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Travel tech: Does using a VPN affect your internet speed? Is it worth it?

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starting tunnelbear vpn
TunnelBear on my laptop

Like a number of other bloggers, when I am in a hotel, on Gogo, or at times outside the United States, I use a VPN and my choice currently is TunnelBear <-LINK. Why? I like the security a VPN offers me vs. simply surfing on an unsecured connection. Another reason being able to change what country a computer “thinks” you are in to say watch a TV show that is only available for streaming if you are in that country.

wifi speed crown plaza with no VPN running
No VPN from Crown Plaza hotel

There are other reasons to choose a VPN but for today I thought I would touch on the topic of speed and performance. Last night I stayed at the Crown Plaza Northbrook IL on a 5k Point Break night and stayed in a nice Executive suite (Platinum elite upgrade). The wifi was honestly VERY impressive for hotel wifi. But what if I flip on the VPN? What happens?

with tunnelbear vpn running at crown plaza chi

Interesting result. My download speed actually went up by a tiny amount but notice my upload speed was basically cut in half. But are results like this always the case? No, notice what happened when I turned the VPN off and then back on and connected to another IP address.

slower vpn connection via tunnelbear

Hummm much slower download speed and about the same slower upload speed as in the previous test and connection. Let’s test yet one more.

really slow vpn speed at crown plaze chi wifi

Yikes! Download speed is WAY down and upload speed has approximately stayed the same.

simply turn the VPM switch off and on and find a new faster IP

What to take from this simple test? Connecting to a VPN can have either very little impact on your wifi session or it can have a big impact. But with TunnelBear, if your session seems sluggish, simply stop, flip the on/off switch off and then back on and you will pick up a new connection. As you can see from my quick test, that can move you to a much faster connection.

Is it worth all this effort to use a VPN? I think it is. When you think about the amount of personal information you are many times entering online, that could possibly be snooped on, you can see the need. Never tried VPN software? Give it a try free! – René




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