Using a VPN in Australia? Here's How to Increase Your Speeds

Posted on Tuesday, Jun 23 2020 @ 09:33 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
A running joke among Internet users is how slow Australian broadband speeds can get. Except it’s not much of a joke: Australia has the fourth slowest Internet in OECD. Add a VPN on top of that, and you might as well go grab a coffee until the next episode of The Office finishes buffering.

Fortunately, there are ways to get better speeds using your existing VPN. If you don’t see much improvement with these tips, try one of the fastest VPNs for Australia from ProPrivacy. Guaranteed improvement when your provider actually has fast servers all around the world.

Anyway, let’s get right to the speed enhancements.

#1 Choose a Server Closer to Your Location
One of the biggest influences on your VPN speed is the distance between you and the VPN server. It’s pretty logical: the further the server, the more ground your data has to cover before reaching its destination.

As you may have guessed, connecting to a country closer to you should help you get better speeds. Of course, it could just be that your current server is overloaded. See if your provider’s server page doesn’t display usage rate as well. You could connect to a server that’s a bit further, but with fewer simultaneous users, and still see improved speeds.

#2 Switch to a Weaker Encryption Protocol
Most top VPN providers nowadays implement the OpenVPN protocol in their clients because it offers an optimal balance between speed and security. However, if your priority is speed over security – and if your VPN client supports it – then you can try lowering the encryption strength.

For example, if your client is set to use OpenVPN with 256-bit encryption, then you might be better off with an OpenVPN 128-bit setup. You’d still maintain a great level of security while lowering the time it takes for your device’s CPU to encrypt your data (and thus increasing speeds).

An arguably faster protocol is IKEv2/IPSec, which still allows for decent security. The PPTP protocol is the fastest one, but if you care at all about your data security, you should stay away from it. Even Microsoft recommends you avoid it, and they were the ones who created it. Most providers that still support PPTP only do it for compatibility purposes.

#3 Use the UDP Protocol Instead of TCP
Just as you can switch encryption protocol for your VPN, you can also choose the data transfer protocol for OpenVPN. IKEv2 uses UDP port 500 by default. Here’s an in-depth look at the differences between TCP and UDP. The gist of it is that UDP provides faster transfer speeds at the cost of connection reliability.

TCP needs to thoroughly check any data transfers for errors, leading to slower speeds. It’s great when you need to make sure some important files get to you without a hitch. However, if you’re streaming or gaming, UDP is the way to go. For streaming, you’ll probably experience a few seconds of video that’s at a lower resolution than normal – which isn’t that big of a deal.

#4 Get a Better CPU
We’ve mentioned that your device’s processing unit (CPU) is the one tasked with encrypting your data. Modern encryption involves complex mathematics to pull off, so the faster your CPU is, the faster your data gets encrypted and sent out.

You might notice a slight increase if you just upgrade your computer’s CPU, or get a newer mobile device with more processing power. If you can’t afford an upgrade at the moment, try optimizing some of your operating system settings:

  • Here is a guide for Windows 10 PCs
  • Here is another one for Macs

    Obviously, there’s only so much power you can get out of an old processor, even with these optimizations in place.

    5 Try Split-tunneling
    Split-tunneling is a feature that lets you choose which applications or services have their traffic encrypted by your VPN. For example, you could encrypt only your torrenting client’s traffic while letting your ISP’s servers deal with the rest. Just keep in mind that your ISP can see what you’re doing online if it’s not encrypted. Luckily, your ISP probably doesn’t care that you’re playing Call of Duty, so you can safely omit it from your VPN client’s split-tunneling rules. Check out your provider’s website if you’re not sure if they support this feature.

    6 If All Else Fails
    You could always try one of the VPNs mentioned in the beginning. ProPrivacy runs daily speed tests from their global servers, three times a day – so you know you’re getting the current fastest VPN for Australia.

    Other than that, you’re stuck with upgrading to a better Internet provider. In the meantime, all we can do is hope that the NBN project will be completed on schedule and it actually brings better broadband speeds to the country.