VPN Service Speed Issues

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This article will walk you through how to work out speed/performance issues with your VPN Service from WiTopia. If you are some distance from one of our VPN gateways, some download performance loss is normal, although if it seems abnormally slow, or quite noticeable while browsing, please read and apply steps below or contact WiTopia Support at support@witopia.net.


Contents

Your Local Internet Connection and the Internet Backbone

Although convenient (and maybe even fun) to blame us for any and all speed issues with your VPN, it is important to realize that the VPN is not just software but a network service that depends on a solid and stable Internet connection, not only locally, but over the entire path between you and our gateway. Even if optimally configured, VPN performance will always be a function of your Internet speed and your ISP's connectivity to other ISPs and the Global Internet Backbone at large.

In other words, since the VPN tunnel may extend thousands of miles, and traverse several ISPs, as it carries your data between you and us, there is a possibility that some congestion or other issues along that path may be the culprit. Luckily, those are usually temporary.

What to do?

1. If using wi-fi, make certain the connection is properly secured and free of additional interference. VPNs can be especially sensitive to this versus a "naked" connection. Perhaps, try plugging in directly via ethernet to see if speed improves.

2. If using a cellular or satellite connection, recognize these can be high latency connections. Follow steps that follow to see if you can improve performance.

3. If you're technical, try performing traceroutes to the website you are trying to reach (with VPN on and off) and that may help determine the location of congestion.

4. Try using our TCP 443 gateways. They use TCP so there is "error correction" built-in and this may help.

If you feel confident you have a solid Internet connection, let's move on to other issues that may cause a slow WiTopia VPN connection.

Using the Latest WiTopia VPN Service Configuration -- SSL (OpenVPN) VPN Service customers ONLY

If you are a newer customer, you can likely disregard this as a cause, but if you have been a customer for a while, and especially if you are in a country that actively tries to block VPNs, then it may be time for an update if you have noticed a substantial drop off in VPN speed. This is an uninstall/reinstall of the VPN service so do not take this step lightly. If you have any concerns whatsoever, PLEASE contact WiTopia Support at support@witopia.net and we can determine if this step is right for you.

Click on this link for Reinstall Instructions: http://wiki.personalvpn.net/wiki/How_to_Download_and_Reinstall_your_SSL_VPN_Service_from_WiTopia

Picking the Best WiTopia VPN Service Gateway

WiTopia operates VPN service gateways all over the world and we will continue to add cities/countries as we grow. For best VPN speed, "the closer the better" is the general rule when choosing a VPN service gateway although it is a good idea to experiment with several gateways to find the best performance for your particular situation or even disconnecting and reconnecting to the same gateway if you notice a slowdown.

To explain, we manage a diverse ever-changing mix of ISPs at these gateways to maximize reliability and performance. The ISPs themselves are also constantly changing their routes and interconnects with other ISPs so there is a lot of "flux" occurring on the Internet with respect to the optimal path between you and the WiTopia VPN service network. If you notice a slowdown, don't be shy about trying other gateways or reconnecting.

Unlike others, we allow customers to switch gateways in real-time and maintain a great deal of extra server and bandwidth capacity at each VPN service gateway. Again, the closest city to you is often the best choice, but we allow and encourage you to try others.

If you wish to try and avoid a reinstall to see them in the pulldown menu, then here is how you can change them manually: http://wiki.personalvpn.net/wiki/Changing_Gateways.

CHINA CUSTOMERS:

If you are blocked in China and the VPN service doesn't appear to be working please try the ALTERNATE VPN gateways, especially those in Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, as they have special configuration tweaks built in that should help with certain China blocking techniques --especially those affecting Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.

If you don't have the ALTERNATE gateways, and have tried the other methods in this article, please contact Support at support@witopia.net and we can see if a reinstall/update is best for you.

DNS (Domain Name Service)

WiTopia provides secure DNSservice for its customers at no extra cost and we strongly recommend you take advantage of it. Most VPN service providers do not offer their own DNS service but we have found that DNS is EXTREMELY important not only for performance, but for overall privacy, and security.

Some ISPs may use DNS as a means to throttle, block, or filter your Internet connection, as well as cache your Internet activity, if you use their DNS servers. This is especially common in countries with censorship and that may be deliberately blocking Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Skype, or other VoIP and Internet services. Even popular services such a openDNS may offer substandard performance or be a vector to compromise your privacy.

Normally, if you have your computer set to automatically detect network settings using DHCP (Windows) or your "Location" is set to "Automatic" in Network Settings (Macintosh), you should use our DNS servers seamlessly and automatically when your VPN is connected. Sometimes though, it is necessary to manually input WiTopia's DNS servers to conquer local blocking techniques.

You will want to setup your computer to use an alternative DNS from your internet providers.
Please CLICK HERE for DNS Options to Input


MTU Settings

We could "nerd out" and discuss the fascinating world of Maximum Transmission Units in-depth, but we'll spare you. All you really need to know is that if you have already tried the previous steps, and the VPN is still abnormally slow, this step can work wonders. Especially if you suspect your ISP or network-owner may have a vested interest in interfering with your encrypted connection or censoring you.

To adjust your MTU Settings: CLICK HERE

Software Conflicts and Hardware Issues

If you have third party anti-virus, anti-spyware, packet analysis, firewall, or other security or network-related software on your computer this may be hindering your VPN's performance. We have some data here, http://wiki.personalvpn.net/wiki/Conflicting_Software, but this is not a comprehensive list as there are far too many to keep track of in all honesty.

If you decide to uninstall any suspect software as a test, be sure to actually UNINSTALL it, and not just disable it as the issue may remain. After uninstall of suspect software, be sure to restart your computer before attempting reconnect. If VPN now connects and performs well, try reinstalling the software as it may now "recognize" the VPN as a "legal" application.

Many consumer-grade routers may do a poor job of handling your VPN connection. You can try plugging your computer directly into the Internet to test as well as making sure any stateful packet inspection and firewalls are adjusted properly or disabled.

Still No Better?

Sorry. We know performance issues can be frustrating! Contact WiTopia Support at support@witopia.net and describe what is happening. Any details on your location, ISP, Computer, OS, as well as your WiTopia ORD# and a connection log will ensure we resolve your issue in the quickest manner possible.

We also have a proxy service that is free to our PRO and SSL Only customers. This is the only service that does not provide an encrypted connection, but is an extremely fast connection and a great alternative if encryption is not a priority. For more information and set up instructions, please click on this link:

http://wiki.personalvpn.net/wiki/Using_Your_WiTopia_Proxy
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