A VPN also encrypts your data, making it unreadable by anyone who can intercept it, whether it's a hacker or simply your ISP. This is the step that can help reduce upload and download speeds, since it takes time to encrypt and decrypt data. Low download speeds are especially what contribute to a “slow connection”: pages load slowly, videos are stored in an endless buffer and, basically, you'll have a hard time. A VPN works by directing your traffic through its own servers, which basically becomes an intermediary between you and the website you want to visit.
We'd prefer you to lose some speed, but keep your data safe by leaving your VPN, firewall and antivirus turned on at all times. If you use the OpenVPN protocol, your VPN application can allow you to switch between TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) or UDP (User Datagram Protocol). For example, the OpenVPN protocol is the encryption you're most likely to notice slowing down your Internet speed. OpenVPN replaced several older, less secure protocols, and is still widely considered to be secure and reliable.
A VPN protocol is the set of instructions that establishes how data is sent from the device to the VPN server. NordVPN's quick connect button is useful here because it automatically selects the best server to give you the fastest possible speeds. Depending on your device, platform, and VPN, you might be able to change the type of encryption you use. It reliably offered speeds of up to 880 Mbps when using NordLynx, compared to about 190 Mbps when using OpenVPN.
If you're using a VPN to securely view video content, you might want to explore ways to make streaming faster. Premium VPN users with large servers should hardly ever face latency and can always rely on faster VPN speeds. Premium VPNs, like NordVPN, come with additional security settings and other features that can change the speed of your VPN. The best way to know if your VPN is affecting your Internet connection is to test the speed while downloading a file, with both the VPN turned on and off.