
  • Server locations and IP’s – How far away is your nearest VPN server?
  • Bandwidth providers – What companies are providing the bandwidth?
  • Load balancing – Some providers handle network traffic better than others.
  • Test for yourself – After signing up test several server locations.

Performance Testing

We’ve had the opportunity to speed test hundreds of VPN servers all around the world.  From a wide variety of VPN services ranging from startups to large tier-1 providers.  The largest networks aren’t always the best.  In fact sometimes a large network can mean poor performance.  As growth can overload servers and degrade speed.  We test the performance of leading providers on a regular basis and post the results to the VPN speed test section of our main site –  There you’ll find the results of testing VPN servers in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and throughout Europe.  So far IPVanish holds the record for the best performance.

Server Locations and IP’s

Whether your connecting to a VPN from home or while traveling you’ll want to choose the nearest VPN server.  While not always the case you can normally achieve better speeds by selecting a server close to your current location.  If your VPN service only has one server in the United States then you might be better off looking to a service like Hide My Ass that offers 320 servers.  A large network allows them to accommodate more users.  Total number of IP addresses is important as well.  HMA, IPVanish, and OverPlay are well supplied with IP’s.

Bandwidth Providers

This is an area that a lot of people overlook.  Yet it’s probably the most important key to maximizing your VPN performance.  Most companies don’t come out and list the bandwidth provider for each server location and most users don’t pay close attention to it either.  We’re here to tell you that just like ISP’s you’ll find some VPN services perform far better than others.  Most VPN companies purchase bandwidth from third parties like Nobis and UK2.  While others provide their own bandwidth.  Which do you think is faster?

Large tier-1 VPN services like IPVanish and StrongVPN lead in this area.  The team behind IPVanish also operates one of the world’s fastest CDN networks.  You know they have to be good to serve bandwidth to large gaming companies like Valve and Gamefly.  They use that same network expertise for IPVanish.  StrongVPN is another tier-1 VPN company with an excellent network.  Their team had expertise in web hosting which has translated nicely into a large, reliable VPN network.  VyprVPN is another solid tier-1 service.

Load Balancing

Load balancing is used by large VPN providers to distribute load over multiple VPN servers.  In doing so they can minimize the risk of a single server or location getting overloaded.  What does that mean?  Hide My Ass is a good example since they include load balancing in their HMA client.  The feature is on by default.  When you open the HMA client and choose to connect to a server it will present a message if the load is over 30% and suggest an alternate server.  Though you won’t always know when providers use load balancing techniques.

Sometimes companies will use load balancing and other techniques to automatically connect a user to the best server in a particular area.  That could mean that you choose a server in New York and get connect to one in New jersey.  If that happens you’ll know they’re likely providing you the best speed possible at the time.

Test for Yourself

You’ll also want to test for yourself.  Several providers offer free VPN trials and money back guarantees.  Pick the company that you think best meets your needs and check them out.  Speed tests from VPNSP and other reputable sites are helpful but you’ll still want to see for yourself.  We normally test using a cable Internet connection in the United States.  You may experience faster or slower performance from your location.  We recommend you choose a company that provides either a free trial period or money back guarantee.

Have your goals in mind before you fire up the new VPN service.  First connect to your nearest server and use a site like to test your speed.  Would you like to stream video content?  If so connect to your nearest server and give Netflix, Hulu or YouTube a try.  Let the video play for a few minutes and see if you notice any lag or network issues.  Try from other locations around the world.  The most popular areas include the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.  Focus on the areas you plan to access on a regular basis.


I hope you found our list of tips helpful in maximizing your VPN performance.  We also recognize that speed will vary based on time of day, route to your selected VPN server and other factors.  This list is meant to cover the basics to help users improve their connection speeds. Please let us know if we missed anything.  – @VPNSP