NordVPN Slow? Here’s What You Should Do

nordvpn slow

Is your NordVPN connection slow?

There are fewer things in this world more frustrating than slow internet speeds when you are trying to get things done. Whether it’s streaming video, downloading content, or getting on with your work, slow internet speeds can stand in your way and cause a major headache.

If you are experiencing slow or unusually sluggish NordVPN speeds, there are some things you can do to get everything back on track.

What Causes Slow NordVPN Speeds?

Let’s get one thing straight first—you are always going to experience some degree of slower speeds when you use a VPN, it’s normal. Remember that your internet is being tunneled through a different location and this reduces even the fastest internet connection. The trade-off for this, however, is strong encryption and the protection of your privacy.

NordVPN have stated that even users who are connected to their closest and most optimum server via OpenVPN UDP will experience around a 30% drop in download speeds on average.

Our own test showed from 3-33% speed losses. How does yours look?

There are other factors that can slow down your VPN “naturally,” including the server you have connected to, the tunneling protocol used, and the type of encryption. If you connect to your own region (ie – USW to USW) then the lower the losses. More actionable tips on these in a bit.

If you are experiencing huge and unusual drops in connection speeds, however, there are some things you can do to try and fix it.

Fixing Slow NordVPN Speeds

Sometimes, even the simplest and most innocent setting or circumstance can slow you right down. Check through these tips and see if any of them apply to you.

1. Restart your router and device

“Have you tried turning it off and back on again?”

This works wonders most of the time! Go ahead and restart your router or modem. Often, a reboot totally refreshes your network, stops any memory leaks, and gives your download speeds a kick up the backside.

If restarting your router hasn’t worked, you may also want to try restarting the device you are using the VPN on (unless you have a VPN router installation, of course—you just restarted it!). Your desktop, laptop, smartphone, or whatever device you are using may just need a reboot because it has been running for an extended period of time (because certain pieces of code can restart as well).

2. Check your internet speeds

If your connection is slow when you are not connected to a VPN then it is not the VPN’s fault!

You’re not getting the download and upload speeds that you expect but a VPN isn’t magic and cannot improve your speeds (although some advertise it)… many people, unfortunately, think the opposite though and expect their speeds to improve because a VPN is known for having fast server speeds.

That is not the case.

Perform an internet speed test when you are not connected to NordVPN and see what results it spits out. If you are seeing slow download and upload speeds then the culprit is your ISP, not the VPN.

3. Try out different servers and locations

Sometimes, a NordVPN server or location can just be having a bad day. Try connecting to a different server within the same country or a new country altogether and see what happens.

Also, if you are connecting to a server that is located far away from you geographically, this could slow down the speeds you are getting. Connect to a server that’s closer to or in the same country as you may help to decrease latency and speed things up a little bit.

4. Try different protocol settings

You can change the protocol being used in NordVPN by opening the native app up and going to ‘Settings’ then ‘Advanced Settings’ (at the bottom of the desktop app’s Settings page). You have two options to switch between here—

  • TCP, slower but more reliable (because the data is being verified); or
  • UDP, faster but can be unreliable (because the data isn’t being verified).

Switch to UDP protocol and run a speed test to see if things get any better.

5. Try an Ethernet connection

Are you connected wirelessly over WiFi?

WiFi is convenient and all, but it is significantly slower than an Ethernet connection.

Whenever you use WiFi, you must be prepared to lose some of your download and upload speeds, especially if multiple devices are connected to your WiFi network.

If you are using a laptop or desktop computer and can use a wired connection via Ethernet, give this a go. You will almost certainly notice a significant improvement.

If you want to keep using WiFi, then try getting a better router!

6. Disable your firewall or antivirus

Antivirus software and firewalls can slow down NordVPN because they can further encrypt and filter the data. Remember, NordVPN also encrypts your data, so your traffic is going through two different places and being slowed down each time before it hits its destination.

Try disabling these tools temporarily and see if you notice an increase in your speeds. This is something to do at your own risk, however, and although NordVPN does include security tools like CyberSec, they are not intended to be a standalone replacement for a good piece of antivirus software or firewall.

No Luck? Try a Different VPN Service

If you’re having no luck with NordVPN then it might be a good idea to try out a different VPN service. Although we always recommend NordVPN, it’s not perfect for everybody.

You can also try contacting NordVPN’s 24/7 customer support team… chances are that they will be able to diagnose your problem and provide guidance on how to fix it.

But if you don’t want to push your luck past the 30-day money-back guarantee period…

Why not give ExpressVPN a whirl?

ExpressVPN is our #2 VPN

Their server speeds are just as fast as those offered by NordVPN and you have more locations to choose from… around 150, to be exact.

They also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee on all their plans just like NordVPN does.

If you purchase ExpressVPN and notice that your speeds are still bad, you can contact their customer support team and ask for a refund to be credited to your original payment method. Having slow speeds with two of the top VPNs is no coincidence. This problem probably is with you and your tech setup.

To learn more about ExpressVPN, read our comprehensive review,or read our NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN comparison to see how the two differs.

Get ExpressVPN

Published by

David Schultz

Internet and Privacy Law | David Schultz is a Cyber Security Attorney based in Europe.

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