Knowledgebase
How to understand/improve the speed
Posted by Max Biggavelli on 04 January 2015 18:38

The sole purpose of the article is to first of all explain a few facts about performance on a VPN and in the further process learn a few possibilities to increase performance.

Often times we get tickets with the following content:


"I have a 100Mb connection, but only receive XXXX amount through the VPN, is the server overloaded?"

No, the server is NOT overloaded, almost everytime a user is running runs into performance issue the first assumption is the server must be overloaded, even though that is (with us) like never the case!

Only NL/SWE COULD tend to become overloaded on particular days/times, but to 95% we have never any overloaded server and to be very clear: incase we would actually notice our service becomes overloaded in the future, we would introduce a speed shape to restrict users with a max threshold anywhere between 30-50Mb - which is in our thoughts more than enough on a VPN - but as stated this is not the case yet.


"I have a >100Mb connection, can i reach this speed on your VPN?"

To start off the main idea of a VPN is NOT to send through speeds above >50Mb through an encrypted tunnel, the main idea of our VPN is first of all maximum anonymity for the regular home user (not really anonymity for massive high speed connections with which just a few users can saturate a servers full uplink).

After that being said: surely we know & understand people love to utilize their full ISP given performance and surely we know we have many torrent/upload/download members, a fact which we have in generally no problem with at all, but there are some aspects to put into a consideration whenever somebody plans to use his high speed through a VPN service (this logic applies to almost ALL VPN services with a few rare exceptions in the same way):

- usually a server (70% of our servers) has a 1Gbit/s uplink as the maximum bandwidth, now lets dont forget this bandwidth is again SHARED, so in the end a VPN provider (if lucky) gets anywhere around 200-700Mbit/s on the good providers.

Now even simple math tells us just 4-5x users utilizing their connection around 75-125Mbit can already either over-saturate a good server, or atleast get close to over-saturate it and by that affect other members, therefore we expect a fair usage from our members and will react in the future accordingly incase the fair usage policy isnt enough anymore, as stated above this is not the case yet, but seeing the growth of home connection performances in the recent years this day is most likely to come one day, still we try to maintain our simple fair usage policy for as long as possible.


Which other factors i can look into?

Moreover, the performance you get is dependent on around a dozen of different factors playing a major role:

- your own ISP and more importantly the routing from your own ISP to the VPN country
- some ISPs are known to throttle P2P/Torrent traffic, for instance: Kabel Deutschland
- some ISPs are known to show dramatically good, or dramatically bad results with OpenVPN (this again depends on region to region too): Unity Media, O2 Telefonica (especially with france1/2 VPN location)
- a 
slow computer and/or overloaded OS, slow CPU (example: raspbery PI), slow router due to slow CPU (example: some DD-WRTOpenWRT routers) and that especially in combination with OpenVPN can get you a really bad throughput!


To sum up: use a faster protocol, OpenVPN is not the best when the goal is to reach best performance!

 

But enough of the teaching for now and back to the questions that the most users reading this article are looking for, so your performance is bad/slow and you want to incease it?

Few facts & increasing options:

- OpenVPN protocol is not the best at handling high speed connections, therefore a general rule of thumb is the faster your default speed is, the more loss you will get using OpenVPN! Surely there are as always exceptions, but it is a common fact everyone will notice over the years in this business. Besides if your computer is slow, OS is slow/overloaded, or whatever other reason it might be, then make sure to stop OpenVPN and use a faster protocol from any of the ones listed below.

- L2TP/IPsec protocol usually performs much better (and especially less troublesome in heavy downloads like torrenting/uploads/downlods) so whenever you have performance troubles with OpenVPN, make sure to give L2TP/IPsec (IKEv1) or even better (IKEv2) a try!

- Squid or SOCKS5 proxy even faster (and even less troublesome, especially in heavy downloads like torrenting/uploads/downlods) would be using our SQUID or the SOCKS5 proxy only. For example in uTorrent client you can set a SOCKS5 or the SQUID proxy, if you want maximum performance set the SOCKS5 or the SQUID proxy in the uTorrent option only, if you do this then do NOT use openvpn/l2tp concurrently, only use the proxy if you want best performance. Same you can do with our SQUID proxy, set the SQUID proxy in your browser options (and optionally throw in "stunnel" in your setup if you prefer traffic encryption!) as you see using just a proxy without any encryption, will always offers the best performance possible.

- Country switch yes in some cases a simple country switch can help, but best bet is to try the different protocols first and only do a country switch as the last option (if you dont have any free switches, ask in ticket for server switches if you want to try this option).

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