YouTube is the third most-visited website on the Internet with more than one billion unique users each month, and just like Los Angeles’ congested traffic, YouTube gets overstuffed with users at all times. You might have noticed that videos stream better during the early hours of the morning than in the evening, when the entire neighborhood comes home from work, starts up their laptops, and begins streaming videos from YouTube. It also doesn’t help that your Internet providers can see your every move online, leading to potential throttling of your streaming as in the case of Netflix vs. Verizon. There are also rumors that some IPs are intentionally throttled by your service providers and blocked by the government, but what can you do against such connection tampering? VPN is a widely used weapon against network congestion and many video streamers consider VPNs to be the best solution.
There are several reasons why your YouTube stream takes forever to load. One such technique service providers and governments use is called traffic shaping. Traffic shaping is a computer network traffic management technique that is a form of rate limiting. It is used to optimize performance, improve latency, and increase bandwidth for some data packets while delaying others. However, the government can tamper with the packets, delaying specific information packets or blocking access to certain information for users, who will ultimately experience a delay in watching their favorite cat videos. VPNs also use this technique, however, it encrypts your data to and from your computer. Meaning, the government and other public entities cannot see what you are searching or watching, which prevents your IP from doing their own traffic shaping and slowing down your access to streaming. This will unblock YouTube videos you wanted to watch because there is no data for them to work with.
VPNs generally make things slower because it has to encrypt the data packets and decrypt on the client side while moving them down a secure tunnel. However, several tests indicate that watching YouTube with VPNs show a better result than without it. The reason for this slow YouTube streaming might be a result of service providers and other malicious agents tampering with your connection. Verizon was recently caught throttling users Internet connection as demonstrated by Colin Nederkoorn, co-founder and CEO of Customer.io. The Netflix video test without VPN hovered around 235 kpbs, even when Nederkoorn’s Verizon FiOS plan was for 75 mbps down and 35 mbps up. However, when connecting the VPN on his computer, he got the maximum bitrate the video could show at a rate of 3000 kbps. So what does this tell us about network providers? They can easily throttle your IPs and alter your connection, even when the connection with VPN should show a slower value.