Does a VPN Stop Buffering? Pro Tips to Stream Pause-Free

Stream smoothly with the right VPN! Learn how to fix buffering and optimize your connection.

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Does a VPN stop buffering or, on the contrary, can it cause it?

I’ll lay it all down below, but in short – it depends. A VPN can help with buffering if your ISP is slowing down your internet speed. At the same time, a VPN might cause buffering due to distance, poor server quality, or encryption overhead.

You need proper configuration and to use a high-quality VPN. Let’s clarify why buffering happens, how VPN can help with it, and the proper configuration for uninterrupted streaming.

What causes buffering?

Buffering usually happens because your internet connection can’t download data fast enough to keep the video playing smoothly.

Other common causes include:

  • Streaming services are overloaded with users
  • Packet loss
  • High ping
  • Signal power if you’re using WiFi
  • The number of devices on the same network
  • Network congestion
  • Peak hours (server-side network congestion)
  • The location and latency of the VPN server you chose
  • ISP bandwidth throttling

Some of these issues can be fixed with the right VPN. I’ll give you more details below.

Will a VPN stop buffering?

A VPN might help stop buffering if the issue is caused by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) slowing down your streaming speed, a practice known as throttling. In certain instances, it can also help other causes such as server congestion, high ping, and packet loss.

Here’s how a VPN, provided you use it correctly can attack buffering by fixing underlying causes:

ISP bandwidth throttling

Some ISPs throttle (artificially slow dow) certain types of internet traffic, such as streaming or torrenting, to manage network congestion or promote premium plans.

By encrypting your internet traffic, VPNs make it difficult for ISPs to identify and throttle specific activities. Essentially, as long as the ISP doesn’t know you’re streaming, it won’t place any slowdowns on your traffic.

Streaming services overloaded with users

A lot of people use VPNs when streaming to bypass geo restrictions on apps like Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, or Hulu. However, not many people know it can also help with slowdowns if you are being smart about it.

Imagine trying to watch your favorite TV show on a streaming service during peak hours.

However, if you connect to a VPN server in a less populated area or a region from a different timezone, you may trick buffering.

Peak hours (server-side network congestion):

Selecting a VPN server with lower usage during peak hours can help alleviate congestion issues, ensuring consistent performance, even during busy times.

Some VPNs show server load in app, but even if yours doesn’t, you can fix the issue with some trial and error.

Packet loss and high ping

By bypassing potential congestion or bottlenecks on the regular internet route, VPNs can provide a smoother and more direct path for your data packets, reducing the chances of them being lost or delayed along the way.

Similarly, when it comes to high ping VPNs employ optimized routing to find the quickest path for data transmission which can reduce latency.

Just make sure to select a VPN server located nearby.

Can a VPN cause buffering?

Yes, a VPN can sometimes cause buffering. This happens if the VPN slows down your internet connection, which might be due to factors like the distance to the VPN server or heavy encryption. However, choosing a fast and reliable VPN service can minimize or prevent buffering issues.

Let’s take a closer look:

  • Server Distance: If the VPN server is far from your location, data takes longer to travel back and forth, which can slow down your connection.
  • Overloaded Servers: If too many people are using the same VPN server, it can get overloaded, leading to slower speeds and more buffering.
  • Encryption Process: VPNs encrypt your data for security, which can take extra processing time, potentially slowing down your connection speed.

If you think your VPN is causing buffering, try the following fixes.

How to fix VPN buffering?

Choose the right VPN

Opt for VPN providers known for their fast server speeds, such as ExpressVPN. This tool truly lives up to its name.

I tested it time and time again and it offers exceptional speeds for any activity – even streaming and gaming. In general, it keeps 90%- 70% of the initial internet connection.

It also has servers ain 100 countries, making it great for streaming and accessing optimal servers of different platforms.


Stop buffering with ExpressVPN! Choose a fast, reliable VPN for smooth streaming every time.
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Optimize your VPN settings

Here’s how to set up your VPN for minimal buffering:

  • Connect to the Nearest Server Location: The physical distance between you and the VPN server can affect your connection speed. Choose a server that is geographically close to you or the content’s origin country to improve speed and reduce latency.
  • Use a Lightweight VPN Protocol: Modern VPN protocols like WireGuard, IKEv2, and OpenVPN (UDP) offer a good balance between security and speed. If your VPN app allows it, switch to one of these protocols to enhance your streaming performance.

Use a Wired connection

A stable and fast internet connection is fundamental. If possible, use a wired connection instead of Wi-Fi to avoid signal interference and increase speed.

Limit bandwidth-heavy applications:

Close unnecessary applications on your device that consume internet bandwidth, such as downloads, online games, or other streaming services.

Lower the streaming quality

If you’re still experiencing buffering, consider reducing the video quality in your streaming app’s settings.

Watching videos in HD or 4K requires more bandwidth than the standard definition, and lowering the resolution can help eliminate buffering.

Head to your streaming app, go to settings, and select a lower video quality.

Additional Tips

  • Clear Your Device’s Cache: Regularly clear your browser or app cache. A cluttered cache can slow down your device and affect streaming quality.
  • Upgrade Your Plan: If your VPN offers tiered plans, upgrading to a premium plan might give you access to faster servers or higher bandwidth limits.
  • Contact Customer Support: If you’ve tried all the above steps and still face issues, reach out to your VPN’s customer support. They can offer specific advice or inform you about server maintenance or outages.

Is my VPN slowing my Internet?

Using a VPN can slow down your Internet. It is however normal for this to happen because of data rerouting and encryption. That said, a good VPN won’t absolutely destroy your speed and keep 90-70% of the stating speed.

Truth be told, if your connection is on the fritz, using a VPN won’t make it downright unusable. But it can make it better.

The same goes for WiFi. A VPN won’t wreak havoc on your WiFi, but we all know that WiFi is a bit slower than its wired counterpart.

So people started to wonder whether using a VPN can affect their streaming capabilities or not.

📶 Does VPN slow down Internet?

The final answer is yes. You can have slow Internet speed because the traffic goes through the VPN server, which leads to slower navigation.

📶 Do VPNs affect streaming?

A VPN connection can improve your streaming quality and speed and actually reduce buffering caused by your ISP.

Why is my Internet faster with a VPN?

There is a brighter side to VPN usage on your device. It can also help you increase your Internet speed and speed up your browsing.

This usually happens if your network connection has low speed due to ISP throttling that reduces your Internet speed.

Different users also asked if the VPN can help to speed up their Internet connection, and it sounds like this:

➡️ Can VPN increase Internet speed?

The answer is certainly, yes. It’s possible to increase the connection speed using a VPN. This can apply to specific cases, but it is worth the try.

➡️ Is streaming faster with a VPN?

Yes, it can improve your streaming quality and make it faster due to different server locations that may have more bandwidth than your network.

Conclusion: Does VPN help with buffering?

In conclusion, if you’re stressed about your VPN causing buffering, put your worries at ease. The buffering probably occurs for another reason.

However, it’s not 100% impossible. If the VPN is in fact causing issues with your streaming, following the guidelines above should fix that for good.

Although VPN can occasionally cause buffering, switching the server you’re connected to should set things straight again.

Make sure you pick a server that’s closer to your real location, has low latency, and has a low occupancy percentage (if visible).

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